Big match in focus: Boro v PNE

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka

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MEET THE BOSS:

Aitor Karanka is manager of Middlesbrough but there was much speculation about his position last month following a training ground row.

That saw his assistant Steve Agnew take charge of Boro’s 2-0 defeat at Charlton. Karanka has since resolved his differences and is focused on the task of trying to lead the Teesside club to the Premier League after last season’s narrow miss in the play-off final. The Spaniard, who played for Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, has been in charge at Boro for two-and-a-half years.

MEET THE REF:

West Midlands ref Oliver Langford is in charge of PNE’s visit to Middlesbrough.

It is only two months since he last refereed a Preston game, he was in the middle for February’s goalless draw at Derby. This is Mr Langford’s eighth season on the Football League list.

THIS WEEK...

31 YEARS AGO:

On April 8, 1985, Preston drew 3-3 away to Newport County. On target for North End that day in South Wales were Andy McAteer, Peter Houghton and Geoff Twentyman. Sadly, PNE were relegated at the end 
of the season, falling 
into the bottom tier for 
the first time.

29 YEARS AGO:

North End took a step closer to promotion with a 2-0 win over Rochdale at Spotland on April 7, 1987.

Peter Zelem and Gary Brazil netted for John McGrath’s men.

16 YEARS AGO:

This week in April 2000, the Lilywhites won 1-0 against promotion rivals Wigan Athletic at the 
JJB Stadium. Almost 7,000 PNE fans made the trip for the Tuesday night clash and saw an early 
goal from centre-half Michael Jackson give 
North End victory.