Grant Leadbitter: Middlesbrough "ignoring Wembley thoughts"

Grant Leadbitter
Leadbitter has played in the Premier League with Sunderland

Middlesbrough captain Grant Leadbitter says they must forget Wembley and focus on winning the Championship play-off semi-final second-leg versus Brentford.

Boro were relegated from the Premier League in 2009, but with a 2-1 first-leg lead over the Bees are closer than ever before to a top-flight return.

"We as players can't get soaked up in that. We must look forward to and prepare for Friday," he told BBC Tees.

"We don't want it to be our last [game this season]."

Leadbitter in the Premier League
Grant Leadbitter made 65 appearances in the top flight for Sunderland

Previous managers Gareth Southgate, Gordon Strachan and Tony Mowbray were unable to steer Boro to promotion in the six years since they tumbled out of the top tier.

Current head coach Aitor Karanka has led Boro to within 180 minutes of that achievement in his first full season, and with home advantage in the second leg against Brentford, they are the bookmakers' favourites to progress to the final at Wembley on Monday 25 May, against Ipswich or Norwich.

Midfielder Leadbitter, however, expects Mark Warburton's side to bring a threat in front of a capacity crowd.

"It's a dangerous game, we have to get the intensity right," Leadbitter added.

"It's two good teams, fighting to get in the Premier League.

"The atmosphere will be great and hopefully we can thrive off that."

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