Middlesbrough predicted team vs Leeds United with Sunderland and Blackburn inspiration

Middlesbrough players warm up
Middlesbrough players warm up -Credit:Getty Images

Middlesbrough's squad will be stretched against Leeds United on Monday evening - with Luke Ayling and Sam Greenwood added to their long list of absentees due to being ineligible against their parent club.

Michael Carrick does hope to have Paddy McNair back in the squad though, with the Northern Ireland international back in training last week after suffering a hamstring strain during last month's international break. While Boro have little but pride to play for, they are keen to extend their unbeaten run.

And to do so against Leeds, they may well take inspiration from Sunderland and Blackburn, who have stopped the Whites winning their last two games - both while playing a wing-back system that Daniel Farke's side have struggled against. While Carrick has recently reverted back to his favoured 4-2-3-1 with one eye on the future, we're predicting Boro do follow the blueprint and go back to a back five that has served them so well at times this season. Here's our predicted team.

READ MORE: Middlesbrough injury update ahead of Leeds United with only one potential return

GK - Seny Dieng - With Tom Glover now out for the season, only injury would stop Seny Dieng playing the remaining games of the season - though it's likely he would have anyway. More good saves at Ipswich last time out.

CB - Paddy McNair - Back in training all of last week, it could be the ideal timing for Boro allowing him to return straight to the starting line-up as part of a back three against Leeds - something they've struggled against of late.

CB - Rav van den Berg - Another excellent performance last time out at Ipswich, Rav van den Berg continues to come through the challenges he faces with flying colours. A favourite for Player of the Year now, he'll hope to solidify that claim.

CB - Matt Clarke - A little off the pace at Ipswich and didn't cover himself in glory with the equalising goal. Nevertheless, it was a rare off day for him of late. A nominee for March's PFA Player of the Month, it typifies the kind of form he's been in.

RWB - Isaiah Jones - With Ayling out, switching to wing-backs would also solve that gap in the team, allowing Isaiah Jones to return to the role he thrived in. His pace always makes him a counter-attacking threat.

CM - Jonny Howson - Still uncertain on his Boro future but can do little more than with his recent performances to earn a new deal. Against his boyhood club, he's made clear he won't be letting his standards drop regardless of what Boro have left to play for - and you wouldn't ever doubt it.

CM - Lewis O'Brien - After a season frustrated by injuries, O'Brien has enjoyed a really successful run in the team and has really shown his quality. He's desperate to impress and it shows in his performances in the middle of the park.

LWB - Alex Bangura - Though back in the Boro squad for a couple of weeks now, it was noted that Carrick referenced his return again this week when asked about injuries. Seemingly the best fit as a counter-attacking wing-back on the left who would match Jones on the right, perhaps Carrick's mention was a sign that he's ready to return to the side.

AM - Finn Azaz - Scored at Hull City and then played a crucial role in the goal at Ipswich Town, Finn Azaz enjoyed a positive Boro week. He could still do a lot more to contribute more throughout the whole 90, but is nevertheless clearly starting to find his feet in a Boro shirt.

ST - Sammy Silvera - While he didn't have the best of games against Ipswich, he was full of endeavour throughout - something Carrick does like. The Aussie is always brave and desperate to impact games, regardless of how successful he is at doing so. He played the striker role at Leicester in this formation and succeeded in that one, so can hopefully replicate it.

ST - Emmanuel Latte Lath - Having scored against Leeds United at Elland Road in the reverse fixture, Latte Lath will be hoping he can continue his fine form of late to grab at least another on Monday evening that would take his tally to 15 for the season in what is an impressive end indeed.