Middlesbrough vs Leeds Championship preview 

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 5:45pm

By Ali McDowall

Leeds look to gain ground on West Brom in their pursuit of automatic promotion when they travel to the Riverside Stadium to face relegation threatened Middlesbrough. 

Marco Bielsa came under pressure following a run of five defeats from six outings in all competitions not too long ago but has seemingly got things back on track.

The Argentinian has overseen a return of seven points from the last three matches which has reinvigorated their charge to the Premier League. 

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Although the Whites are winless on their last four trips on the road, they have lost only twice in 11 meetings with the Teeside club. 

Despite recent form, it will be by no means an easy task as the Yorkshire club have only managed to claim a league double over Middlesbrough once in the previous 17 seasons when the sides have faced off. 

Bielsa will hope to put an end to any suggestion of erratic form by sealing a third win in a row to put some more space between them and the chasing pack. 

The 16-year wait for a return to the topflight may not be too far away if they manage to keep this form going.

On the other hand, Jonathan Woodgate’s Boro are going the other way, winning only one out of their last 11 matches. 

The poor run has left them just three points above the drop zone and desperately in need of a win to keep Wigan, Luton, and Barnsley at bay. 

Thankfully for the ex-Boro defender, recent history against Leeds at home will be a sight for sore eyes as they have been unbeaten in their last three at home against the Whites. 

Any positive result will be welcome for his side especially with upcoming fixtures against fellow relegation contenders on the way. 

If they come away with nothing then they seem destined to remain entwined in a relegation battle.

Team news

Middlesbrough

Boro boss Woodgate is likely to make a number of changes, which should include starts for Paddy McNair and Lukas Nmecha.

Britt Assombalonga is expected to keep his place in the team ahead of Rudy Gestede.

They remain without Patrick Roberts and Daniel Ayala; Roberts is sidelined by a hamstring injury and Ayala is out with an ankle problem.

 

Leeds

Bielsa will be forced into a reshuffle with Kalvin Phillips ruled out with the injury that he sustained against Reading on Saturday afternoon.

Stuart Dallas is in line to return to the centre of midfield, resulting in Ezgjan Alioski coming back into the team at left-back.

The remainder of the starting lineup should stay the same, despite Patrick Bamford extending his goalless run to five matches.

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