Leeds United v QPR: YEP Jury predictions

Pablo Hernandez.
Pablo Hernandez.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s home game with QPR.

MIKE GILL

Fulham's Matt Smith.

Fulham's Matt Smith.


Last August, on a hot humid day in Shepherd’s Bush, Garry Monk’s fledgling side made its first competitive appearance.

Of the starting line-up, only Toumani Diagouraga, Sol Bamba and Ashley Grimes would not feature regularly in the games to come. The less-than-impressive performance was compounded by an awful error from Rob Green which gave Rangers their opening goal and set the tone of the match.

On the terraces, the usual early-season anticipation turned to frustration and the team were booed off at the end of the match.

After the game Monk expressed his frustration and asked for patience, a familiar plea and one that had fallen on deaf ears for his predecessors.

Rob Green.

Rob Green.

How times have changed. Monk has stuck to his guns with a steely determination, augmenting the side with the additions of Pablo Hernandez, Luke Ayling and Pontus Jansson and crafting an outfit which is making a serious promotion challenge.

On Tuesday night at Fulham, Green joined Gaetano Berardi, Jansson, Kyle Bartley and Charlie Taylor in possibly the best defensive performance this season. Never mind whether a draw was a fair result or not, United were desperately unlucky not to return home with the three points. As we all know a sound defensive display is now something that we have come to demand.

What can we expect against Queens Park Rangers then?

Well, any side that has conceded an injury-time equaliser after a draining match like this one has to pick itself up.

However, with Monk’s motivational powers I am confident that they will bounce back.

QPR have started March well, seeing off Barnsley on Tuesday and Cardiff last weekend. They are, however, unpredictable under Ian Holloway and this fixture is a tough one to call. Former Elland Road favourite Matt Smith has scored twice since joining Rangers but has yet to find the form which made him a favourite during his short stay at Leeds. We are all hoping that this will be a more open game than against Fulham with Hernandez back not just for his flair but also for set-pieces. The few corners that we did have at Craven Cottage were all squandered.

Like United, Rangers don’t draw too often and so I have to predict a win.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Queens Park Rangers 1.

KEITH INGHAM

Outplayed for the majority of the game by a good Fulham team and with a referee playing ‘next goal’, the last-minute injury-time leveller by Tom Cairney still seemed very harsh on another superb rearguard display by Leeds.

Eight points, mind you, is still the gap with 10 games to play and is an impressive advantage to hold over play-off rivals.

Queens Park Rangers are the next team to visit ‘Fortress Elland Road’. The ‘Hoops’ have improved and have won four out of five games, and with Ian Holloway as manager Leeds should be wary. The squad is much changed from the team that beat Leeds 3-0 on the first day of the season.

Luke Ayling was absent from the game at Fulham due to becoming a father for the first time and Chris Wood was missing because of a calf strain. But both should return at the weekend. Alfonso Pedraza and Hadi Sacko were the options on the left and right of the front midfield three. The former offered quite a bit but the latter offered not much and seems to be losing the support of some of the fans. Barrow, a substitute for him, offered little when coming on.

I’d opt for Stuart Dallas on the right with the Spaniard on the left, and Pablo Hernandez could come in for Kemar Roofe in the no10 role.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Queens Park Rangers 0.

DAVID WATKINS

Once we get over the disappointment of that last kick equaliser and the fact it was that perennial pain, former Leeds academy lad, “He’s too small to play for Leeds” Tom Cairney that got it, I guess we all recognise that a point at Fulham was a good point particularly as it left the gap back to them the same.

The key now is to take advantage by beating QPR and then having a look at the score coming in from St James’ Park where Fulham meet Newcastle; it should be very good news!

QPR will be just as tough as any other Championship side though, tougher when we add in the nerves of being so close to the play-offs. We had the misfortune to play QPR in the reverse fixture when we were still Jansson, Ayling, Bridcutt and Hernandez-less but things for both sides are different now and the way football throws up coincidence and symmetry I won’t be surprised if we beat them 3-0. After all, remember how Chris Wood stunned Fulham deep into injury time back in August?

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Queens Park Rangers 0.

GARY NEWBOULD

After conceding late into injury time, but still gaining a very important point in midweek, it’s back to LS11 on tomorrow at 3pm (for a change) as United take on Queens Park Rangers. The visitors currently sit in mid-table, very much a position we’ve made our own over the last few years. Don’t be fooled into thinking this will be a regulation three points because “The O’s”, now once again under the stewardship of Ian Holloway have won four of their last five matches and will relish the opportunity to cause a surprise in front of another packed house at Elland Road. Chris Wood and Luke Ayling will be back in the starting line-up which should feature more attacking intent in a match which three points is an absolute must.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Queens Park Rangers 1.

STEPHEN CLARK

Four points from two away games in the last week is a superb return for Leeds United as they seek to maintain their place in the top six and a play-off place. However all that hard work will be for nothing if we can’t pick up three points at Elland Road against QPR tomorrow.

Had we held on for another 30 seconds or so at Craven Cottage on Tuesday night, then we may have had a little bit of breathing room. But Tom Cairney’s last-gasp equaliser for Fulham keeps them with a sniff of a chance, and Leeds still with work to do to secure that play-off berth.

QPR have picked up in recent weeks, but Leeds need to win these sort of games to ensure that there isn’t a nervous few weeks to come. I’ve been supremely confident in recent weeks and I’m not going to let the wobbles set in just yet.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Queens Park Rangers 0.

MATTHEW EVANS

Everyone around the club seems to be pretty philosophical about Tuesday night’s point after we faced a complete onslaught from Fulham and came away with a very creditable draw.

Another of our trips to London this season, Loftus Road on the opening day, had no signs whatsoever that we could be sitting in the play-offs by the time the reverse fixture rolled round. QPR looked great that day and you’d have been a fool not to put your money on them finishing above us.

Our defensive display at Craven Cottage shows how far we’ve come since then and we should take this opportunity to deliver some pay back for that opening day defeat.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Queens Park Rangers 0.

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