Tony Pulis provides fitness update on Middlesbrough captain ahead of Leeds United clash

Tony Pulis will give Middlesbrough skipper Grant Leadbitter every chance of playing against Leeds United, with a late call to be made on his fitness.

Thursday, 1st March 2018, 12:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st March 2018, 12:45 pm
Adama Traore is sent off against Sunderland.
Adama Traore is sent off against Sunderland.

Leadbitter tweaked his hamstring while scoring a penalty against Sunderland in the dramatic 3-3 draw at the Stadium of Light last weekend.

Pulis will make a late call on the Boro skipper, who was later subbed against Sunderland, ahead of the Friday night clash (KO 7.45pm), weather permitting.

"When Grant took the penalty against Sunderland, I think if you look back, you can see he felt the top of his hamstring," said Pulis.

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"That was a real concern for him straightaway.

"Fingers crossed he’ll be fit.

"He’s an outside chance and we will assess it last minute."

Weather-permitting, a bumper crowd is expected tonight with more than 27,000 tickets sold.

Boro have been boosted by the availability of winger Adama Traore, who was sent off against Sunderland for pushing Bryan Oviedo to the floor.

The club appealed the decision and were successful with Traore - who had been facing a four-game ban - now free to play.

"I’ve got to say thank you to the FA, the Football League, and the panel for making the decision,” Pulis said.

"That’s two that have been overturned since I’ve been here.

"The disappointing thing is that on the day we’ve suffered. We can’t turn the clock back in that respect.

"We’ve been very unfortunate to play those two games with ten men.

"When you look at it, and the panel has looked at it, it was unjustly done in lots of ways. We’re pleased to have Adama fit and available to go."

Play-off chasing Boro will be without striker Rudy Gestede after he was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a fractured ankle, while defender Fabio is also still sidelined with injury.

Teesside has been hit by heavy snow as a result of the so-called 'Beast from the East' but Boro have been working hard to ensure the game goes ahead, clearing the pitch and surrounding paths at the Riverside.

Boro bosses were due to meet this morning with officers from the council, police and transport chiefs, with supporter safety top of the agenda in determining whether the game does go ahead or not.

Pulis has praised the efforts of those taking part in the clear-up operation.

"The scenery up here is lovely, but getting to work and getting down to football has been difficult over the past few days because of the need to clear the pitches.

"The groundsmen both here and at the stadium have been fantastic, with people helping and the work going on to get the game on. This is a ‘can-do’ club.

"People here want to do things. It shows great spirit. We need a bit of luck that the snow stays off over the next 24 hours and hopefully the game will go ahead."

Despite the poor weather, Boro squad trained as normal at Rockliffe Park on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of the game.

Pulis added: "The problem we had Thursday morning was the wind.

"There was heavy sheeting that can be carried away, but as for taking the snow off, they have tractors with brushes and can clear it off quickly."