Middlesbrough: Ex-boss Steve McClaren praises Aitor Karanka

Steve McClaren (left) and Aitor Karanka
Karanka led Middlesbrough to victory over McClaren's Derby County in their last meeting in April

Middlesbrough have been reinvented by boss Aitor Karanka, according to the club's former manager Steve McClaren.

Now in charge of Boro's Championship rivals Derby County, ex-England boss McLaren ranks the Teessiders as promotion hopefuls under the Spaniard.

"He is certainly changing the face of Middlesbrough," McClaren told BBC Tees.

"He brought stability, a new way of working, a new way of thinking and I feel everybody has brought into that, which is the most important thing."

Middlesbrough moved into the third round of the League Cup with a 3-1 win over Preston North End on Tuesday and and are just one point adrift of McClaren's highly rated Rams in seventh spot in the Championship table.

Middlesbrough's start to the 2014-15 season
9 Aug: Win 2-0 v Birmingham City (H) Championship
12 Aug: Win 3-0 v Oldham Athletic (A) League Cup
16 Aug: Loss 1-0 v Leeds United (A) Championship
19 Aug: Win 2-1 v Bolton (A) Championship
23 Aug: Loss 3-2 v Sheffield Wednesday (H) Championship
26 Aug: Win 3-1 v Preston (H) League Cup

Karanka succeeded Tony Mowbray at Boro with the side 16th in the Championship table in November and guided them to a 12th-place finish by claiming 24 points from a possible 33 to end the season.

The 40-year-old former Real Madrid assistant boss is in his first managerial role, an echo of McClaren's status when he moved to the Riverside after leaving his role as Sir Alex Ferguson's number two at Manchester United.

The Yorkshireman went on to take Boro to a first ever European final just two years after winning the League Cup, a trophy which remains the club's only major honour.

Middlesbrough's summer transfer activity has seen Karanka's compatriots Tomas Meijas, Kike and Emilio Nsue move to the Riverside among a host of new arrivals.

"They are developing and making some very good signings," said McClaren, who opened a new clubhouse for Cleveland Juniors on Wednesday.

"They will be pushing definitely for a top-six place this season."