Leeds United v Blackburn: YEP Jury give their verdicts

Lewis Cook battles with Bolton's Darren Pratley.

Lewis Cook battles with Bolton's Darren Pratley.

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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s home clash with Blackburn Rovers.

KEITH INGHAM

So seven months and up to present, three head coaches have seen Leeds United FC struggle and stumble like a punch-drunk boxer around the pitch at Elland Road. Yes, there have been moments of hope but on the whole it’s been a distressing pastime watching Leeds in Leeds 11.

Two draws under Steve Evans have hardly whetted the pallet and made fans think that the Scot could be the man to change the fortunes of the club. I said last week that I don’t expect his tenure to be long or beneficial.

I’ve met fans from all clubs in this area of West Yorkshire and not one has had a complimentary word on Evans. You don’t have to be liked in football, as Jose Mourinho has shown this season and in years past, but surely it helps.

His previous ways may not sit well with the current squad. Only time will tell, as I said, I could be totally wrong and if I am I’ll openly admit it.

Thursday-night football is next up, another example of TV dictating to the paying customers of football that they will do what they like on whatever day they feel fit to want to show games.

There must be a way to curtail this practice, if not many season-ticket holders may choose not to renew due to the constant rearranging of fixtures. It simply isn’t fair or right, television has ruled the roost for far too long.

Blackburn sit one place below Leeds in the Championship table, their latest result was a 1-0 defeat to local rivals Burnley. Whatever their position they still have Jordan Rhodes in their ranks, enough to worry the home fans as he usually does very well in games against Leeds.

Because of the day of the game this preview is early and as yet nobody new has arrived player wise into this under-performing Leeds squad. It is hoped that before Cardiff City there will be. I cannot see changes in the defence, but in midfield it must be attack minded. I’d like to see Casper Sloth given an outing; he scored a brace in Tuesday’s under-21 game.

Alongside him Lewis Cook has to start in the middle. If he recovers from illness, Jordan Botaka should start wide left with Stuart Dallas on the right wing.

Chris Wood has not been performing to the standard he set early in his fledgling Leeds career but will partner Mirco Antenucci up front. Leeds really need three points from this game and if they go out positive from minute one and get that elusive first goal, I hope the fans will be celebrating the first home win since March. About time too!

PS: Cellino will appeal his ban, shame that we usually do better when he’s supposed to be not around.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Blackburn Rovers 1.

STEPHEN CLARK

The soap opera that is Leeds United returns to our screens on Thursday night as Sky TV use their best drawing card to fill a gap in their schedules.

Most of the focus pre-match will be on the off-field turmoil which has once again engulfed the club. Not a day goes by without another tale of Cellino coming out of the woodwork and the drip, drip of stories about the mismanagement behind the scenes has now become a flood which must surely wash the Italian out of the club.

On the pitch, this is simply a must-win game for Leeds United. Steve Evans needs to turn around the home form if the Whites are not to be dragged into a relegation fight.

Blackburn offer a great opportunity to grab that elusive home victory. Anything less and Leeds look set for another winter of discontent.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Blackburn Rovers 1.

GARY NEWBOULD

Gary Bowyer’s men lie one point and one place below the Whites, however United have not seen victory at Elland Road for over seven months; it would be great if new coach Steve Evans could change that statistic in his first home game.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Blackburn Rovers 1.

MATTHEW EVANS

There was a time that Thursday night was UEFA Cup night. 40,000 people would pack inside Elland Road and the place would bounce with anticipation.

Contrast that with the arrival of Blackburn Rovers tonight. About half that number will watch in relative silence as United huff and puff their way to (maybe) finding a first home win in nearly eight months.

If that wasn’t depressing enough, the national newspapers have spent this week outlining the litany of problems that the club must still face up to before matters on the pitch and being messed around by Sky TV are our main concerns. It’s never boring being a Leeds fan but it’s not much fun either, is it?

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Blackburn Rovers 2.

DAVID WATKINS

Steve Evans said it is “a disgrace” Leeds have not won a home game in over seven months and I am hoping tonight’s game with Blackburn Rovers ends that horrible sequence.

Leeds’ first game under Evans, at Fulham, saw a much better spirit and performance but then the first half at Bolton seemed a backward step. In the second half we came to life.

A full 90 minute performance is the least we can ask of the side against Blackburn. Blackburn arrive just one place and one point below us but they have not won or scored a goal in any of their last three games.

We are due a clean sheet, having kept just one in 14 this season.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Blackburn Rovers 0.

JAMES HARRISON

The long awaited home win has surely got to come this week. The manager is buzzing for his first game at Elland Road and the players will bounce off that. Blackburn are in a similar position to us so the three points is massive for both teams.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Blackburn 1.

Garry Monk.

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