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Middlesbrough vs Leeds United.

Sky Bet Championship.

Middlesbrough 0

    Leeds United 1

    • M Klich (46th minute)

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    Wednesday 26 February 2020 23:54, UK

    Boro vs Leeds

    Middlesbrough face Leeds in the Sky Bet Championship on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Action.

    Team news

    Middlesbrough remain without Patrick Roberts and Daniel Ayala for the visit of Leeds. Roberts is sidelined by a hamstring injury and Ayala is out with an ankle problem.

    Anfernee Dijksteel is not in contention after a knee injury but he is due to play for Boro's U23s later in the week. Djed Spence will be hoping to return to the squad after he was left out at Barnsley at the weekend.

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    Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla will be assessed after suffering a hand injury. Illan Meslier will be be in line to make his league debut if Casilla is ruled out.

    Kalvin Phillips also needs a fitness check after limping off during the first half against Reading. Fellow midfielder Adam Forshaw is out for the season after hip surgery.

    Recent form

    In spite of a near-perfect Christmas period, Middlesbrough have slipped in recent weeks and are without a win since beating Middlesbrough 2-0 at Deepdale on New Year's Day.

    Having got back on track with a 1-1 draw at Brentford on February 11, Leeds have built upon that result by grinding out successive 1-0 home wins against Bristol City and Reading.

    More on this story

    What the managers said...

    Middlesbrough's Jonathan Woodgate: "Maybe we got a bit complacent. Maybe we thought we were already clear. I didn't. I never thought we were clear even when it was 10 points. We are still right in it. They know the situation. It isn't rocket science.

    "But we are still in a position where we can still get out of it. We are in a battle. We have to start rolling up our sleeves and getting results quick. Now we are fighting for our lives. We have been disappointed with results recently and performances haven't been good enough. We are looking forward to Leeds. It is a great game to bounce back in.

    "With Barnsley [reviving] maybe it is because they are actually in the relegation zone and we weren't."

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    Leeds' Marcelo Bielsa: "Kiko has a problem [with his hand], maybe he will play but that depends on the pain. There is inflammation from a kick, but if he can support the pain, he will play. Phillips also got a kick and again it depends on if the pain disappears, so it is the same as Kiko.

    "There are teams that always play with the same shape and you have other teams that change their shape. Middlesbrough can play six to eight different shapes and they manage very well. We have been working for over 12 months together, though, and in this time we have faced all the different shapes. We are ready to adapt to the difficulties of different shapes."

    Talking point: Contrasting outlooks for former Premier League sides

    Throughout the '90s and into the mid-noughties, Leeds and Middlesbrough were teams well versed in the rigours of the Premier League. Less than 20 years later, their fortunes could not be much more different.

    Jonathan Woodgate implemented a new approach at boyhood club Boro after taking over from Tony Pulis in the summer but they remain entwined in the relegation battle as the final weeks of the season, while Leeds are in a prime position to end their 16-year top flight exile under Marcelo Bielsa. There is plenty of football to be played and both could still remain in the division but starting next season two divisions apart remains a very real possibility.

    Latest highlights

    preview image 1:57
    Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Barnsley and Middlesbrough.
    preview image 1:56
    Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds and Reading.

    Opta stats

    Middlesbrough are unbeaten in their last three home league matches against Leeds United (W2 D1) since a 1-0 defeat in February 2015.

    Leeds have completed a league double over Middlesbrough in only one of the last 17 seasons the sides have met, doing so in 2014-15.

    Latest EFL odds

    Latest EFL odds

    Check out the latest EFL odds and more from Sky Bet...

    Across their last three league matches - against the Championship's current bottom three - Middlesbrough have picked up just one point (D1 L2) and have managed just three shots on target, with none of those coming in the last two games.

    Since their defeat by Nottingham Forest, Leeds have taken seven points from the last nine available in the Championship (W2 D1), though the Whites are winless in their last four on the road (D2 L2).

    Middlesbrough (8.3%) are one of just three teams to have a lower shot conversion rate in the Championship this season than Leeds (8.7%). Indeed, the Whites have had more shots on target than any other side in the division (175), whilst only Luton (100) and Nottingham Forest (112) have managed fewer than Boro (115).

    Prutton's prediction

    I would imagine Jonathan Woodgate will be desperate for this season to end! It's been a real rollercoaster for Boro this term and they are within touching distance of the drop zone at the time of speaking so this is an important week on Teesside.

    Leeds seem to have stabilised since that draw with Brentford earlier in the month and the fact under-fire goalkeeper Kiko Casilla has kept back-to-back clean sheets will be a massive boost for Marcelo Bielsa. Away win, for me.

    David Prutton predicts: 1-2 (15/2 with Sky Bet)

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