Leeds United v Bristol City: YEP Jury give their verdicts

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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s home clash with Bristol City.

GARY NEWBOULD

Giuseppe Bellusci.

Giuseppe Bellusci.

After two successive defeats on the road United head back to LS11 for a rare Saturday 3pm kick-off when they entertain Bristol City at Elland Road.

Whereas the last-gasp defeat at Portman Road was tinged more with disappointment than controversy, the Hillsborough encounter was laced with both and the performances of both referee Anthony Taylor as well as Marco Silvestri and Giuseppe Bellusci could all be considered sub-standard.

Several commentators have speculated that the Whites’ season may well be over as far as play-off ambitions are concerned. However, those of us who have been around the block long enough with United, know that until we glean a further 18 points and attain the magical 50 then sleepless nights will persist. The difference between United and the final relegation place, which is currently occupied by the Robins, is eight points, so Saturday represents a great opportunity to extend that to 11 as well as extracting some revenge for the corresponding game at Ashton Gate earlier this season when two late goals cost the Whites two vital Championship points.

Apart from the customary goalkeeping and defensive frailties, United also conspired to miss a host of excellent chances in a dominant first half in Sheffield, so it would be positive to see top scorer Chris Wood return to action, as it would be great to see how much he could benefit from Mustafa Carayol’s distribution from out wide.

Given the recent dropped points I am extremely doubtful as to whether Massimo Cellino will invest further in the squad this season. The most important aspect for me will be ensuring that we don’t lose any more of the significant young, home-grown talent. When we do come to recruitment then top of the list for me is the signing of a quality goalkeeper who inspires confidence and commands both the box and his defence. Next to this in importance would be a similarly commanding centre-back or indeed a pair of centre-backs. Without such additions we will continue to allow teams to score far too easily against us as well as needing to score two or three goals a match to get the three points.

After the sacking of Steve Cotteril, former United man John Pemberton is in temporary charge of the visitors and, last Saturday, he managed to stop Middlesbrough’s promotion charge with a rare three points.

Let’s hope that was a mere high point and United register a very welcome three points of their own at Elland Road.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Bristol City 1.

KEITH INGHAM

There was once a time when you reflected weekly how your team performed. Those days seem a lifetime ago as events off the field continually overtake them nearly on a daily basis.

Sam Byram has completed his move to the Hammers. West Ham’s offer, according to Massimo Cellino, was lower than the one from Merseyside.

Then Sky decided, in their wisdom, to change the date of the Middlesbrough game to a Monday, less than four weeks from it. This left nearly 100 Scandinavian Whites and countless others with a massive problem as they had booked travel and accommodation. Surely this outrage needs to be investigated before the fixtures are released next season. It’s wrong and they know it, but both the TV company or the Football League seem not to care about the fans of this football club.

On the field, Leeds face Bristol City tomorrow, without a manager but with a highly commendable win against Middlesbrough under their belts. City spent big last summer but have not done as well as their owner expected. The last-gasp goal that denied Leeds a win at Ashton Gate seems a age ago but, after back-to-back defeats, this is a game Leeds need three points from.

Chris Wood has been missed greatly but still has only a 50/50 chance of returning.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Bristol City 1.

STEPHEN CLARK

Tomorrow is a nothing game in a nothing season. The sale of Sam Byram and the ongoing saga regarding televised fixtures has drained all the enthusiasm of watching this football club at the moment.

Leeds United have become a slightly up market Crewe Alexandra, producing excellent young talent for the benefit of bigger and better clubs, and we have to admit that at the moment there are many clubs that should not be mentioned in the same breath as us that have much brighter futures.

Until Leeds are sold or the current owner sees that serious investment and long term planning are required, as Leslie Silver did at the end of the 1980s, we are going to mired in the lower reaches of the Championship.

Bristol City are also in flux, with former United defender John Pemberton holding the fort until a permanent appointment is made. He has already had a galvanising effect, guiding the team to a surprise win over Middlesbrough.

The draw at Ashton Gate saw Leeds produce a display which characterised our season, dominating for long periods before capitulating because of mistakes. Tomorrow will be a case of seeing if we can cut out those errors to pick up the points. But frankly it will be of little consequence in the grand scheme of things.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Bristol City 1.

JAMES HARRISON

The season may seem over but a good run and it won’t take long to get back up there. We have improved and, hopefully, the lads will come out firing and give the fans something to cheer about. Sam Byram is a loss but it’s a chance for someone else.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Bristol City 1.

DAVID WATKINS

Once again we go into a Leeds game this weekend without much of a clue as to how it will pan out.

A couple of weeks ago, the visit of struggling Bristol City would have been seen as another opportunity to get some more points on the board and put pressure on the top six. Now, after poor defensive displays in two consecutive defeats and with the Robins fresh from a surprise win over title favourites Middlesbrough, Leeds will no doubt be nervously looking over their shoulders at the relegation places.

Recent history suggests we should still be favourites having won the only three games between the two sides at Elland Road since the turn of the new century. But City will no doubt be keen to show that temporary manager John Pemberton is worthy of the permanent job as they did in beating Boro and only narrowly losing out to WBA in the cup this week.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Bristol City 1.

MATTHEW EVANS

Morale is low around Leeds United this week as 2016 started in almost the worst possible way: two away defeats against play off contenders and, in Sam Byram, the sale of our most promising young talent this decade.

There are no real signs of anyone else coming in so it falls to the rest of the squad to pull some sort of pride out of yet another meandering season.

Anything but a win against Bristol and I fear it’s game over but for the FA Cup. Our season feels so pointless it makes you wonder why Sky TV seem so determined to televise most of it.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Bristol City 0.

Garry Monk.

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