Garry Monk returns to Elland Road with high flying Middlesbrough

By Ashley Colbourn

Leeds United are looking to end a run of three straight defeats with a win against play-off placed Middlesbrough, who are managed by ex-boss Garry Monk.

The Whites started the season well, remaining unbeaten in their first seven Championship matches, but have since found consistency harder to come by.

Last time out they lost 3-1 to Brentford, with Ezgjan Alioski’s header being cancelled out by strikes from Neal Maupay, Yoann Barbet and Ryan Woods.

The result meant Leeds slipped out of the play-offs for the first time since August and in to 10th, with 23 points from 16 matches.

Middlesbrough have done the opposite winning  their last three matches, including a 1-0 victory over Sunderland in the Tees-Wear derby before the international break.

Monk left Leeds for Teesside last summer, stating on twitter: “My intention was always to remain at Leeds, and I saw myself at this fantastic club for many years to come. However, unfortunately no agreement could be reached”.

His side currently sit 5th in the Championship table with 26 points, although they are nine points behind league leaders Wolves.

Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen could have striker Caleb Ekuban at his disposal for the first time in three months, having broken a bone in his foot during his championship debut at Sunderland.

As for ‘Boro, right-back Cyrus Christie misses the match having picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Sunderland, while Rudy Gestede lacks match fitness and will not be selected.

Thomas Christiansen backed his players when he spoke to the local press: “We have our targets as they are and the target of Middlesbrough is direct promotion. We are only three points away from each other and that can soon turn.

Garry Monk told the club website where the focus lies ahead of the match: “We’ve done some hard work during the international break and it’s the next three points for us to target. It’s not about me, it’s about the team.”

Interesting stats:

Middlesbrough midfielder Jonny Howson made 225 appearances for his boyhood club Leeds United between 2006 and 2012, scoring 28 goals.

‘Boro have accrued 23 points under Monk so far this season. At the same stage last year, Monk and Leeds United had amassed 26.

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