Leeds United – Fans Jury Verdict: ‘Regular fixture’ will be toughtest of season yet

Injury doubt, Eunan O'Kane.

Injury doubt, Eunan O'Kane.

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AS Leeds United head to Brighton hoping to clinch a win that will take them to THIRD in the table, our YEP Jury casts its verdict .... do you agree with any of them?

GARY NEWBOULD

Some things just belong to each other and just trip off the tongue, like fish and chips, Laurel and Hardy and War and Peace. Now add to the list, Brighton away and midweek nights!

For the sixth time in succession the Whites and their long-suffering fans must make the long trip to Sussex on a midweek evening!

But one additional consistent factor will be that the visitors will be backed by a significant number of loyal hordes, despite the difficulties (both logistical and financial) that have once again been imposed upon them.

Following the excellent victory over Aston Villa, which lifted them up to fourth in the Championship, United’s promotion credentials will face a stern examination over the next two matches against second and third in an extremely tight and competitive division.

It’s also two months since Albion last suffered a league defeat and, under manager Chris Hughton, they currently look the most likely team to pose a serious threat to Newcastle United’s Championship aspirations.

It’s now over seven years since the Whites registered a victory in Sussex (at the old Withdean stadium) and, after last season’s humbling (also in front of the TV cameras) it’s high time United put in a performance to send a firm message around the rest of the division as the festive period approaches, as well as sending the loyal fans home in high spirits. Without doubt a good performance for the whole 90 minutes, plus injury time will be required to bring some points back to LS11.

The Seagulls have based their success this season so far on a watertight defence with a mere 11 goals conceded to date in their 19 league games so it will certainly be an evening to make the most of your opportunities, whilst keeping things tight at the back.

It would be no surprise to see a similar starting line-up to the one that defeated Villa with the possible inclusion of Eunan O’Kane, should he pass a fitness test.

Make no mistake, this will be one of the hardest fixtures of the season, against one of the best sides in the division who have been knocking on the door of the Premier League for some time.

However, the recent Liverpool away League Cup-tie provided further evidence that the very least that Garry Monk has achieved so far is to make United much more competitive, harder to beat and much more deserving of the consistently fantastic level of support.

Prediction: Brighton 1 Leeds United 1.

KEITH INGHAM

After last weekend’s superb win at home to Villa we travel to another side that, like ourselves, are in great form, though Brighton sit second, seven points better off than Leeds.

Again the long suffering fans are asked to travel a long distance for the benefit of Sky. There needs to be a rethink.

Chris Hughton is a good manager with a great squad at his disposal, they were beaten in the semi-finals of the play-offs by Sheffield Wednesday but are looking at the automatic positions to avoid that heartbreak again. Striker Glenn Murray is still getting the goals and is one to watch, supplying the ‘bullets’ is Anthony Knockaert who may be on many teams shopping list when the transfer market opens in January.

With Kemar Roofe finally getting his first goal in Leeds colours last weekend he will definitely keep his place behind Chris Wood. The only injury doubt is Eunan O’Kane. Liam Bridcutt has trained but is not near consideration. Kalvin Philips and Ronaldo Vieira have belied their young years and have regularly performed superbly, and on their form Liam Bridcutt might have to wait to reclaim his spot.

This more than Norwich, Newcastle and Aston Villa is, for me, the toughest test for Leeds and I’d take a draw.

Prediction: Brighton 2 Leeds United 2.

MIKE GILL

As we’ve often said, the next game looks tough. Brighton have a good manager, a strong side with seven more points and a vastly superior goal difference to Leeds. Until recently – a negative prediction, but Monk’s men can come home with a point.

Prediction: Brighton 2 Leeds United 2.

STEPHEN CLARK

It is no coincidence that Leeds United’s return to form on the field has coincided with a period of calmness from the Elland Road boardroom.

Let’s hope the latest issues don’t distract the team. Once again the Whites face a stiff task this weekend, and the last visit to the south coast to take on Brighton was the stuff of nightmares. This Leeds team are a different outfit from that which imploded in a defensive horror show last season. It is difficult to envisage a similar result, although avoiding defeat might still be a big ask. But should Leeds come up with the goods the gap will be further eroded, leaving us to dream of promotion. Personally I’d be delighted with a point and top-six consolidation.

Prediction: Brighton 2 Leeds United 2.

MATTHEW EVANS

We’ve come so far since the hammering at Brighton earlier this year but we can be almost certain that the XI Garry Monk puts out will show all of the fight that was missing back in February. We’ll probably fall short, but that’s no reason to panic.

Prediction: Brighton 1 Leeds United 0.

DAVID WATKINS

The challenges keep coming! We clamber over the barand the fixture computer puts it up another notch. The win over Villa suggested we’d reached a new level but now an in-form Brighton at the Amex, where we’ve never won, looks another Everest of a climb.

The Seagulls are unbeaten in 13 league games. That said, the form table for the last six tells you Leeds sit one place above them with 15 points to their 14.

The issue for Leeds will be finding a way through the Seagulls’ defence – they have nine clean sheets in that 13-game unbeaten run while Leeds have six in the same period. It’s tempting to suggest nil-nil, but we’re surprising folk, so I’m going for a moment of Roofe magic again.

Prediction: Brighton 0 Leeds United 1.

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