Doncaster Rovers: Rival boss Karanka out to get Middlesbrough firing

Boro boss Aitor Karanka
Boro boss Aitor Karanka

He has got the defensive side of things sorted out but Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka is hoping to add a little threat to his side before the window slams shut tonight.

The Spanish boss’ two and a half month stint in charge of Boro has been characterised by defensive solidity.

Boro have conceded fewer than a single goal per game, lost just once in their last eight league matches and produced seven clean sheets in Karanka’s 14 games in charge.

Such solidity has helped Boro rise from 19th to their current position of tenth in the Championship.

And Karanka is now targeting a play-off place and sees the signing of a striker and playmaker this month as key to achieving his goal.

Jelle Vossen, Danny Graham, Kevin Doyle and Luciano Becchio have all been linked to Teesside.

Boro have left behind the aesthetically-pleasing football of the Tony Mowbray era in the hunt for more consistent results.

And they have had to rely on moments of individual quality for goals.

Midfielder Grant Leadbitter emphasised the need for goals after the goalless draw with Wigan on Tuesday night.

He said: “That’s one defeat in eight and that’s not a bad run - but we have to get wins and that means scoring more.

“Even though we are fourth top scorers we need more to kill off games.

“It’s hard to take points in every game in this league because games come thick and fast and every single one is difficult and so yes, clean sheets are a good habit to get into.”

Karanka’s defensive ranks suffered a blow when Australia centre half Rhys Williams suffered a suspected ruptured achilles tendon against Wigan.