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Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick will not be losing any sleep as he tries to guide his club past Coventry into the Sky Bet Championship play-off final.
Carrick and his players were woken in the early hours on Sunday morning after fireworks were set off outside the Forest of Arden hotel at which they were staying ahead of their first-leg clash with the Sky Blues at the CBS Arena.
Whether the ploy, which has been attributed to mischievous City fans, worked or not is moot after the teams fought out a 0-0 draw, and everything is still to play for in the return at the Riverside Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Asked if he was the sort of person who ever lost sleep over football matches, a relaxed Carrick said: “I’m generally a good sleeper fortunately.
“Sometimes after games…before games I sleep well – most of the time before games, I sleep well. Sometimes after games, if it’s a night game especially…
“It was a little bit worse when I was a player because there’s that little bit more adrenaline going through your system, but most of the time I sleep pretty well.”
Mark Robins and his players can expect a hostile welcome and a packed Riverside as Boro attempt to book a trip to Wembley and a showdown with either derby rivals Sunderland or Luton, with the Hatters facing a 2-1 deficit as they welcome the Black Cats to Kenilworth Road on Tuesday evening.
Asked if that reception might extend to a tit-for-tat last-night display of pyrotechnics, Carrick said: “Fireworks? I don’t know.
“As I said after the game, I had a little chuckle and went back to sleep. Fans are fans, they want to create the atmosphere.
“For me, it’s about in the stadium, the atmosphere and how the boys can feed off it. We’ll prepare and we’ll plan and we’ll go into the game exactly as we would for any other game.
“But there’s no hiding that extra adrenaline. That extra spark that the supporters inside the stadium can create for us is vital to give us that boost, and I’m sure the boys will feel it and feed off it and hopefully respond to it very well.
“But it won’t affect how we prepare for the game. That will be a natural kind of feeling that we benefit from.”
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