“Nothing to lose,” was Uwe Rosler’s view of Leeds United’s trip to Middlesbrough this weekend.
Leeds will travel to Teesside as 6-1 shots - as long as price as they were before the same fixture last season - but in the years since the clubs renewed hostilities in the Championship in 2010, United have had the measure of Boro.
The past 10 meetings between the clubs have yielded 20 points for Leeds and ended in defeat only twice. Here are the five most recent encounters at The Riverside:
Middlesbrough 0 Leeds United 1 - February 21, 2015
Sunday’s game might not be dissimilar to the game which played at Middlesbrough last season. Boro had streams of possession and chances aplenty but no answer to Alex Mowatt’s sharp strike from the edge of the box three minutes into the match. Sol Bamba was immense, Marco Silvestri saved everything and Aitor Karanka was stunned. “It was amazing,” said Boro’s boss. “I can’t believe we didn’t win the game.”
Middlesbrough 0 Leeds United 0 - February 22, 2014
A contest remembered for very little other than Massimo Cellino’s appearance in the stands. The Italian had agreed his takeover of Leeds three weeks earlier and arrived at the ground flanked by his son and David Haigh. Attention was on him throughout a drab 0-0 draw. Jack Butland took the man-of-the-match award for a limited amount of work on his Leeds debut, including one very good save from Albert Adomah. At the other end of the pitch, Shay Given posted his 10th clean sheet in 16 appearances for Middlesbrough. Boro’s sixth straight game without a goal was a club record.
Middlesbrough 1 Leeds United 0 - February 12, 2013
Curtis Main, Habib Habibou, Neil Warnock and the end of United’s play-off bid. Well, not quite. But the lingering suspicion that Leeds lacked the legs for a top-six finish was all but confirmed by defeat on a night when Warnock’s side had to win. Ross McCormack missed a glorious chance which Jonathan Woodgate cleared off the line and the game meandered nervously until Curtis Main looped an 81st-minute header over Paddy Kenny. Warnock turned in desperation to his new signing Habibou - who almost scored with his first touch. Jason Steele clawed the striker’s header away from the corner of his net. It was as close as Habibou came to looking like a Championship footballer.
Middlesbrough 0 Leeds United 2 - March 11, 2012
Boro were taken to the cleaners as goals from Robert Snodgrass and Luciano Becchio inside 30 minutes put a televised game to bed. The victory was Neil Warnock’s first as United manager and few of his others came more easily. With four minutes remaining Boro midfielder Barry Robson was sent off for a kick at Adam Clayton, rounding off a bad afternoon for Tony Mowbray. “It’s great to get off the mark,” Warnock said. Mowbray conceded that Boro “didn’t get started.”
Middlesbrough 1 Leeds United 2 - October 16, 2010
A bizarre evening on which the home crowd called for the sacking of Boro manager Gordon Strachan while the away end voiced their support for United’s erstwhile captain. Strachan’s coat was on a shaky peg and he and Boro went their separate ways after Davide Somma and Luciano Becchio inflicted a 2-1 defeat on his struggling team. Becchio’s second-half finish was the pick of the goals - a wonderful volley whipped into the far corner after Bradley Johnson’s cross dropped in front of him. A Kris Boyd reply counted for nothing. “I’m sure Gordon will get them playing as a unit and getting the results they need,” said Simon Grayson. Strachan resigned 48 hours later.