Leeds United v Wolverhampton Wanderers: YEP jury predictions

Adryan in action against Rotherham United. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Adryan in action against Rotherham United. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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The YEP jury look ahead to Leeds United’s clash with Wolverhampton Wandererers at Elland Road.

GARY NEWBOULD

After two successive games on the road, including a battling draw at Carrow Road on Tuesday evening, United return to the familiar surroundings of LS11 on Saturday afternoon, still looking to provide Darko Milanic with his first victory at the sixth time of asking when they entertain Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Following last season’s promotion, Wanderers have made an impressive start to this season’s campaign, currently lying fourth, having lost only two of their opening 13 fixtures and in Kenny Jackett they possess one of the most experienced managers at Championship level.

One of many lessons that the new ‘manager’ at Elland Road has learned quickly is the total unpredictable nature of the Championship as well as the extremely fine margins between victory, draw and defeat.

Better finishing and game management would without doubt have led to victories over Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United.

However on the other side of the coin the second half at the New York Stadium and the defending at Norwich for the home side’s goal also shows that there is still a great deal of improvement and consistency required from Milanic’s charges.

Although consistently unpredictable, the last few weeks have shown a number of positives with the continued good form of Marco Silvestri, the return of Sam Byram as well as the introduction of Adryan, who has made an impressive start to his United career. The Brazilian appears to possess the creativity that has been lacking for some time in the Whites’ midfield and, although due to his age he needs to be used sensibly, I would fully expect him to make his home debut on Saturday afternoon.

In a couple of games’ time we will be a third of the way through the season and I have yet to see anyone really take hold of the Championship. More than ever there does not appear to be a stand-out team of the nature of Leicester City from last season. So, for me, it is now all about a period of stability and trying to seize the opportunity of getting much higher up the Championship table prior to the Christmas period.

After the recent lack of victories, United are now closer to the relegation places (five points) than they are to the play-off positions (six points) and if we are to have a season of looking upwards, rather than downwards then a victory on Saturday afternoon is absolutely essential.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Wolves 2.

KEITH INGHAM

After the decent draw at Norwich City, Darko Milanic is still without a win since he arrived and will hope this weekend’s home game with Wolverhampton Wanderers can provide it.

The only trouble is that the Midlands club is in fine form, their latest fixture bringing a 2-0 win over well-placed Middlesborough on Tuesday. Since relegation to Division One they have achieved promotion and are considered one of the teams fancied to be challenging for a place in the Premiership. They sit fourth in the Championship with an impressive 23 points.

‘Sully’ Doukara, who scored Leeds’ equaliser at Norwich, is suspended so either Billy Sharp or forgotten man Steve Morison will come in. Whether Massimo Cellino allows Stephen Warnock to reclaim his place in the team is up for debate, though his replacement Berardi doesn’t convince this Leeds fan that he’s a decent right-back never mind the left-back position!

Maybe Cellino knows something we don’t.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Wolves 1.

JONATHAN FORD

A poor defeat followed by a good point and now a solid team at home where you would expect to win. But Wolves are organised and are playing with no fear. I still think we are going to win the game, but I’d like to see Billy Sharp in – given time he will score goals.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Wolves 1.

MATTHEW EVANS

United’s performance on Tuesday night was barely worth a point in truth as Marco Silvestri again spared the team’s blushes.

All-out defence is fine as long as it’s not just the keeper doing all the work. For a strategy that is so reliant on ball retention we gave it away needlessly. The much-hyped Adryan even played a peach of a ball that split our own defence.

After a hard day’s travel and standing in the biting cold at Carrow Road it was infuriating to watch a laboured United barely make it out of their own half. Wolves pose another difficult challenge and improvement is vital. Another score draw for Darko.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Wolves 2.

JAMES HARRISON

Billy Sharp should get the nod on Saturday if fit with Souleymane Doukara suspended. I am confident that we will produce a good performance and come away with all three points, but it will be a big test against a side that has been great all year.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Wolves 0.

STEPHEN CLARK

A point at Norwich would have been accepted by most Leeds fans before the game on Tuesday night, so after a difficult evening it was gratefully accepted.

Despite not being in the game in the first half, a change in shape by Darko Milanic saw Leeds gain a foothold and snatch a draw. It will be interesting to see if Leeds maintain the 4-5-1 which they reverted to at Carrow Road or if they will return to the diamond formation which has become the norm. With Soulaymane Doukara suspended, Leeds will be forced into a change but the question is whether it will be a like for like change, or will the coach tinker with the system?

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Wolves 0.

Garry Monk

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