Leeds United make the journey to the Riverside on the back of a valuable win against MK Dons, a much needed confidence boost after 1 win and 1 loss sandwiched 5 draws in between. Middlesbrough are the favourites for the Championship title after their Play off final defeat last season and the significant investment in the summer, and currently lie in 2nd place.

Leeds have an extraordinarily good record at the Riverside, having only lost once, while Leeds have won 5 of the last 7 meetings between the two sides. Leeds won both fixtures 1-0 last season, with Alex Mowatt scoring the winner in a backs to the wall performance at Middlesbrough last time.

Boro come in good form, with a 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest last weekend and a 3-0 win in the Capital One Cup over Wolves. They have suffered defeat just once this season, a 1-0 defeat to Bristol City back in August, while Kike and Christian Stuani are tied for top goalscorer with 3 goals so far. Leeds have also suffered defeat just once this season, but a league high 5 draws has taken the gloss off the start, and it has been a mixed start for a side learning to play a different style of football.

Chris Wood has scored 3 of his 4 goals this season away from home, and will be looking to continue his fine goalscoring form as United play in front of the Sky Sports cameras once again. Charlie Taylor’s impressive form make him the Whites man to watch, capping his 22nd birthday last week with what turned out to be the winning goal against MK Dons. Taylor’s form since breaking into the first team in January has earned plaudits from many, coming to prominence at a time when Stephen Warnock was leaving and left a large hole in the squad.

Boro’s danger man is former Liverpool and England winger Stewart Downing, who made the move back to the Riverside after several years at Aston Villa, Liverpool and West Ham. He is a tricky player who has superb crossing ability and can play anywhere across the attacking midfield positions, but is likely to play on his favoured left side. This means the right back, Berardi, Byram or Wooton, will need to be lively and focussed to deter his creative influence.

Much has been made of Sam Byram’s future this week, with owner Massimo Cellino commenting publicly on his character and future at the club, with his contract expiring at the end of the season and him looking unlikely to sign a new one, he could move in January. This leaves Uwe Rosler with a selection quandary, with Byram’s mixed form and future, he could hand a start to Jordan Botaka, and with Will Buckley to come into the squad next week, he is left with a tough decision to make.

Aitor Karanka faces a selection headache after a rotated squad impressed in the Cup midweek, with Kike, Adam Forshaw and Carlos de Pena impressing and pushing for starts. Boro have lost just 2 of their last 17 home games, one being against Leeds, winning 14 in the process, while both United’s victories this season have come on the road in 2-1 scorelines.

A special mention goes to Luciano Becchio’s stunning volley at the Riverside in 2010, sealing a 2-1 win after Davide Somma’s opener. That victory sealed the end of current Scotland boss Gordan Strachan’s time at Boro, while Simon Grayson’s men would go on to finish 7th that season.

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  • Matthew

    The only thing that should matter to the squad is simply this. Win and go 9th, 1 point from the playoffs. Win against beatable team like Birmingham, and it’s very likely the team will be sat in the playoffs going into the international break.

  • Scally Lad

    Once more, a lame show of offence and clumsy defending at a ground where we are used to dominating, but we’re still mid-table and only four points shy of the top six. Much to be optimistic about!