Aitor Karanka says Boro won’t be taking FA Cup opponents Oxford United lightly this Saturday.
The League One outfit sprung a surprise against Boro’s North East neighbours Newcastle in the last round of the competition.
But the Head Coach admits Boro have a great opportunity to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2009.
“We’ve been lucky with the draw because we’ve played all our games at home,” Karanka said.
“With the amount of games we have, to play in front of our crowd is always important.
“In my second season here we were at Manchester City and Arsenal, whereas this season we’ve had Sheffield Wednesday and Accrington, and now Oxford.
“But we have to be careful because if we think we’re in the next round before playing we’re making a big mistake.
“If you think it’s going to be an easy game, ask Newcastle.”
Karanka says Boro must be quick out of the blocks to avoid the Magpies’ fate this weekend.
“We have experience in the last round when we went to the pitch thinking it was going to be easy against Accrington, and we had problems,” he said.
“Oxford are dangerous, when you analayse the game against Newcastle you see it was not a coincidence. They play well on the counter-attack and scored some good goals.
“It will be tough, especially if we don’t approach it with the right attitude.
“Our players are intelligent and know this is a good opportunity to go through. But to reach the next round we have to be at our best."
With important Premier League games on the horizon, the Head Coach is remaining tight-lipped on his selection plans.
He said: “This season it has been difficult to win, so games like this can be important for the crowd, the players and everyone.
“The FA Cup is an amazing competition and we are in a good position to keep going.
“Our main priority is to stay in the Premier League, but we have to also say ‘why not?’
“I will choose what I think is the best team to win the game, but have 25 players and another three months in front of us – all of them are going to be important and I trust every single one of them.”
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MATCH PACK: Oxford United