Middlesbrough secured their fourth win in a row yesterday at The Riverside and guaranteed themselves a playoff place but Aitor Karanka has insisted his players need to forget that and concentrate on Tuesday night’s game against Reading.

Speaking to The Northern Echo Middlesbrough manager expressed his delight at holding on for a hard fought 1-0 result against Preston and although not the most fluent of performances Boro hauled themselves over the line to remain only a point behind Burnley and four in front of Brighton with a game in hand on Tuesday which would see them go top of the table.

It was a scrappy encounter at times but Karanka was keen to reiterate his gratitude to the fans as another bumper Riverside crowd played their part. “Now we have to forget the play-offs and promotion and just concentrate on the next game. Every point is gold and the key today was the crowd. “Sometimes when you don’t feel their support you are going down but with them behind us the team is confident. We are more than together and that is the main thing.”

Boro looked relatively comfortable in the first half after going 1-0 up through Albert Adomah but failure to convert further first half chances meant a tense and nervy second half as Preston mounted their assault.

Middlesbrough brought on one of their best performers this season Adam Clayton who was on the bench resting from a dead leg he picked up against Huddersfield so much was the threat in the second half. He took to twitter afterwards to echo his managers feelings and express his own relief at another 3 points for The Teesiders.

Boro now go into Tuesday nights game with Reading knowing that a win will put them top of the table and crank up the pressure on their rivals. Brighton play Nottingham Forest on Monday and will look to close the gap to second placed Middlesbrough to one point.

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