Karanka trusts in backing of Middlesbrough home crowd

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka is confident his side can count on the support of their home fans ahead of their crucial Monday night kick-off with Hull City.

Just one point and three places separate the two sides, who both currently reside in the bottom five of the Premier League table.

However, after coming through a daunting run of fixtures including games with Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Leicester City with a respectable return of points, Boro fans will be hopeful of a positive performance and result against their fellow recently promoted side.

Fans' support has remained constant

Speaking with the club's official website, Karanka admitted that "it's an important game" but made sure to stress that "it's just three points".

He called on his side to "take advantage" of the home crowd's support, which the Spaniard said they have been able to call on "all season, last season and the season before".

Middlesbrough have not lost a home league game at night since Karanka took the reigns at the club in 2013, with 19 wins and three draws.

Meanwhile, the Tigers have failed to win any of their seven Premier League games played on Mondays, while they haven't registered a league win on Teesside since 1986.

Different task awaits Karanka's squad

While all this suggests confidence for the home side, Karanka was keen to stress that this game will simply be a different type of challenge to their recent clashes with the country's European heavyweights.

"There are going to be moments where we dominate the game," he admitted.

“We have the players to do that so it’s not the same to prepare for a game where you’re going to defend and play on the counter attack compared to a game that you will dominate.”

A win for Middlesbrough would see them overtake three teams and move up to 13th in the table, while a single point would be enough to overtake the champions Leicester, with whom they drew last weekend.

Three points for Hull would see them leapfrog Boro into 14th, but they only need a point to escape the relegation zone ahead of the festive period.