MIDDLESBROUGH’S players have had an uninterrupted week to impress boss Aitor Karanka – but they have no idea if they WIll play against Rotherham.
Boro travel to South Yorkshire to play The Millers tomorrow (kick off 3pm) and, as usual, Karanka is reluctant to identify which players he will select.
It is an approach which to date is reaping results with Boro just a win and other results going in their favour away from topping the Championship table.
“I was a player and I didn’t like to arrive on Monday to know that I wasn’t going to play the following Saturday,” explained the Spaniard.
“I prefer to keep everyone involved with the team and to have everyone ready to play.
“Imagine the players who aren’t going to play (if he said which players would play).
“If they prefer to know then they have to be ready. If they play then they are ready.”
No midweek game has been a refreshing change as Boro have been able to work on methods and tactics on the Rockliffe Park training pitches.
“We’ve had a lot of benefit because we can train on the pitch every day here,” he said.
“The players understand that not all of them can play so we have to have time like this week or the time we have in two weeks when it’s another international break to do things on the pitch because you can explain tactics on the screen but you have to work on the pitch.”
Steve Evans’ Rotherham have made a comfortable start to life in the second-tier and will pose a challenging threat to the Teessiders, Karanka says.
“Rotherham are a typical Championship team.
“They gained promotion like Wolves and we have to learn and to take things about the Wolves game because it’s going to be a similar game.”
The significance of gaining a first win in three after defeat to Wolves and a draw with Watford is not lost on Karanka who added: “The most important thing is to think about ourselves and to win our game.
“It’s going to be very tight until the end of the season so we will have to keep working and going in the same way.”
Grant Leadbitter returns from suspension while there are no other fresh injury concerns.