Leicester manager Nigel Pearson will be seeking an immediate response from his players after Saturday’s disappoiting defeat to Preston, as he takes his side to the Riverside Stadium this evening.
Pearson’s opposite number Gareth Southgate has declared his disappointment after two winless games for the Teesiders, and says his side must bounce back starting tonight.
Pearson can expect something of a heroe’s welcome at the Riverside, after captaining the side two two promotions in the 90’s. He was also in the side which lost to City in the 1997 League Cup final, a match which was won after a replay.
Both sides have endured a frustrating two week period in recent times, with goals flowing in worryingly frequently at the wrong end. Boro’s 5-0 defeat at the hands of West Brom was followed by Saturday’s draw with Coventry, where they led 2-0 at one stage.
Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate: ‘We feel we’ve got a point to prove at the moment. We understand there’ll be adverse reaction, we’ve got to answer that criticism on the field.’
Leicester defender Bruno Berner: ‘We want to move on and learn from it (Preston). We have to improve quickly. We had a good start and it is a little setback so we have to move on’.
Middlesbrough Team News:
On-loan striker Caleb Folan is ruled out with a thigh injury, along with Justin Hoyte, nursing an ankle injury picked up in Saturday’s draw at Coventry.
Didier Digard faces a late fitness test on a groin injury which has somewhat hampered his Middlesbrough career to date.
Player to watch: Adam Johnson
The left winger will no doubt prove a stern test to Leicester right-back Robbie Neilson. With pace, skill and an eye for goal, Johnson firmly takes position as one of the division’s finest players. Middlesbrough will do well to keep hold of him when the bigger clubs come sniffing eventually.
Leicester City Team News:
Pearson could name an unchanged side from Saturday’s defeat providing that Richie Wellens has suffered no repercussions from his recent hamstring injury.
Nicky Adams is pushing hard for a first team berth, with Dany N’Guessan the man most likely to make way should Adams get the nod.
Player to watch: Matty Fryatt
There’s one man Middlesbrough will be keeping a close eye on tonight, after eight goals in all competitions already this season. Fryatt has found his best form for the club over the past year after two miserable seasons in the Championship last time around. An incredible 32 goals last season along with his return so far has certainly put Fryatt on the map.
Match Facts & Stats
Middlesbrough 3-3 Leicester
17th January 2004
– Middlesbrough have only scored 5 of their 16 goals at home this season.
– The two sides have conceded a heavy 12 goals between them in the past two matches.
– Interestingly, Leicester have recorded the second highest amount of attempts on goal this season, despite scoring only 11 goals in 9 games thus far.
It looks certain to guarantee goals at the very least. I think a 1-1 draw is on the cards.
Saturday 3rd October
Middlesbrough: Reading (A)
Leicester: Coventry (A)