Can Boro Stop Leeds?
By Robert Nichols
Friday 29 Nov 2019 19:35:00
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Boro travel to the home of Leeds United hoping to stop the second place club in their tracks. It will be a hard ask for a much depleted Boro side against the team building a real head of steam in an automatic promotion place. Kick off is Saturday 3pm for a (welcome) change.

For many years this was THE derby, certainly for all born south of the Tees and with memories long enough to recall Don Revie's side and the admiral bags and sock tags that often featured on the dark side of Teesside playgrounds. If you look at the incredible list of red cards from this fixture you will soon realise that there is far more at stake and edge than “just another game.” When we are not sharing a division with Sunderland or Newcastle this is THE game that most fans want to win or need to not lose.

For Jonathan Woodgate it will be a return to the club where he made his name. Performances at Elland Road were so good as to push him into the England spotlight while still a teenager.

Tomorrow will be even more difficult because of our extensive injury and suspension list. It doesn't look as if any that were missing injured on Wednesday will make the short trip across Yorkshire but thankfully George Saville will be available again after suspension.

Which is just as well with Paddy McNair a doubt and Dijksteel definitely out. It is a real blow for the signing from Charlton just starting to find a role in the first team. You would have to think that Saville would come in if needed for McNair and Bola asked to deputise again for Dijksteel with Howson again playing further back where he has looked cool and composed.

Britt is also reported at 50/50 which would again pose Jonathan Woodgate a real headache as the number 9 has been pivotal as our attacking spearhead all season and is really looking the part of late and taking and making goals. Would we go with just one forward or risk a rookie in starting Tyrone O'Neil or Stephen Walker?

As for Leeds they could have Helder Costa back in the starting eleven after he replaced the injured Tyler Roberts on Tuesday. That win on Tuesday was one of many games that Leeds have clinched with late goals. It cannot be all down to luck or coincidence, Leeds seem to eventually find a way and perhaps once again have that physical and mental fitness and endurance that others are lacking. Boro will have to stay switched on beyond the 90 minutes, that is for sure.

There will be a big travelling Boro army to Elland Road. The support will firstly be hoping that just as at QPR some of the injury list suddenly clears up before the game. But in truth there is not likely to be any George Friend type rising up from the treatment table this time out.

So, we will have to go with whatever we have at our disposal and that will mean buckling down, putting in a real shift and really focussing throughout. Elland Road will be intimidating, it will be hostile and the team we face are physically strong and extremely confident just now. It is going to be a hard one for our youngsters. But we will be there being very vocal in the stand and backing our eleven throughout as we try to put a spoke in Leeds promotion wheel.

A repeat of last season's goalless draw would be very welcome, although am not sure my nerves or fingernails would be able to take the tension towards the end of the game. Yet this fixture all too often ends with the teams sharing the points. That would be feel like a victory of sorts for a Boro side yet to win away this term. It would also represent a really good return from the last week. Yes, we should have had 3 points against Hull but to get a drawing at Leeds would be such a boost. We would then know that, when the chips are down, Jonathan Woodgate's team has the attitude and aptitude to pull away from the bottom of the table.

Come On Boro

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