Leeds United v Bolton: YEP Jury give their verdicts

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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s home clash with Bolton Wanderers.

MATTHEW EVANS

Eoghan Stokes.

Eoghan Stokes.

Something has to change at Leeds United and most of us are agreed that the change needs to be in the boardroom. The same boardroom where managers are undermined, star players are sold and contract negotiations never seem to take place.

Being a United fan in 2016 is a never ending loop of shame and humiliation and some of our supporters are so used to it by now that, to them, it seems irrelevant, almost reasonable. I can assure them it isn’t.

The image of a red-faced Steve Evans, not a meek fellow by any measure, skulking past local reporters to board the team coach without having to address a 4-0 defeat at Brighton would be hilarious if it wasn’t so pitiful. It appears he was barred from his post-match duties by Massimo Cellino who himself, in a beautiful turn of hypocrisy, undertook a bizarre interview on Sky TV the following day.

Not hypocritical because he was doing what he’d told the manager not to; not even because of his refusal to engage with the Yorkshire Evening Post or BBC Radio Leeds where the vast majority of United’s fans get their news.

Hypocritical because he turned to Sky TV, the same broadcaster responsible for the season’s longest away trip, the abomination we had just travelled for, being on a Monday night and with whom he has been engaging in a high-profile dispute for much of the season.

Later in the week it became clear that Steve Evans’ insistence that contract talks are ongoing with the likes of Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook isn’t entirely accurate. If this type of stuff were a one-off you could maybe find forgiveness, but at Elland Road these revelations are almost daily.

On the pitch we are a mess. We are repeatedly putting out a team made up almost exclusively of central defenders and defensive midfielders. We sold Sam Byram, a prized asset, for below market value and we’ve won only one league game since.

The calculation was that we were safe so let’s cash in and coast to the end of the season. It was a risk and, if through incompetence we get dragged into the relegation dogfight, it will have been a very costly one.

I would love to spend my time debating the merits of different formations, the right defensive partnership or which in-form striker should play against Bolton, but that stuff’s not even on the radar with the shambles that Cellino proudly presides over off the pitch.

We really should have enough to get a win against a very poor Bolton but Lord help us all if we don’t.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Bolton Wanderers 0.

KEITH INGHAM

So Steve Evans has kept his job, just! The Scot should feel very lucky because one win in 11 isn’t good enough and Monday’s collapse at Brighton was, for many fans, the last straw!

Tomorrow, Leeds face Bolton Wanderers, a team that looked certainties for the drop but with new owners, fronted by ex-Wanderer Dean Holdsworth, they may now have the impetus to climb the table and are only 13 points behind Leeds. Believe me, a couple of wins could give them the confidence they need to get out of the bottom three.

Leeds, on the other hand, don’t look like they could buy a win. Dispirited and lacking in confidence, the annual battle to stay up looks on the cards. Some blame must be pointed in Evans’ direction as a few of the squad players haven’t been given any chance to prove themselves whilst others, who generally perform poorly, stay in the team. It’s time for him to shut up and get on with working with what he has, not what he wants but can’t have.

My misgivings from the start of his tenure, I’m afraid, have come true.

The last home win was way back in January, a nervy one-nil victory over Bristol City.

And, unless the players show some ‘bottle’ and fight, tomorrow may be another one of those days.

It’s time to earn your overpaid wages you lot!

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Bolton Wanderers 0.

DAVID WATKINS

The pressure is well and truly on for the visit of Bolton; lose this one and I doubt Massimo Cellino will be able to restrain himself from dispensing with the services of Steve Evans.

Since Bolton came down from the Premier League, Leeds have won two of the three home games against the Trotters, but the one defeat was that 5-1 thrashing a couple of seasons ago. Another one of those and all hell will break out. We don’t have too many options; it would be a risk to put in all youngsters although, if it was me, I might gamble on Eoghan Stokes up front as neither Antenucci nor Doukara are exactly on fire. I’d be surprised to see Sol Bamba turn out after his howler at the Amex.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Bolton Wanderers 0.

GARY NEWBOULD

Should the Whites not glean three points against the visitors who are one off the bottom of the Championship, it may well be all over for coach Steve Evans. This is simply a ‘must-win’ or we’re well and truly entrenched in a relegation battle.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Bolton Wanderers 1.

STEPHEN CLARK

I won’t be there tomorrow. I had already made plans, but even if I was in Leeds I probably wouldn’t be attending the game against Bolton Wanderers.

Although the game has taken on a little more significance given Monday’s capitulation against Brighton, the long-term battle to remove Massimo Cellino from control of the club is vastly more important than any three points ever will be.

I understand those that feel we should back the team no matter what, but I will be more interested in the #MassimoTimeToGo group. On the field, it is difficult to predict what Steve Evans will do, and I’m of the view that he doesn’t really know what he’s doing anyway.

Prediction: Leeds United 0 Bolton Wanderers 0.

JAMES HARRISON

Tomorrow is a chance to put the last week behind us with a good performance against a struggling Bolton. It’ll be interesting to see what Steve Evans does – lots of changes or stick with the same side to put their wrongs right. It’ll be close.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Bolton Wanderers 0.

Leeds United goalscorer, Samuel Saiz. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Big-match verdict: Reds given a ‘bloody’ nose by Whites with 3-0 win at Ashton Gate