Middlesbrough boss expects good reaction at Burton

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in his Boro days
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in his Boro days

Aitor Karanka is expecting a “good reaction” and a “good game” when he takes Middlesbrough to Burton Albion in the Capital One Cup tonight.

Boro were left licking their wounds on Saturday when they suffered their first defeat of the season - a surprise 1-0 loss at home to Bristol City.

This is an important competition for us and everyone involved with the club.

And Karanka is aware they face a difficult assignment this evening at in-form Burton.

The Brewers, managed by popular former Boro striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, have carried on this season as they ended the last.

Promoted to League One, Albion have won three out of four to be fifth in the division and only one point off top spot.

The Dutchman has already taken a Championship scalp in the Capital One Cup after winning 1-0 at Bolton in the first round.

Tonight’s tie is one of the pick of the round and Karanka wants to see his team bounce back from their Riverside set-back and continue their cup run.

“I am expecting a very good reaction,” said the head coach who was mystified by his side’s display against City.

“This is an important competition for us and everyone involved with the club.

“We will be putting our best XI on the pitch to try to win the game.

“We have things to learn from Saturday.

“It was difficult for me to understand how we played really well the previous Saturday and we could not play that well seven days later.

“We have to forget Saturday’s game because we have an important match at Burton.”

Boro have already negotiated their way through an away test at League One opposition after winning 3-1 at OLdham Athletic in the first round.

Karanka said the club got a buzz out of this competition, going out at Liverpool in a marathon penalty shoot-out.

“The league is a marathon, 46 games,” said the Spaniard.

“But in the cup, if you are lucky and have some good draws, you could get to the semis or even the final and I want us to win every game.

“Last year was amazing that game at Liverpool.”

Karanka has crossed swords as a player, in a Real v Atletico derby in Madrid, though he says he can’t remember the score!

The Boro boss has a high regard for the Netherlands striker, so much so he sent one of Boro’s brightest prospects, Hartlepool-born midfielder, Bryn Morris, on loan to Burton last season.

“They have good players and a good manager and one who knows us well,” said Karanka.

“I know Jimmy, I played against him in Spain when he played for Atletico Madrid, he was an amazing player, a strong forward who was difficult to mark.

“As a manger, he is doing really well.

“I dealt with him last year because he took Bryn Morris on loan. He is a manager who wants to play good football.

“It is going to be difficult but a good game for us.”

It will be interesting to see what side Karanka fields at the Pirelli Stadium.

He defended his team selection against the Robins, insisting he picked what he thought was the “best team” for that game.

He rested Kike and Albert Adomah while he said defender Ben Gibson had a knock.

All three are likely to start this evening though he could opt to play David Nugent, who joined Boro from Leicester on a three-year contract.

Nugent is still finding his feet at Boro and his coach may feel he will benefit from another start.