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Leeds United looking forward to Middlesbrough challenge

paul-heckingbottom

Leeds United face a test ahead of their next fixture and that has nothing to do with the weather. Leeds face a side rejuvenated Middlesbrough side after Tony Pulis took over from Garry Monk. Middlesbrough are above them in the table but manager Paul Heckingbottom believes that the game against Middlesbrough should go ahead and will go ahead.

Heckingbottom has got through his first month well and has answered some questions from the doubters. The manager has brought a bit more solidity to the side and organisation as they kept their first clean sheet since New Year’s day against Brentford. Even against Derby County they were seconds away from getting all three points but slipped to a side who are one of the best sides in the league.

The phrase that is being muttered around Leeds United is “play-offs”. They will be wondering if they are able to make a monumentally late push for themselves and it will be a huge ask of the players. They are only six points away from the final play-off place with 12 games left but they still have to face Wolverhampton Wanders, Fulham, Aston Villa, Preston North End and Saturday’s opponents Middlesbrough who are all above them in the table.

But with the “Beast from the East” disrupting training through the week and forcing the United players inside, the preparation has not been the same as it would have been for a crucial match. However, the manager is upbeat about how the weather has not affected and how the players have trained during the week.

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The constant talk about the weather has taken the severity away from this fixture as Heckingbottom looks to grab the first back-to-back victory for the club since late December. Middlesbrough come into the game with a steady run of results under their belt and you would expect nothing else from a man like Pulis. However, they will be disappointed that after heavily investing in the summer they are not fighting for automatic promotion.

A win for either side could push them up the table and put pressure on the play-off places. However, manager Heckingbottom is playing it cool and saying he will only take it one game at a time. This is coy from the Leeds manager but he more than anyone knows that if they slip up now they will miss out on a shot at Premier League football next season.

The disruptions will not have helped an unbeaten in three games Leeds United side but they will be confident going into the fixture having played admirably against Brentford and finally picking up a win. They will find it tough at times but they have to stand up and be counted for just like they did in the reverse fixture at Elland Road where they held onto a slender 2-1 win against the North East side.