Beat Leeds and Leeds
By Rob Nichols
Wednesday 26 Feb 2020 11:20:00
Browse all Match Previews articles


Under pressure Boro go head to head with promotion chasing Leeds United tonight at the Riverside. After an alarming run of form Boro desperately need a performance and points. Three games against relegation zone clubs have amassed just one point. Defeats to bottom clubs Luton and then on the road at Barnsley saw Boro hardly raise a shot in anger. We need a big reaction tonight – kick off 7.45pm.

Boro have now crashed to just 21st place in the division just one place and 3 points off the bottom three. A perilous position for a team still missing first choice centre backs Daniel Ayala and Dael Fry as well as instant hit loan star Patrick Roberts. Tonight we must try and dig deep to revive our festive period form against a Leeds club that has seemingly recovered from its promotion blip and has started to amass points once again.

The crushing 4-0 defeat Bielsa's Leeds inflicted us on at Elland Road is still fresh in the memory but the way we reacted in December and early January was a purple patch for Woodgate's Boro. Hayden Coulson and Djed Spence played a major part as we pressed teams into submission. Will Woodgate return to the youngsters tonight to give us back the bite?

It has been such a sorry tale for Boro ever since the 3rd Round FA Cup games with Spurs. We looked tired at Fulham and the loss of Ayala started to really take its toll. Britt has returned from injury but has still not found his A game. Wing has been in and out, shooting for fun some games but others blocked from even getting a shot on target.

Confidence is low right around the side and we desperately need the kind of lift only a big performance against White Rose rivals Leeds can give. Whatever people say about Boro v Leeds not being a derby match, the size of the home and away crowd and the red card stats tell a different story. For many of my generation Leeds were the grit and glamour club of the generation. True grit and graft coached in to them from Middlesbrough born Don Revie and glamour of the Admiral bags , a feature of many a school playground in Teesside. A generation on and there are still many Leeds fans from these parts as well as North Yorkshire. Fans that have been twitching nervously as Bielsa's troops struggle to close out games and fall to sucker punches, But are they riding out the storm and is Patrick Bamford and co looking like closing this promotion out at last? Boro need to rise up once again, put a spoke in the Leeds wheel but most of all we need to do it for ourselves. We just have to stop the rot.

Momentum is everything in this league. You look around and teams surge up and then crash down almost as fast. We need to rediscover belief and refind the form that halted League leaders West Brom in their tracks and then blasted Preston's Championship best home record apart.

It seems like a lifetime ago but it is less than two months since we were terrorising top teams and taking them apart. A win tonight and it doesn't matter how we arrive at it would give us back a surge of electricity again. It is an absolute must now. Three points from the bottom three, we have to get out of there.

Come On Boro – we need shots, we need heart, we need courage and we need football intelligence. We need to be a team that pulls together and inflicts damage on our opposition. We need to beat Leeds and Leeds and Leeds.

Up The Boro

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