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Aitor Karanka reflects on the day he came up against Leeds United's Alan Smith

The Middlesbrough boss has interesting memories of facing Leeds United as a player.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has been speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post about the time he came up against former Leeds United fan favourite Alan Smith.

Karanka is currently preparing for his side’s Championship clash against Leeds at Elland Road but he took the time to reflect on when he faced the Yorkshire club while playing for Real Madrid.

Back then Leeds were a Champions League club, with the likes of Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell in their side, but it was Smith that left a lasting impressing on the Middlesbrough manager.

“Everyone knew Viduka but it (Smith’s performance at the Bernabeu) was a very good surprise,” Karanka told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“The game was a nightmare. Smith was a kid but he was aggressive and a good player.”

The Boro boss went on to explain that given his previous experience of Leeds it came as a surprise when he first realised they had slipped into the second tier.

Now he will be hoping to get one over Steve Evans’ side for the second time this season. However Leeds have the players to cause the Championship’s second-placed side plenty of problems and this one really could go either way.

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