Monday night football comes from Elland Road as Leeds Utd take on high flying Middlesbrough from the Championship (KO 19:45).
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Middlesbrough can go back to the top of the Championship tonight as they make the trip to Elland Road to take on Leeds United (KO 19:45).
The Boro are ideally placed in England’s second tier and a return to the Premier League looks a distinct possiblility with the side holding one of the automatic promotion places in the Championship.
Aitor Karanka’s side will be hopeful of putting more misery onto a Leeds Utd side which has suffered a remarkable dip in form, and the Lilywhites now find themselves in 16th place, having a t one point looking capable of reaching the playoffs.
The honeymoon period is well and truly over for Leeds boss Steve Evans, as mid table obscurity beckons for all those at Elland Road after only one victory in seven games dampened optimism that the side could indeed pinch one of the playoff places. A victory against high flyers Middlesbrough tonight would certainly get things back on track for the Yorkshire side and renew confidence, which has been slowly draining from the side over recent weeks.
Leeds manager Evans was hopeful that his players will be up for the game, telling the Official Leeds website LeedsUnited.com:
I hope for a reaction from the team and that’s what I expect,There won’t be many neutrals watching the game on Monday night that are expecting Leeds United to win. Middlesbrough have some outstanding footballers, but so do we. We need the passion and the performance and we need to grind teams down, not giving them a minute. That’s got to be the plan.”
One of the main reasons behind Leeds’ slip is their lack of home form, where the side has been unable to pick up maximum points, and a defeat by Nottingham Forest last time out added to their derisory record of only taken 17pts taken from their 15 games played at home. In fact, Leeds have only won eight games all season.
Things may not get any better as Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough visit and the Boro will be hopeful of taking maximum points back to the Riverside. New signing Jordan Rhodes, who finally arrived during the January transfer window has started to settle, with the ex Blackburn man firing in a injury time equalizer in their game at MK Dons last week, improving his record to 12 goals in 28 games.
His arrival may just be what may be required as Boro look to remain consistant at the top of the table and he could be handed his first start of the season, alongside Christhian Stuani.
Manager Karanka told the Official Middlesbrough website, mfc.co.uk:
“Ben Gibson was partnered by Tomas Kalas at MK on Tuesday with returning defender Alex Baptiste still short of match fitness after being sidelined since July with a double fracture of the leg. Alex is training with the team and is showing that he is ready but still has to play in the Under-21s to get some games in It would be difficult for him to come straight back into the Championship.”
For Leeds, Chris Wood is a major doubt with a recurrent hamstring problem, while Luke Murphy and defender Sol Bamba could return to the side.
It should be a fiesty affair with Leeds desperate to improve on their current form, although plenty wil be eying the Middlesbrough away win at 11/10.
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