LEEDS UNITED will attempt their latest attempt to secure FA Cup glory at Wembley on Monday night when they travel to Cambridge United.
As usual, we’ve asked our Fans’ Panel to give their pre-match verdict. See if you agree with their thoughts below ...
The FA Cup has again seen some disinterest from fans in some of the fixtures this weekend with crowds of only six and seven thousand turning up at places like Hull and QPR to see games populated with fringe players.
There will be something short of only 10,000 at the Cambs Glass Stadium in Cambridge on Monday night too; the difference is that the place will be full for the visit of Leeds with the usual sell-out following from Leeds and packed home sections.
And remember, this game is being shown live on TV. The pull of Leeds is inescapable; ask Andrea Radrizzani!
For Leeds, Garry Monk has the usual conundrum of how to strike a balance between a side strong enough to overcome a decent League Two outfit and yet one that allows some of the regular first XI players to have a break as seems the need these days.
He has already announced that there will be changes so expect something similar to the teams he picked for EFL Cup campaign.
That went well, of course, although we only squeaked through a penalty shoot-out at Fleetwood and by a single goal at Luton. Cambridge will be a tough game for a second-string Leeds XI.
The Us sit handily placed in the League Two table just outside the play-off places and will be expected to field their strongest side. They do have injuries though and the dangerous Barry Corr will be missing along with Medy Elito.
Luke Berry will be the main man to watch by the Leeds defence; he has 15 goals this season already, including four in the FA Cup and no one who is still in it has more than that. Manager and former Leeds man Shaun Derry will surely have is side fired up and they are in great form having failed to win only one of their last seven league games.
They score boatloads of goals too.
It is important that the Leeds momentum is maintained though and even a weakened Leeds side ought to have enough guile to overcome a League Two side. I am sure everyone will want Mr Radrizzani to get off to a winning start too and he will know the media worth of a good cup run!
Prediction: Cambridge United 1 Leeds United 2.
Well, it’d been rumoured for a number of months, but Massimo Cellino has sold 50 per cent of Leeds United to Andrea Radrizzani who now becomes joint owner of the club with an option to buy it outright in June.
The fee paid has not been made public and the new part-owner has implied he will support Garry Monk in the coming transfer window.
All good news!
Leeds take a break from the Championship on Monday; an FA Cup-tie at Cambridge United is next on the agenda. The League Two side is managed by ex-Leeds midfielder Shaun Derry and are currently seventh place in the division, just outside the play-off places.
Their recent form is pretty impressive too – unbeaten in five, four of them wins.
With Derby County only a few days after the cup-tie, Monk is expected to rest a few players and give others in the squad a chance to shine. Marco Silvestri, Tyler Denton, Liam Cooper, Matt Grimes, Marcus Antonsson amongst others may be included to give them that opportunity.
I’m pretty sure Mr Derry will have his team well prepared and up for this televised potential ‘banana skin’.
That said, there is enough quality in the Leeds squad to beat their lower-league opponents.
Prediction: Cambridge United 1 Leeds United 3.
Predicting this result is like going ‘blind’ in three card brag! With the Derby game coming up there are bound to be changes. But this doesn’t mean Leeds will be uncompetitive. Quite the opposite with this side. In card terms I’ll raise you 1-0.
Prediction: Cambridge United 0 Leeds United 1
There’s a feeling that Monday night’s FA Cup game with Cambridge United is a bit of a distraction from a league programme that has been getting more and more exciting every week for Leeds United.
It’s not helped by the TV companies moving both of our next two games to week nights and so reducing the break between them. But the cup is still a great pull and a competition worth going for.
The League Cup run spurred us on early in the season and you only need to get through a few rounds now before it gets interesting.
I expect we’ll put out a ‘weaker’ side than we’ve been used to but one that’ll get the job done. Then it’s back to business on Friday.
Prediction: Cambridge United 0 Leeds United 2
Leeds United should approach the cup-tie at Cambridge with a degree of caution as the home side – managed by former Whites captain Shaun Derry – have won six of their last seven fixtures and last tasted defeat in November.
Prediction: Cambridge United 1 Leeds United 3
The FA Cup provides a distraction from the promotion push this week as Leeds face a tie away at Cambridge United.
Whether BT Sport see this as a potential shock or just a chance to boost their viewing figures is a moot point; the move to play the game on Monday night once again merely inconveniences the travelling fans. I expect Garry Monk to tinker with the line-up but we should still have to squad to see us into the next round. I believe we should aim to win every competition we enter, but I can see that the League campaign is much more important in the long run. However, I would like to see us get through this tie and hopefully grab a bigger name in the next round.
Prediction: Cambridge United 1 Leeds United 3
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