LEEDS skipper Liam Cooper reckons Sunday's clash at home to Middlesbrough represents the biggest game of the season for both clubs.

Former United boss Garry Monk returns to Elland Road after his surprise decision to leave the club in the summer.

The Boro manager is likely to receive a hostile reception from some sections of the home crowd but Leeds have enough concerns of their own as they seek to end their bad run of form.

They have lost six of their last seven league games to drop to tenth, while by contrast, Sunday's visitors arrive on the back of a three-game winning streak in fifth place.

Cooper believes Leeds' fighting spirit is ready to come out.

He said: "When things aren't going for you and your backs are against the wall, you find out a lot about each other – and we certainly have. There are a lot of fighters in our team and we've got to bring that to the fore on Sunday. We're determined to put things right and we can't wait to go.

"We've got to look forward and Sunday's game is the biggest game of our season – for us and I think for them. We've got to put on a really good performance, a brave performance and a fighting performance, especially for the fans. They deserve that. We have been unlucky, but we've got to come through it."

Leeds have been boosted by news that striker Caleb Ekuban could be fit to return after a three-month lay-off after he broke a bone in his foot.

They are set to have a clean bill of health, with winger Stuart Dallas and left back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson likely to have overcome knocks.

Speaking to LUTV, Cooper admits it will be crucial to have the Leeds faithful behind them in what will be a big crowd.

He said: "The fans are with us all the time. I know there's a small minority who get disheartened but they are with us all the way and we appreciate that.

"Obviously there's a few links between both clubs, but we'll approach it as we do every game. I know it's got that extra bit of bite and we'll be playing on that as well.

"It's two big clubs with good fan bases. They're great games to play in and it'll be an unbelievable atmosphere – and we need that. I know it's a cliché sometimes, but every bit of singing, it helps us, and if we can do that from minute one to the last minute, we'll give a good account of ourselves."