Reading v Leeds United: YEP Jury predictions

Pontus Jansson.
Pontus Jansson.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s Championship clash at play-off rivals Reading.

KEITH INGHAM

Garry Monk.

Garry Monk.

Just like unwanted visits to relatives you no longer like, international breaks rate about the same.

Badly timed and without doubt games that most of the players on duty could well do without, flying around the world in Chris Wood’s case, to me makes little sense.

That said, the centre-forward has often said it is a honour to captain his national side, so for him the journeys are very worthwhile.

Last time Reading lined up against Leeds they had a greater percentage of play in the game but did very little with it; their manager Jaap Stam said post-game that he wouldn’t pay to watch Leeds, as he found them ‘negative’.

A poor loser came to my mind!

Since that 2-0 reverse, Reading have had a blip but continue to hang on to Leeds’ shirt tails in fifth place. Their last result before the break was a surprise 2-0 victory at promotion rivals Sheffield Wednesday. They’d won only one game in the previous five Championship matches, a 2-1 win over lowly Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The biggest question is whether Pontus Jansson returns to the starting line-up or will Liam Cooper retain his place after a great performance alongside Kyle Bartley? Luke Ayling and Kalvin Phillips are available after serving two-match suspensions.

It’s never best to try and second-guess Garry Monk so I will leave it to him to pick the team; he’s not done a bad job doing it this season!

Leeds’ record at Reading is pretty mixed. In the last six meetings it’s been one win, two defeats and three draws so it doesn’t make it a place to fear.

The hardest thing will probably be whether the effects of so much travelling will affect one player (Chris Wood) too much. He returned to Leeds early due to a knock he received in the first international he played, but the injury isn’t considered bad enough to keep him out against Reading.

Usually if the striker scores we don’t lose and, at this stage of the season, that’s enough.

It’s a hard one to call, but I don’t expect Leeds to lose any game they play at the moment with the defence looking so good, whoever starts.

I’d settle for a point, though a win would be superb and another step towards guaranteeing a top-six finish.

Prediction: Reading 1 Leeds United 1.

STEPHEN CLARK

Leeds head back into action after the international break with another blockbuster fixture as the promotion race enters the home straight.

The game against Reading at Elland Road earlier in the season was one of the strangest games I have ever watched, with Jaap Stam’s side seemingly more intent on playing keep ball than actually looking to score goals.

The fires have been stoked by some antagonistic words from Stam’s and some of his players this week about United’s style of play.

The criticism will probably have done Garry Monk’s team talk for him and hopefully his side will go out and ram those words back down Reading throats.

There is possibly a doubt over the fitness of Chris Wood, who returned early from international duty, but Leeds will be hoping he is available. If not, then United’s Plan B should be enough to pick up a point and cement our play-off position.

Prediction: Reading 1 Leeds United 1.

DAVID WATKINS

Another cup final, another live TV game and another daft Saturday evening kick-off means Leeds are in action again this weekend.

A visit to Reading is always daunting but this time the pressure is similar for both sides as fourth-placed Leeds take on the fifth-placed Royals with only eight games of the regular season to go.

A win for either side would be another huge step towards a play-off place for the victors while a draw probably does no harm to anyone. Leeds go into the game with marginally better recent form than the hosts having won three and drawn two in their last five, while Reading have two wins, a draw and two defeats. That probably counts for little though and I’d expect the usual tight Championship game with few chances for either side and the defences on top. I’m going for the Championship’s favourite score for this one; a 1-1 draw.

Prediction: Reading 1 Leeds United 1.

GARY NEWBOULD

Another Saturday evening tea-time fixture for United when they take on fellow promotion-chasing Reading down in Berkshire. Whilst the Whites won the reverse fixture at Elland Road, with only two points separating the sides it promises to be a tight affair as we move rapidly towards the business end of the season. On the back of three defeats in their last six games the Royals have been “full of chat” this week which will no doubt have provided plenty of “script” for Gary Monk’s team talk. Let’s hope Chris Wood has recovered from his knock on international duty to play in a game where I think the first goal will be absolutely crucial.

Prediction: Reading 1 Leeds United 1.

MATTHEW EVANS

Tomorrow is easily our biggest game in the month of April for more than half a decade. That’s how used we’ve all become to having nothing to play for at this time of year.

It appears our players have all put in good showings while on international duty and hopefully that has them fired up rather than tired and they can bring their form back into club football.

We have lost every single game following an international break this season so let’s hope tomorrow bucks the trend and we have Jaap Stam and his Reading charges incandescent at the final whistle that Leeds United have had the temerity to devalue their pure football playing style – again.

Prediction: Reading 0 Leeds United 1.

MIKE GILL

Two points separate these clubs in the Championship table. Both are currently in good form. The odds say that both teams should be destined for the play-offs. A draw is clearly the most likely result, exacerbated by Reading’s possession game which ‘entertained’ us as LS11 when Leeds won 2-0. If Chris Wood is back, I’m backing United to edge it if they can replicate their performance against Brighton.

Prediction: Reading 0 Leeds United 1.

Pontus Jansson. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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