Grant Leadbitter will be fired up by the Portman Road boo boys

Middlesbrough midfielder Grant Leadbitter

Middlesbrough midfielder Grant Leadbitter - Credit: Archant

Ipswich v Middlesbrough: Don’t boo Grant Leadbitter on Saturday, it will only fire him up more.

That’s the message to Ipswich Town fans from Kieron Dyer ahead of Saturday’s visit of Middlesbrough to Portman Road.

Ex-Town favourite Dyer is now back at his hometown club as an academy coach after hanging up his boots this summer, but he spent the second half of last season playing for Tony Mowbray’s Teesiders.

During that time, Dyer played alongside Leadbitter in midfield. The latter underwhelmed at Ipswich following a big-money move under Roy Keane’s management, with not too many supporters sad to see him depart on a Bosman free transfer last year.

The 27-year-old has been rejuvenated by a return to his native north east though, with Boro reportedly rejecting a £4.5m bid from Championship rivals Nottingham Forest on transfer deadline day.

Middlesbrough lost 4-0 at Portman Road back in February, with Leadbitter given a less than warm welcome back from fans of his former club.

“He’ll definitely feel he’s got a point to prove,” said Dyer.

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“I know he was gutted after the game down here last season. He was devastated on the coach on the way back because the fans had given him stick and he knew held not played well.

“It didn’t work out for him down here for whatever reason, but the fans idolise him up there and he’s now showing why he got all those appearances for Sunderland and the move to Ipswich.

“I suggest the Ipswich fans try and give him a bit of praise this time because the boos will only fire him up more.”

Middlesbrough have won just four league matches this calendar year, though they go into Saturday’s match unbeaten in four (one win and three draws) and boosted by the deadline day signings of former Norwich City duo Kei Kamara and Jacob Butterfield.

Ipswich – who host newly-promoted Yeovil next Tuesday – have claimed just four points from a tough start to the season which has included defeats against Reading, QPR and Leeds.