Leeds vs Middlesbrough by Hassy
A trip to Elland Road should prove the ideal opportunity for the title chasers to return to winning ways and will also seem them go back to the summit of The Championship.
Leeds United currently sit in a safe 16th place in the league table and although I don't expect them to struggle in a relegation scrap their home form is terrible and reflects the general mood of the club under the current Celliono ownership. Beaten 0-1 by Forest in their last home game The Whites have won one game at home in their last four matches and even worse, have won only 4 times out of their fifteen home matches so far this season. So bad is their home form that only Blackburn & Charlton have picked up less points on their own patch.
Leeds midfielder Alex Mowatt is hoping to prove his fitness in time to face Middlesbrough. Head coach Steve Evans is still without Chris Wood as the striker works his way back from a second hamstring problem, which has kept him out of the last two games. Full-back Gaetano Berardi (ankle) is expected to return to full training next week, while midfielder Luke Murphy and defender Sol Bamba are pushing for recalls.
Despite only picking up a point in an average performance against MK Dons last week, Boro did return to the top of the league table. However, they have since been overtaken by Hull but a win tonight sees them go one point clear at the top and six clear in the automatic promotion places. On Tuesday night Jordan Rhodes opened his his account for his new club with an injury time equaliser after coming off the bench.
Boro's form has been patchy in the last few weeks with just one win from six games in all competitions but the manager blamed that on an unsettling January where player's futures are always uncertain. However, a look at the league table's away form suggests we have good reason to back an away win. Boro have notched up seven away wins this season and have the best away return in the whole of the second tier.
January signing Jordan Rhodes is still waiting for his first Middlesbrough start after two appearances as a substitute since his £9m switch from Blackburn. However, after scoring the all vital goal last week I am certain that he will start tonight. Defender Daniel Ayala is battling his way back to full fitness after the ankle problem which saw him miss out in midweek and could return but full-back George Friend remains on the sidelines with a fractured shoulder blade.
Despite my worries about Boro's recent form, Leeds are not in any better shape and are actually in worse form themselves. Add the fact that we are seeing a match up of the best away record against one of the worst away records in the league and we can see why I am going for an away win. Boro have the much better squad, have added some real quality to their ranks last month and are 21 points better off than an out of sorts Leeds United. Expect a 0-1 or a 0-2 tonight as Boro get back to winning ways and get their promotion campaign on the right road again.
|Boro win||Bet365||2.10||10||0-0 LOST (-10 units)|
* Odds as of post published time and are subject to change.