Andy Lonergan reveals why he left Leeds for Middlesbrough after penalty heroics

Andy Lonergan has opened up on his excitement at joining Middlesbrough
Andy Lonergan has opened up on his excitement at joining Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough penalty hero Andy Lonergan has spoken of his excitement at moving to Teesside after he caught the eye on debut.

The stopper, who signed for Boro after leaving Leeds by mutual consent, was handed a debut in the Carabao Cup clash with Notts County.

And despite a testing first outing - which saw the stopper concede three times during an entertaining draw with the League Two side - Lonergan was soon to be the hero.

Two penalty saves from the 34-year-old helped Middlesbrough to progress to the second round of the competition and provided the 'keeper with a welcome confidence boost.

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With his debut now out of the way, Lonergan is targeting the number one spot - although admits that he faces stern competition from Boro's other two senior stoppers.

“The aim is to challenge for the number one jersey, of course it is," he admitted.

“I’ve got Dimi in front of me, I presume because he sits on the bench in the league, and I’ve got Randz (Randolph) in front of me too.

“He’s a fantastic keeper. In my opinion, along with Scott Carson, he is probably the best in the league.

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"So I know my role, but I’m also ambitious as well."

It was that ambition that saw Lonergan make the switch from Leeds to Teesside.

With no shortage of offers on the table following his amicable departure from Elland Road, the experienced goalkeeper was waiting for the right one to come along.

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And it eventually did - in the shape of Middlesbrough, with Lonergan revealing how a move to the Riverside Stadium peaked his interest.

“I ended my contract with Leeds by mutual consent because it just wasn’t working, and that’s fine, there were no hard feelings,” he added.

“In the first week I had a lot of offers, but there wasn’t one thing that got me excited.

"I wanted a challenge. I don’t just want to go through the motions – and then I got the call from Boro.

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"Another Championship club made me an offer, but when Boro came in, there was never a question of which one I was choosing.

“I’ve loved it here. It’s the easiest dressing room I’ve ever been in. They’re great lads – experienced lads – and there’s a lot of Brits too, which is rare these days.

“And the performances in the league have been brilliant. The Sheffield United game, I was watching from the stand thinking, ‘We’re blowing teams away’.”