Middlesbrough crisis deepens but defender warns there is 'no better game' than Leeds United to bounce back

Leeds United travel to face Middlesbrough on Wednesday night

Monday, 24th February 2020, 11:50 am
Middlesbrough defender Ryan Shotton. (Image: Getty)

Ryan Shotton insists there is no better game to bounce back for struggling Middlesbrough than facing promotion-chasing Leeds at the Riverside.

Marcelo Bielsa's outfit make the trip to the North East on Wednesday evening in Championship action aiming to make it three victories in a row having seen their advantage over third-place widen to five points in the race for automatic promotion.

The hosts, though, are now winless in nine league outings having failed to pick up three points since New Year's Day.

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Jonathan Woodgate's men slipped to another damaging defeat at lowly Barnsley on Saturday afternoon as their relegation fears deepened further.

Boro now sit just three points from safety with 12 games of the campaign to go, but Shotton says taking on the Whites provides the perfect platform for a fightback.

“I am really excited for Wednesday because there is no better game to bounce back in,” he told Teesside Live.

“We know it will be tough but we will be right up for it and we will be aiming to win, to do that and then to beat [Nottingham] Forest as well.

“I am really looking forward to it and hopefully we can get the results we need to kick-start us again.”

Asked whether he and his team-mates have what it takes to beat the drop to League One, he added: "It’s a mentality thing. You need to know how to fight.

"Barnsley have been in this kind of situation a few times over the last few years. They know how to get out of it.

“Wigan are the same. They have been here a few times and know what it is like to face that relegation pressure.

"This is the first time we have had to switch our mindset to ‘we are right in this’ and learn that battling comes first.

“We have to rewire ourselves completely for the next three months to deal with a different situation.

“If we stay up - when we stay up - we can look to the summer and see where we can improve and how to get back to the right end of the table but right now we have to change our mind set.

“We have three months to get out of it, three months to rewire the system, change the mindset and do what is required.”