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Leadbitter a doubt for the Huddersfield game
GRANT Leadbitter is an early injury doubt for Middlesbrough's home game with Huddersfield Town tomorrow evening.
Leadbitter suffered a knock in Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Bristol City, and while he was able to finish the game, he was hobbling at the final whistle.
The Wearside-born midfielder has started all of Boro's Championship matches this season, but the high work load is taking its toll.
Josh McEachran appeared similarly jaded before he was withdrawn shortly after the hour mark at the weekend, and with Nicky Bailey, Richie Smallwood and Kevin Thomson waiting in the wings, midfield changes are anticipated as Boro attempt to bounce back from two consecutive defeats tomorrow.
“We'll have to wait and see on Grant,” said Mowbray, who could also recall Scott McDonald after the Australian was demoted to the substitutes' bench on Saturday. “He's played just about every minute of every game this season. He keeps going, and I'm sure that if he has a chance of being fit on Tuesday, he'll be out there with his boots on.
“I just thought Josh looked a bit tired. We asked the two central midfielders to do a lot of work and I thought he got a bit tired as the game went on. The two of them put a hard shift in.”
Boro will have to tighten up defensively if they are to get back to winning ways against a Huddersfield side who will close to within a point of their opponents if they win tomorrow.
The Teessiders conceded three goals in a home game for the first time this season against Bristol City, and rarely looked comfortable against the pace of Albert Adomah and the overlapping runs of full-backs Joe Bryan and Richard Foster.
As well as scoring three goals, Bristol City also struck the crossbar and forced Jason Steele into an excellent first-half save, and Mowbray admits major improvements are required if Boro are not to suffer similar problems against the Terriers.
“We have to trust the quality in the team and take the chances as they come along,” he said. “But you can't concede three goals and expect to win matches. I could stand here and talk about the players that are unavailable to us, but I don't really think that's pertinent. Whoever we pick have to try to keep clean sheets and give us a platform to go and win matches.
“There's a need to get back on the winning trail. After a defeat you need a reaction, and you have to bounce back to try to get a result. If your aspirations are to stay at the top end of the table then you need to keep the points tally ticking along.”