Aitor Karanka: Middlesbrough promotion would be 'money can't buy' experience

Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium
Middlesbrough have sold out the Riverside Stadium for their promotion decider with Brighton

Promotion to the Premier League on Saturday would be a "money can't buy" experience for Middlesbrough's fans, says head coach Aitor Karanka.

Boro will return to the top flight by avoiding defeat by Brighton in the final game of the season, triggering an income windfall in the region of £100m.

Victory for the Seagulls would condemn Boro to another play-off campaign.

"The thing that money can't buy is the emotion and happiness for our crowd," Karanka told BBC Tees.

"It's worth more than £100m, they spend money supporting us and are supporting and encouraging us every game."

The final-day decider was set up when the Teessiders were held by Birmingham City on Friday, while Brighton were also held by Derby three days later.

Statistically, Boro have the best home record in the division with 16 wins and two defeats in their 22 games at the Riverside and just seven goals conceded.

Karanka puts part of that success down to the input of the support, which is the third highest on average in the second tier.

"The crowd can make the difference," Karanka said. "They're our 12th player and to play at home in the battle for promotion with that is an advantage."

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