By Mark Smith

25th Feb, 2020 | 9:30am

Journalist claims Middlesbrough have been losing 'key battle' ahead of Leeds clash

Hartlepool Mail journalist Joe Nicholson has pointed out the Middlesbrough wing-backs as a key area they struggle in ahead of their clash with Leeds United on Wednesday.

Middlesbrough go into the game at the Riverside Stadium on the back of two disastrous results against Luton Town and Barnsley, recently losing 1-0 at Oakwell.

Nicholson claims that Barnsley beat Jonathan Woodgate’s men at their own game in the clash, and were booed off as a consequence at the final whistle.

Nicholson claimed that former Leeds man Clarke Odour played a vital role in helping his side to all three points against Boro.

“Against Boro, though, Barnsley wing-backs Clarke Oduor, 20, and Kilian Ludewig, 19, pinned the visitors back as Jonny Howson and Marvin Johnson struggled to get up the pitch,” he wrote.

“It was a key battle which Woodgate’s side lost.”

Marcelo Bielsa and his analysis team will have spotted that, and Leeds will surely be targeting the wide areas to exploit the home side on Wednesday evening.

Jack Harrison and Helder Costa could play vital roles in the game, with both Howson and Johnson surely expected to be pinned in behind the pressure and dominance Leeds like to have on the ball.

Costa was involved massively in the recent win against Reading. The 26-year-old had three shots on goal as well as completing one key pass according to WhoScored, and he may get the space to create even more on Wednesday based on this latest insight.

In other Leeds United news, Lee Bowyer has mentioned Whites in bold Championship claim alongside Brentford