Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka loves night football ahead of Sky Sports matches

Boro boss Aitor Karanka. Picture by JOE SPENCE
Boro boss Aitor Karanka. Picture by JOE SPENCE

Middlesbrough’s Sky Bet Championship promotion campaign has undergone a number of changes – but there have been no complaints from Aitor Karanka.

Boro’s trip to Fulham today will be a rare 3pm Saturday kick-off for Karanka’s title chasers.

I like to play on the nights. In Spain we used to play on the nights


The visit to Charlton, scheduled for Saturday, March 12, was the first to move, to the following day, with a 3.30pm kick-off for Sky Sports coverage.

Since then, two more Championship games have been selected for live broadcast – the matches at QPR and Bolton

Karanka said he had sympathy for Boro fans, who have turned out in their thousands this season on away jaunts, but says it will not cause him or the squad any hassles.

“I think for the team and the club it is good [the Charlton game is delayed] because it’s good for us to have one more day to recover and to prepare,” said the head coach.

“I think the game is 3.30pm, it’s only 30 minutes later [than the traditional kick off] so it’s not a problem.

“Most of the players are from here [England] so they are used to these times.

“I can understand the supporters’ views.

“I know they are going to be there supporting us like they are always supporting us and I think that is a good thing for everybody.”

More than half of Boro’s remaining games will now be Tuesday or Friday evening matches.

And Karanka is not against that.

“I like to play on the nights,” he said. “In Spain we used to play on the nights, though it’s different there now.

“I like to play on Tuesday nights, Friday nights because I think the atmosphere in the stadium is better.

“The people are more supportive, when we played on nights last season we won most of the games I think.”

Boro TV games for March/ April: Frday, March 4: Wolves (H, 7.45pm); Sunday, March 13: Charlton (A, 3.30pm); Friday, March 18: Hull City (H 7.45pm); Friday, April 1: QPR (A, 7.45pm); Saturday, April 16: Bolton (A, 12.30pm)