Aitor Karanka believes everyone at Boro is now ready for the club's Premier League return after what's been a tough and gruelling battle to reach promotion to the top flight.

The Head Coach took over at a time when Boro were flirting with relegation from the Championship but two-and-a-half years on, Karanka is preparing for Teesside's first Premier League fixture in seven years. 

"I think this is the point that everyone wanted to be at, for me over the last two-and-a-half years and for our crowd the last seven," he said.

"For that reason I'm really pleased and everyone knows that tough it's been to get to this point. 

"We have to work harder because the Premier League is not the Championship but I'm really pleased, especially to play the first game at home.

"I think we are ready. All of us are ready, all of us are looking forward to playing on Saturday and we've been working really hard for the last two-and-a-half years to be in this position."

With eight senior signings arriving at Boro over the summer, Karanka is delighted with how his squad has grown in strength in readiness for the challenge ahead. 

"I'm really pleased because this club has been working really well since the end of last season," he said. 

"We have a really good squad but we can't make the mistake of thinking that we're going to have an amazing season.

"My amazing season would be to stay in the Premier League because we have to build the foundations to stay here for a long time because it's a tough, tough league so we have to keep calm."