Middlesbrough vs Leeds preview
Last Updated: 08/02/19 6:16pm
Middlesbrough strikers Jordan Hugill and Britt Assombalonga face late fitness tests before the home Sky Bet Championship game against Leeds on Saturday (kick-off 1pm).
Hugill and Assombalonga were both forced out of the midweek FA Cup defeat at Newport, but boss Tony Pulis was guarded over the pair's availability. Midfielders George Saville (ankle) and Lewis Wing (groin) will also be monitored.
Pulis made five changes for the cup defeat and the likes of goalkeeper Darren Randolph, Mo Besic, Ryan Shotton and John Obi Mikel are expected to return to the starting line-up.
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Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa must check on Pablo Hernandez, Adam Forshaw and Mateusz Klich, who are all doubtful. Hernandez (groin), Forshaw and Klich (both knee) are in a race to be fit, while Bielsa has confirmed both Kalvin Phillips and Jamie Shackleton, unused substitutes in last week's home defeat to Norwich, are expected to start.
Striker Patrick Bamford is pushing for a return to the starting XI after recovering from a knee injury. It remains to be seen whether Izzy Brown will be involved. Defender Gaetano Berardi and winger Stuart Dallas are all out.
Middlesbrough have only lost one of their last five Championship games against Leeds (W2 D2), keeping a clean sheet in four of these meetings.
Leeds have lost both of their last two league trips to the Riverside (both 0-3), their worst losing run away at Middlesbrough in the league since they lost five in a row between September 1976 and August 1980.
Only Bolton Wanderers (13) have conceded more Championship goals in 2019 than Leeds United (10).
This fixture last season was won 3-0 by Middlesbrough, with Patrick Bamford - now playing for Leeds - scoring a hat-trick for Tony Pulis' side.
Each of Britt Assombalonga's last four Championship goals have been as a substitute - he has scored more substitute goals than any other Championship player this season (five goals).
Leeds striker Patrick Bamford has found the net with both of his shots on target in the Championship this season.
Middlesbrough look like they are right back on track now after a bit of a wobble, and it was a massive win for them at West Brom last week. Incredibly it was also the first time they have scored three in a league game since August!
Leeds were given an absolute hiding by Norwich and it is up to Marcelo Bielsa to make sure his side haven't been dwelling on that result. I'll back them to bounce back at the Riverside.
David Prutton predicts: 0-1 (13/2 with Sky Bet)