Barnsley v Leeds United: YEP Jury predictions

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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s Championship clash at Barnsley.

GARY NEWBOULD

Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper.

Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper.

After one of the most complete performances over the last few years United take the short trip to South Yorkshire tomorrow evening for a Yorkshire derby against Barnsley at Oakwell.

Just like the encounter against the Rams, the Whites are once again in front of the television cameras and two further fixtures changes announced in the week are further evidence that United are once again considered a draw as far as the viewing public are considered.

Despite several rave reviews, subsequent to last Friday night’s impressive display coach Garry Monk has once again kept things extremely level-headed and is clearly stating the ‘one-game-at-a-time’ mantra which appears entirely sensible given we are still in January and there are some 20 games to go in the most competitive of leagues.

Indeed a friend of mine (a fellow-Whites supporter) further emphasised this fact when he texted me in the week saying “just two more points needed to avoid relegation”!

Such caution is fully justified as the Reds have a healthy record against the Whites having suffered only three defeats in the last eleven encounters between the sides, although United did secure the three points earlier this season.

Barnsley themselves have had a reasonable season following last year’s promotion and lie some seven places and 10 points adrift of United. The Whites will once again be without the services of Pontus Jansson, who completed his final game of his two-game suspension so we can once again expect Luke Ayling to deputise at centre-back and Lewie Coyle to once again make the starting line-up.

Liam Cooper and Eunan O’Kane may be available for selection. However, given the display against Derby the substitutes’ bench is a more likely option for the duo.

On my many trips to Oakwell it appears to have it’s own ‘micro climate’ and is ‘set in time’, being normally wet and cold, whether it’s June or January and, on one legendary occasion, a dog actually ran under my seat in the main stand during an FA Cup tie.

With fellow promotion contenders Brighton playing Sheffield Wednesday and Derby playing Reading, this is another great chance for United to put further breathing space between themselves and the chasing pack, whilst still keeping in the rearview mirrors of Newcastle and Brighton.

The very last thing the significant travelling number of loyal hordes will want is an ‘after-the-Lord-Mayor’s-show’ performance. Hopefully coach Garry Monk’s level-headed approach will pay dividends to secure another very welcome three points for United.

Prediction: Barnsley 2 Leeds United 3.

KEITH INGHAM

Still no more additions to the squad. Various players have been mentioned but we await the next to follow Pablo Hernandez in this January transfer window.

Another televised Yorkshire derby awaits tomorrow teatime, Oakwell the venue. Barnsley sit just outside the top six and have had some notable victories on their return to the second tier. That said, it was strange they off-loaded main goal threat Sam Winnall to Sheffield Wednesday. The 500k spent on the striker seems a bargain, but they still look an organised side and their cup defeat to Blackpool on Monday was probably only a blip; the Lancashire side beat their hosts with a last-minute, extra-time goal.

Garry Monk will be without Pontus Jansson (suspended), and Charlie Taylor, while Liam Cooper remains a doubt. Even with a fully fit squad it would be hard to change the team that beat Derby. On watching it again, it’s still one of the best performances I’ve witnessed in the Theatre of Eternal Hope in recent years.

We’ve had some poor results on our recent journeys to Oakwell. The 1-0 victory in 2014 was our first since 1997. If we start the game strongly, I can see another Leeds win to keep our impressive start to a year going. It really is ‘good to be Leeds’ at the present time.

Prediction: Barnsley 1 Leeds United 2.

DAVID WATKINS

A 2-1 win at Cambridge and the fact that our game with Derby was moved forward to Friday night for TV means that for once we get more recovery time than the opposition. A full strength Barnsley endured an extra-time defeat to lowly League Two Blackpool on Tuesday night as well as an injury to regular centre-back Marc Roberts; most things are going our way this season!

The Tykes sit 10th in the Championship, seven places and 10 points below Leeds and have had mixed results recently including defeats at Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday, wins at Forest, Cardiff and home to Blackburn and a 2-2 home draw with Birmingham in their last six.

If Leeds can replicate the performance from last Friday then a win at Oakwell will be a formality but we cannot expect to play like that every game and as we’ve learned over the years, a Yorkshire derby can spur even the most average side to excel. Nonetheless, if we are going up this season then this is the sort of game we’ll win comfortably.

Prediction: Barnsley 0 Leeds United 2.

STEPHEN CLARK

Another game, another TV apperance as Leeds travel to Barnsley tomorrow evening for a Yorkshire derby.

Last week it was the Whites that set the agenda for the promotion contenders, with the win over Derby on Friday night. This week they will start the game knowing how their result will leave them in the promotion race. Will they have a chance to cut the gap on the top two or will they be consolidating a place in the top six?

Garry Monk will of course just be expecting his side to go out and collect another three points, taking each game as it comes and not worrying about other teams. Trips to Oakwell have not been pleasant ones in recent times, but rarely can Leeds have travelled down the M1 with such confidence. With almost a full squad to choose from, and with Barnsley losing quality from their squad in the transfer window, it’s hard to look past another win for the travelling fans to celebrate.

Prediction: Barnsley 0 Leeds United 2.

MATTHEW EVANS

Games can’t come quickly enough at the moment given the run we are on and finally having something to seriously play for after the Christmas break.

Everyone else will have played by the time we run out at Oakwell and we’ll have a clear idea of the opportunity in front of us especially after Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday face each other the night.

Barnsley had a game midweek and, if they’re not still tired physically, they’ll surely still have the mental scars of their first team succumbing to a last-minute winner for League Two Blackpool after two hours of play. It’s hard to predict anything other than a Leeds win.

Prediction: Barnsley 1 Leeds United 2.

MIKE GILL

Barnsley provide us with a chance of our first double. The Tykes are enjoying a very good season after gaining promotion. Last October Leeds won at Elland Road in a game that was closer than it should have been. However you feel that the Whites have grown in stature and confidence since then and should edge a win in this televised game.

Prediction: Barnsley 1 Leeds United 2.

Kalvin Phillips

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