In-form Middlesbrough midfielder Grant Leadbitter hoping it will be third time lucky as he returns to Portman Road again

Middlesbrough midfielder Grant Leadbitter

Middlesbrough midfielder Grant Leadbitter - Credit: Archant

Middlesbrough midfielder Grant Leadbitter is fired up ahead of his third trip back to former club Ipswich Town.

The 28-year-old never truly won over the fans during his solid, if not spectacular, three years in Suffolk. Now, back in his native north east, he’s the darling of the Boro faithful.

And having suffered heavy losses on his last two trips back to Portman Road – 4-0 and 3-1 in February and September of 2013 respectively – he can’t wait for tomorrow’s fourth versus second Championship clash.

“I’m looking forward to going back to Ipswich again,” said Leadbitter, who has already scored 10 goals this season, six from the penalty spot and one a direct free-kick.

“They are a good club, a big club, and I had some good times there. We know it is going to be a very difficult game for us.

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“Mick McCarthy has done a very good job down there but we’ll go there full of confidence and looking to get another good result.

“You know what you’re going to get from one of Mick’s sides. We know it’s going to be tough. But let’s concentrate on ourselves and hopefully come away with something.”

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It’s all set-up for an intriguing afternoon. Town have lost just two home games in the last 12 months and comfortably beat Leeds 4-1 in their last outing on Suffolk soil. Boro – who beat previous league-leaders Derby 2-0 at home last weekend – have the most away wins in the division this season (6).

With Middlesbrough blowing a golden chance for promotion in 2011/12, having been top at the turn of the year, Leadbitter said: “The lads who were here when we missed out will have that in the back of their minds. I don’t really like speaking about two years ago though, I’d rather talk about and concentrate on what’s happening today. The win over Derby is gone. Millwall (5-1 away win) is gone.

“You always have to look ahead.

“This league is relentless and I can tell you that no-one in the dressing room is getting carried away with what we’ve done up to now.

“We have won nothing yet.

“This week has been all about preparing carefully and working hard leading up to the Ipswich game.

“We know it’s not going to be easy there.”

– Ipswich Town reporter Stuart Watson, and his Middlesbrough Gazette counterpart Phil Tallentire, give their views ahead of tomorrow’s crunch clash in today’s EADT and Ipswich Star.

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