Leeds United v Middlesbrough: ‘Fortress Elland Road’ required say YEP jury to see off Monk’s men

Middlesbrough boss Garry Monk. PIC: Varley's
Middlesbrough boss Garry Monk. PIC: Varley's
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Going into a fixture against a resurgent Middlesbrough on a three-match home losing run hasn’t been lost on Leeds United supporters. Here’s what the Yorkshire Evening Post’s fans’ jury has to say about it.

David Watkins

Leeds United head coach, Thomas Christiansen.

Leeds United head coach, Thomas Christiansen.

Every recent opponent has hit form prior to our game and Middlesbrough is another.

Three consecutive league victories and one defeat in six have propelled Boro to fifth, three points and five places above Leeds.

Boro are consistent too, picking up points regularly and suffering just four league defeats, all by the odd goal.

They also have a fine away record while Leeds have lost three on the trot at ‘fortress’ Elland Road. With Leeds 23rd in the current six-game form table (only Preston are worse), the omens don’t look good!

I do, however, refuse to believe we’re as bad as recent results suggest and we all know about those ‘fine margins’.

If we field the right players, play for 90 minutes, eliminate mistakes and maybe get lucky, we have a chance.

If this season is to mean anything to Leeds United FC then it has to start now.

It won’t be pretty.

I’ll even take a deflection off a backside, but here’s hoping!

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Middlesbrough 0.

Matthew Evans

Back after another international break and the club are making all of the right noises in an effort to break us out of this barren spell and inject the enthusiasm and positivity that’s going to be needed to pick up three points on Sunday.

I bet most of us were looking forward to Thomas Christiansen’s new-look and adventurous side taking Garry Monk’s Middlesbrough apart in a moment of perfect karma.

A month or so later and now we probably fear the opposite – a smug Monk leaving Elland Road with a knowing smile.

Hopefully expectations have dropped to more manageable levels and we can really get behind whatever side Christiansen chooses to send out. Because of the bizarre nature of our results this season, it’s turned into a monumental fixture and we have no choice but to make this the start of yet another revival.

It reminds me of Simon Grayson’s first game, a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Leicester that halted an awful run. I think the same might happen on Sunday.

Prediction: Leeds United 1, Middlesbrough 1.

Gary Newbould

After an extremely well-timed international break, United return to Championship action with a Sunday lunchtime kick-off against Middlesbrough.

The Whites will be hoping to bring to a halt a terrible run of form over the last couple of months which has seen the fall from the summit of the Championship to tenth position. However, what better time to turn their fortunes around than against Garry Monk’s Middlesbrough? For all Monk’s talk about ambition and significant spending his team lie just three points better off than the hosts.

United’s international players had a mixed time in the World Cup play-offs with Stuart Dallas desperately unlucky, Eunan O’Kane emphatically denied by Denmark whilst un-used substitute Pontus Jansson saw delight at the San Siro – that brought back memories!

Let’s hope coach Thomas Christiansen has used the break wisely to come up with a plan to re-energise the season and send what will be a large and raucous Elland Road crowd home happy at last.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1.

Mike Gill

Can it really be only three Championship games ago that United comprehensively despatched Bristol City 3-0?

Bringing Ronaldo Vieira in and stiffening up the midfield was the easy fix and soon all would be well.

Sadly, all is not well and United’s confidence has dropped. Even the usually reliable Andy Lonergan faltered against Brentford.

Questions are being asked and solutions to the problem are being put forward.

By far the most bizarre one is that the querulous Felix Wiedwald should return because we can then play out from the back properly!

Thomas Christiansen must stick to his principles and be strong. His career at Leeds United is going to depend on it!

Big-spending Boro have had a slow start but are now flexing their muscles after three wins in a row.

The return of the inscrutable (former Leeds United head coach, Garry) Monk will add further spice, but we are due a win at Elland Road ... Please!

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1.

Keith Ingham

Two weeks have passed since Leeds returned with their tails between their legs after suffering another defeat at Brentford.

Thomas Christiaisen has had time to plan for this Sunday’s game with Middlesbrough and the return of ex-head coach Garry Monk, but without many of his players who have been away on international duty. One came back very happy (Jansson) and two came back very disappointed (Dallas and O’Kane). Thursday and Friday training will determine who lines up on Sunday.

There are questions over most of the players who played in the last game. Andy Lonergan’s two howlers put his place in question and I’d also question why Pierre-Michel Lasogga continues to be played. Kemar Roofe showed enough when played through the middle to be worth a run in the side. He isn’t as effective playing out wide.

At the moment I’m struggling to pick 11 players who can do something they haven’t done since Bristol City – WIN!

One player, if fit, must be considered: Stuart Dallas.

He has been omitted for most of this wretched period and he deserves a run in the team.

The sub-plot is intriguing. Monk, who left the club in the summer, against a coach and team that started the season ‘on fire’ only to finish October and the start of November like a faulty firework.

Thomas Christiansen, this is the time you and your team must show the fans endeavour and ‘bottle’ to get a much-needed win by whatever means – fair or foul.

It’s ‘blood on your boots time’ boys! Expecting a close game, Leeds to edge it by one.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1.

Leeds United goalkeeper, Felix Wiedwald.

Phil Hay – Inside Elland Road: Getting the basics right still vital for Leeds United’s Felix Wiedwald