Sheffield Wednesday: High-flying Boro target more goals

Middlesbrough skipper Grant Leadbitter.

Middlesbrough skipper Grant Leadbitter.

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It will be a battle of the two best defences in the Championship at Hillsborough tomorrow.

Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough have, between them, recorded 29 clean sheets in the Championship this season.

Second-placed Boro have conceded just a measly 22 goals in 33 league fixtures.

Despite their lofty Championship position, Boro head coach Aitor Karanka labelled their 1-0 midweek win over Bolton Wanderers as “one of the worst” performances of the season.

“We have played one of the worst games since I came here, and we have won,” said Karanka, who made nearly 100 appearances for Real Madrid and was also capped for Spain. “The important thing is we got the three points, and we have to analyse the game.

“I didn’t recognise some players and it is difficult for me to understand what went on.”

Karanka is contemplating freshening up his starting line-up after a busy schedule. Adam Forshaw and Kike are pushing for first-team recalls. Although they have a healthy goal difference of plus 28, Boro’s tally of 50 goals is the lowest of all the clubs in the top six.

When asked if he is worried by Middlesbrough’s lack of goals, Karanka said: “I’m not concerned. I’ve said I’m confident in my players.

“We are missing a lot of chances, and in the same way I said individual mistakes is about concentration, the same applies for scoring goals.

On facing Owls, he said: “It will be very difficult because they don’t concede a lot of goals. They don’t score many either, but they are an organised team with a good manager.”

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