The Leeds United jury give their views on United’s Sky Bet Championship trip to Reading on Sunday.
Leeds travel to Reading on Sunday in good heart, knowing only a late defensive lapse prevented them picking up all three points against fancied Burnley.
YEP deadlines mean this piece is written before we know the team and result from Doncaster but my guess is the side Uwe Rösler will pick for Reading will not be too different from last Saturday, injuries permitting, although that magical strike by Mirco Antenucci will not have done his chances of a start any harm. Reading have two extra days to recover, having played their Capital One Cup game at Colchester on Tuesday night, albeit that went to extra time with the Royals just shading it.
Reading began their Championship campaign with a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham but were only denied a point by City keeper Tomasz Kuszczak saving a last-minute penalty.
The Royals were also denied a goal when a powerful Aaron Tshibola effort was ruled not to have crossed the line when it crashed down off the crossbar, leaving manager Steve Clarke fuming and demanding goal-line technology for all four divisions as soon as possible!
They also bossed the possession and had four times as many shots (20) as the home side so don’t write them off! They just about scraped through at Colchester 1-0 with only three outfield changes to the side that played at Birmingham.
Leeds’ previous visit to Reading, in February, saw the Whites win 2-0 thanks to goals from Luke Murphy and Sam Byram.
That win came in the middle of our best spell of the season as we lost just one in eight to climb away from the bottom of the table.
Our full record away at Reading though is mixed, having won three, lost three and drawn three in nine visits and the win in February was our first ever at the Madejski in six attempts.
The Royals are not packed full of star names but look out for striker Simon Cox, dangerous midfielder Hal Robson-Kanu and Nick Blackman who headed the Royals’ goal at St Andrews. Garath McCleary, Pavel Pogrebnyak and winger Tariqe Fosu are all injury doubts.
Expect another close encounter of the Championship kind – five of the 12 games last weekend ended all-square.
Prediction: Reading 2 Leeds United 2.
Last Saturday’s draw with Burnley gave the fans cause for optimism but two consecutive away games against Reading and Bristol City on the road will test this.
Reading last season had a poor season finishing 19th in the Championship.
Many tipsters though still fancy the club to be challenging for a top 10 place this season.
They have recruited well, with Jonathan Bond, Orlando Sa, Stephen Quinn and Paul McShane plus a number of youngsters, notably Michael Hector coming through into the first team and with Steve Clarke at the helm have a manager with a decent CV. He was heavily linked with the Leeds head coach position last season.
I’d be surprised if there will be many changes on Sunday, if any, from the starting 11 against Burnley.
Mirco Antenucci may have to be content with a place on the bench even after his fantastic goal that gave Leeds the lead. Luke Murphy may join him there after much needed minutes in an Under-21 game versus Ipswich Town.
Three games in a week will be testing, but I’ll be disappointed with anything less than five points from them, starting with one on Sunday. We could even claim three if we show the same desire as we did there in the fixture last year.
Prediction: Reading 1 Leeds United 2.
The old song Elland Road Baht ,at states that we should “get two at home and one away”, in terms of points each week. Fast forward from its release in 1964, the old adage remains the same. Win at home, draw away and you won’t be far away come the end of the season.
Of course it’s not that simple and Leeds have already fallen behind the run rate with Saturday’s draw against Burnley. However they have chance to get back on par as they visit the Madejski.
The match is the meat in the sandwich of three away games that Uwe Rosler’s men face in seven days and the hosts have had two extra days to prepare.
Leeds picked up three points on their last visit, but I feel the extra time will benefit Reading.
Prediction: Reading 1 Leeds United 0.
United head to the Madejski for a Sunday afternoon appointment against Steve Clarke’s Reading. This will be a stern test of Uwe Rosler’s charges, however I’m expecting a share of the spoils from a right royal encounter.
Prediction: Reading 1 Leeds United 1.
The debuts of Chris Wood, Tom Adeyemi and Stuart Dallas pointed to a promising future for United last week but one that needs the refinements of more games together.
In particular the combination of Sam Byram’s aerial strength up front – who would have thought we’d have said that when he was a teenage right-back? – and Chris Wood’s movement looked like it only needed a small amount of time to bear fruit. The strong performance against Burnley means that United fans will travel to Reading full of optimism and Uwe Rosler has assembled a team that you imagine could threaten anyone in the Championship. It’s not quite there yet though, so I think a draw is on the cards.
Prediction: Leeds United 1 Reading 1.
Reading away last season was one of the best away performances of the campaign.
I think it is a real good chance for us to put our first three points on the board. Rosler won’t sit back, we’ll attack from the off and I can see us winning by two or three goals.
Prediction: Reading 1 Leeds United 3.