Leeds V Middlesbrough at Elland Road : Match Preview

21 December 2012 11:31
Leeds V Middlesbrough - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Tate poised for recall

Leeds defender Alan Tate is expected to return to the starting line-up for the home clash with Middlesbrough.

Tate, on loan from Swansea, was unavailable for the midweek Capital One Cup defeat to Chelsea, but is likely to step back in alongside Tom Lees in central defence, with Jason Pearce making way.

Striker Davide Somma could make his first appearance of the season following a long-term knee injury. The South Africa international was an unused substitute against Chelsea and could feature at some stage against Boro.

Goalkeeper Paddy Kenny was rested in midweek and is another player likely to return, in place of Jamie Ashdown, while manager Neil Warnock must decide whether to recall David Norris to his midfield.

Another midfielder, Michael Tonge, is expected to start in his final game for the club before his scheduled return to parent club Stoke, although Leeds are hoping to make the deal permanent during the January transfer window.

Strikers Ross McCormack and Luke Varney, plus winger Aidy White are all pushing for recalls, but midfielder Rudy Austin and defender Leigh Bromby remain long-term absentees.

Rhys Williams could return to the Middlesbrough squad for the first time since August.

The 24-year-old Australia international damaged ankle ligaments in the 2-0 Capital One Cup victory at Gillingham on August 28, but has returned to light training and may be available to bolster manager Tony Mowbray's squad.

Mowbray otherwise has a series of injury doubts with full-back George Friend, who suffered a hamstring strain in the 2-0 victory over Wolves last weekend, being assessed ahead of kick-off.

Central defender Andre Bikey and midfielder Faris Haroun (both hamstring), as well as utility man Andy Halliday (groin), all missed the clash with the Black Country club, and their respective conditions will be assessed too.

Midfielders Julio Arca (toe) and Muzzy Carayol (knee) and striker Curtis Main (also knee) are also close to returns from long-term injuries, but less advanced than Williams.

Source: PA