Middlesbrough boss expecting to challenge Burnley for promotion to the Premier League

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka expects Tuesday night's opponents Burnley to remain one of the main Sky Bet Championship promotion contenders until the end of the season.

Fifth-placed Burnley can move to within two points of second-placed Middlesbrough with victory at the Riverside and Karanka, who will be without suspended striker David Nugent, has warned it will be another tough challenge.

"It's a big game again," Karanka told the club's official website.

"Against a team which was in the Premier League last season.

"We played them in my first season here. They are a really good team. They have a good, experienced manager who got promoted two seasons ago with this team.

"They will be fighting until the end to get promotion again. They are strong, experienced and have character."

Boro were held to a goalless home draw against Birmingham on Saturday and missed the chance to go top after Brighton drew 2-2 at Derby.

Brighton, who maintained their two-point advantage, hit the road for the second time in four days with a trip to QPR, for whom Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink will take charge of his second game.