Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday: YEP jury predictions

Liam Bridcutt.
Liam Bridcutt.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on tomorrow’s Yorkshire derby at ELland Road.

GARY NEWBOULD

Garry Monk.

Garry Monk.

After a battling draw at Portman Road it’s back to LS11 for United with a lunchtime Yorkshire derby in front of the television cameras once again when they take on Sheffield Wednesday.

The Owls will still be smarting following their surprise home defeat against Brentford on Tuesday. However, this result was a rare blip for the visitors who arrive at Elland Road having won four on the bounce prior to their midweek reversal and they have lost only two of their last 10 fixtures. There certainly doesn’t appear to be any hangover for Carlos Carvalhal’s men following last season’s near miss with promotion and they are most definitely in the mix once again this time around.

It seems highly appropriate that there has been a fun-fair next to Elland Road recently as it is a perfect analogy to the Championship season and, in particular, the current form of the Whites.

It’s always very much a roller-coaster ride, with frequent collisions on the dodgems, whilst trying to win a prize on the coconut shy.

One can only imagine that any Whites’ visitors to the fun-fair would also be providing fortune tellers with a brisk business with the eternal question as to how the season will finally conclude?

After a mixed return from injury Liam Bridcutt made a tangible difference to the second half in Suffolk so I would expect him to start, however we must ensure that we offer sufficient support to striker Chris Wood, who so often appears to plough a lone furrow, and not overload the midfield with defensively-minded players, in a crucial home fixture that we urgently need to glean the maximum three points from.

I’d like to see ever-energetic Kemar Roofe given a starting place and would also expect Charlie Taylor to possibly occupy one of the substitute places provided his return to training has passed without incident.

It was a blessing that none of Pontus Jansson, Kyle Bartley or Luke Ayling received bookings at Ipswich and I’d expect all three to start alongside Gaetano Berardi, who has been very much an unsung hero, occupying several positions with great credit and consistency throughout the season thus far.

Despite the attentions of the television cameras and lunchtime kick-off the sold-out signs will once again be up at LS11 with the visitors backed by 2,000 so it’s very much time for us all to create a raucous atmosphere and hopefully drive United on to a vital three points.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Sheffield Wednesday 2.

KEITH INGHAM

Probably the biggest game of the season so far happens tomorrow in front a near-full house at Elland Road.

This is the ‘business end’ of the season and the Leeds squad needs to improve in the weeks and months to come if they are to achieve the goal of at least the play-offs.

Sheffield Wednesday have been active in both transfer windows this season with a lot of money paid out in transfer fees and players’ wages. It doesn’t always bring success as Aston Villa have shown, but Carlos Carvalhal’s squad is equipped to chase both Brighton and Newcastle to the end of the season. That said, Brentford turned the form book upside down when they beat them 2-1 at Hillsborough on Tuesday.

Since the Derby game, Leeds have struggled to get back to that impressive form. Three wins, three defeats and last week’s draw at Ipswich isn’t the greatest return but it’s not the worst and the gap from seventh place is six points.

Constantly changing the team is causing consistency problems. Garry Monk needs to settle with 11 players and, unless injuries or suspensions occur, stick with them.

I expect a nervy 90 minutes await the faithful inside the ‘Theatre of Ever Lasting Hope’ but, with a little luck, I foresee a narrow Leeds win.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1.

MATTHEW EVANS

Like the away trip to Cardiff, our winning visit to Hillsborough was an early-season indicator that we might do better than expected in the league this year.

Unlike Cardiff, Sheffield Wednesday have proved formidable in the months since and share with us a very realistic ambition of at least a play-off place when May rolls round.

Our recent form has been patchy but there are some clear trends. We can just about beat the poorer teams in the division and are generally a match for the better sides even if we have fallen short. Our real weakness is the no-nonsense, middle-of-the-road campaigners like Ipswich and Cardiff. I think we have the all-round game to beat Wednesday and a capacity crowd will be rewarded.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sheffield Wednesday 0.

STEPHEN CLARK

A full house will be in attendance at Elland Road tomorrow as Leeds United face Sheffield Wednesday in another high-profile Yorkshire derby, with the race for promotion entering its final stages.

Despite the nerves of recent weeks, Leeds remain handily placed in the top six, with a decent gap between themselves and the chasing pack. As Leeds have dropped points, so have those clubs in and around them, including Wednesday who lost at home to Brentford on Tuesday night.

A win for Leeds would calm the fears of some supporters, whilst those of us who are slightly more optimistic by nature will be happy as long as we avoid defeat. Fixtures against the Owls at Elland Road in recent years have always been tight affairs and this should be an interesting battle between a Wednesday side packed with attacking options and a Leeds team who don’t seem to know how to make their forward players click.

Leeds will set the agenda for the chasing pack by playing at lunchtime, and then all eyes will turn to the rest of the day’s fixtures. If Leeds collect a point I would be happy, a win would make us all feel a lot more comfortable.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1.

DAVID WATKINS

Sheffield Wednesday, sixth, come to Elland Road to play Leeds, fifth. Both have 58 points and both have plenty of incentive to grab the three points as they nervously look over their shoulders with Fulham leading the chasing pack.

The league records of the two Yorkshire giants are similar with just one goal giving Leeds that fifth place but Wednesday have the better recent form with four wins and one defeat in their last six although that loss surprisingly came this week at home to Brentford. Leeds have three wins and two defeats in their last six.

A Yorkshire derby often renders form irrelevant though and both sides will strain every sinew to provide their fans with those all-important bragging rights.

Leeds look like continuing through the rest of the season using the same tried and tested formula; in truth we have no plan B. But the worry is that sides have now sussed us out as Cardiff did two weeks ago. We need to be at our Derby-beating best but if we are, we should just edge this one.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1.

MIKE GILL

Since Christmas Huddersfield and Reading have been the most consistent performers below the automatic places. After winning four games in a row, Wednesday lost at home to Brentford. Such is the nature of the Championship. As long as there is the chance of a top-two place, United need to keep looking upwards or they will find themselves fighting to stay in the top six. Whether there’s a cushion between them and Norwich makes no odds. Tomorrow is a must-win game.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1.

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