Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Karanka's Ready for Season's First Derby

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Karanka's Ready for Season's First Derby

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHON TAYLOR @@JonathonTaylor1

BORO will be without Marten de Roon for the Wear-Tees derby game at the Stadium of Light on Sunday after Aitor Karanka confirmed the midfielder will be missing for up to a fortnight with injury.

But the head coach said he's aware of the importance of tomorrow's game, despite the fact it's his first North-east derby while in charge of Boro.

Karanka was also asked about injuries, transfers and what he expects of Sunderland in yesterday's pre-match press conference at Rockliffe Park.

Here's a round-up of what was said.

How do you assess the draw with Stoke a week on? "LAST week was a good example as we showed we were ready and we now know every game will be tough. We have to keep working harder every day.

"To play in the Premier League with eight players who had never played in this level against a team who finished ninth last season, a team with a lot of good players, it was difficult.

"There were a few things, but I was pleased as even when we weren't 100% the team was consistent and played with a good attitude.

"We looked good when we played with intensity, it should have been three points but one point was good - and we played well."

How important is experience of new signings? "I KNEW the players we brought here this season, they didn't have the best season last season, but they have experience and are confident.

"Last week was good because some players showed they are better than I thought.

"It was a pleasant surprise as I knew how good they are and were in the past, and working since the beginning of pre-season has been good. We're looking forward to Sunday."

Negredo appears to be settling in well.

"HIS goal against Stoke was important, so was his goal against Alcorcon in his first game.

"He's a top player and the only thing he needed was to recover his confidence.

"Now he's confident, happy on the pitch and good with his teammates." Are you aware of importance of Sunderland derby game? "I CAN'T say a lot of things as it's my first derby, but since I arrived here I've heard how big and important this game is for everyone. …

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