Middlesbrough midfielder doubt for Tees-Wear clash as he reflects on Sunderland career

Lee Cattermole in a midfield battle with Grant Leadbitter
Lee Cattermole in a midfield battle with Grant Leadbitter
2
Have your say

Grant Leadbitter is a doubt for next week’s Tees-Wear derby after Boro boss Steve Agnew confirmed the midfielder will miss Saturday’s clash with Bournemouth.

The 31-year-old, who came through Sunderland’s academy and went on to make 111 league appearances for the Black Cats, is suffering from a hamstring strain.

Agnew said: “He is the captain and leader of the team and what Grant gives us is that leadership and the communication and the organisation, so yes of course Grant’s a miss.

“I thought he was terrific the other night, but when a player is injured then that gives an opportunity for another member of the squad.”

Leadbitter, meanwhile, has been reflecting on a successful six-year career with his hometown club.

The midfielder was part of Roy Keane’s famous Championship winning side who rose up the table to seal an unlikely win in the 2006/07 season.

Leadbitter was reunited with Keane at Ipswich Town in 2009 before moving to Teesside three years later.

He told safc.com: “I was a young kid when we won the Championship so you kind of take those things for granted, but looking back now it was a great moment and one I’ll never forget.

“I had a lot of great memories playing for the club and it was a really special time, Sunderland is a big part of my family so I still always look out for the results.”

Leadbitter paid tribute to Keane, who turned around a wretched start to the season.

He said: “Believe it or not, we felt okay [after a tough start to the season] because we knew we had good people in the dressing room. I think Roy [Keane] came in after four or five games and he brought in some experienced heads into the dressing room; Graham Kavanagh and Dwight Yorke were big signings and they could drag you through tough times.

“We gathered that momentum when Roy came in and then we went on an amazing run towards the back end of the season which sealed promotion for us. He changed the mentality of the team from the moment he walked in the door. Obviously, we all knew what he accomplished as a player and we appreciated that.

“I was a young kid when we won the Championship so you kind of take those things for granted, but looking back now it was a great moment and one I’ll never forget.

“I had a lot of great memories playing for the club and it was a really special time, Sunderland is a big part of my family so I still always look out for the results.”