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Leeds United v. Middlesbrough: Preview, lineups, viewing info, smog-clearing surprise?

Optimism will be hard to find on Monday night as the Smoggies descend on Elland Road... but does a surprise await?

Leeds fans, as excited as we get these days.
Leeds fans, as excited as we get these days.
Daniel Smith/Getty Images

Brian Clough and Don Revie were both Middlesbrough lads who went on to manage at Leeds United, but it’s the former rather than the latter who would probably be looking forward to watching the upcoming game, if that were possible. Even though the game has been moved to accommodate the ever meddling SkyTV, the Smoggies have sold out their allocation of 2,826. This is because Boro invested strongly in the summer, bringing in the likes of England international Stuart Downing, and again in January, splashing out £9m on Scottish International Striker Jordan Rhodes. Boro is on the verge of a return to the Premiership.

Sadly, as we're all now well aware, the same cannot be said for Leeds United who failed to bring in a goal scorer in the transfer window despite having the Byram money available and summer signing Chris Wood sidelined with yet another injury. A figurative smog has descended on Elland Road that will only be lifted with a surprise victory against the Premiership hopefuls from North Yorkshire.

Surprise

With the game on TV, dissatisfaction among the Leeds faithful, and a poor run of form, a low turnout is expected. A mystery protest is the main talking point of this game among Leeds fans. The shape of the protest is a closely guarded secret and will be as big a surprise as a home win would be, considering our form and injuries.

Form

Middlesbrough are actually on a poor run of form themselves considering their lofty position in the Championship. They have drawn 2, lost 2 and won only once in their last five outings in the Championship.

From their last 5 league appearances, Leeds have lost 3, drawn 1, and won only 1.

Head-to-head

There have been 44 meetings at Elland Road. Leeds have been victorious on 24 occasions, Middlesbrough has won 11, and the remaining 9 games were drawn.

Leeds United players to watch

Alex Mowatt has missed 4 games with a thigh strain and is hoping to be in the squad Monday night. His attacking presence has been missed. Leeds are not making the best of set pieces and the inclusion of Mowatt will surely add options for free kicks and corners that have been missing.

Souleymane Doukara has been a mainstay in Woods absence. He has netted 3 times whilst playing in Leeds teams that didn’t feature Chris Wood. Let's hope he fills the void once again Monday night.

Middlesbrough players to watch

Jordan Rhodes has featured twice as a substitute since his big money move from Blackburn Rovers. Monday night will be his first start as a Boro player. He is no stranger to Elland Road, having played there for Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers.

Adam Clayton came to Leeds United from Manchester City and was tipped as "one for the future." He was sold by Neil Warnock, who preferred the likes of Michael Brown in his midfield, to Huddersfield before he moved on to Boro. Clayton famously over-celebrated in front of Warnock when scoring for Huddersfield against Leeds. Embarrassingly for him, his team went on to lose that day. He would dearly love to be on the score sheet Monday. Leeds fans will be interested to see if he has improved since leaving Leeds, and we'll watch with interest to see if he can cut the mustard in the Premiership, should Boro advance.

WHAT

Leeds United v. Middlesbrough

Football League Championship

WHERE

Elland Road, Leeds

Sky Sports 1, BeIN Sports

WHEN

Monday, February 15, 2016

11:45am PT / 2:45pm ET / 7:45pm BT

WHO

Leeds United

Silvestri, Taylor, Cooper, Bellusci, Wootton, Bridcutt, Diagouraga, Dallas, Cook, Doukara, Antenucci

Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Bamba, Coyle, Adeyemi, Murphy, Mowatt, Erwin

Middlesbrough

Dimi, Nsue, Fry, Gibson, De Laet, Leadbitter, Clayton, Stuani, Ramirez, Downing, Rhodes

Subs: Agazzi, Nugent, Adomah, Kalas, de Pena, de Sart, Forshaw

ODDS

Leeds 11/4

Draw 12/5

Middlesbrough 11/10

PREDICTION

1-1. I cannot name the scorers for you though.

What do you think? Will we pull this one out at home and lift the smog from Elland Road? Will we get trounced at home by a Premiership-quality squad? Will this game affect your interest in the rest of the season? Will it affect Evans or Cellino's future with the club? Vote in our poll below, and answer some of our questions in the comments. Also, you can follow along with our live-tweets of the game at @ThruItAllLIVE. Thanks for reading. #MOT