The YEP jury make their predications ahead of Leeds United’s clash with Wolves at Molineux.
Oh how the mood has altered since these two sides met each other on the opening day of the Championship season back in August.
With rumours of Leeds being taken over by billionaire Arab owners, and with the club promising a “new start” with Neil Warnock having assembled his own squad, United entered the season in optimistic mood.
However fast forward six months and Leeds, despite being taken over are still lacking the type of investment most fans envisaged and on the field the club have made very little strides in improving on last season’s dismal showing.
Although Leeds won on that opening day against a side expected to be one of the favourites to make an instant return to the Premier League, there were plenty of signs that on the playing side there were problems to overcome.
Luciano Becchio’s superb winning goal was one of very few incisive moves of the match, and as I said at the time, when the best pass of the game comes from the goalkeeper, you know you are in trouble.
From that day one win, Leeds have struggled to create chances, and but for the goals of the talismanic Becchio, would be staring down the barrel of a relegation battle, rather than still straining to catch a glimpse of the play-off places.
Now with Becchio’s departure, Leeds are looking for another “new start” as the relative influx of new faces compared to previous January transfer windows get set for their first taste of action for United. The two Steves, Morison and Warnock are set to make their debuts for Neil Warnock’s side at Molineux tomorrow. While it is easy to see where Morison will fit into the side, the introduction of Warnock looks set to hamper Aidy White’s rehabilitation as the club’s left-back.
I would personally like to see us go with a 4-1-3-2 formation with Michael Brown sitting in front of the back four, with Ross Barkley, David Norris and Paul Green as a three further forward.
Hopefully, Brown sitting back will allow a degree of freedom to the full-backs to supplement the midfield when going forward and try to supply some much needed width. With Morison set to take one of the striking roles and Ross McCormack a doubt after pulling out of the Scotland squad, I’d prefer to see Habib Habibou given a start in place of El-Hadji Diouf who has been off the pace, both literally and metaphorically speaking in recent weeks.
Prediction: Wolves 1 Leeds United 0.
After our impressive home run of victories ended last weekend, Leeds United face a “make-or-break” next couple of games if they are to have a realistic chance of claiming a top six place.
There is still a lot of football to be played but their terrible away form has to improve if this is to happen, starting with a much-needed three points at Wolves tomorrow.
The loan window opened today so you may well see the winger who we badly need already on show at Molineux tomorrow.
Ryan Hall does not seem to be ready to offer that in the manager’s opinion.
The back four might see Stephen Warnock given his debut after his deadline-day move and I would like to see Ross Barkley play alongside Michael Tonge and Paul Green.
Luke Varney should play on the left with – if fit – Ross McCormack and new signing Steve Morison should be given his first outing in the number nine shirt up front.
El-Hadji Diouf, Aidan White, David Norris, Jason Pearce and Hall should be on the bench with back-up goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown.
As I’ve said it’s a must-win game and I’m confident the Whites have got the players to pull it off.
Fingers crossed for tomorrow.
Prediction: Wolves 1 Leeds United 2.
TRIPS to Wolves have never been lucky for Leeds going right back to the Revie era.
The games are drifting away so if the club harbours any hopes of the top six this is a must-win encounter. It would be nice to see some of the new players as well as Tonge back.
PREDICTION: Wolves 1 Leeds United 1.
The Whites head to the Black Country tomorrow afternoon when they take on Wolverhampton Wanderers.
After last season’s relgation from the Premier League the home side now find themselves fully immersed in a Championship relegation battle and even the recent arrival of Dean Saunders has not managed to turn things around with Wolves not having registered a league victory since just before Christmas.
But memories of Barnsley away leave no room for complacency and United’s poor away record has not seen them taste victory on the road since December 1. A win is a must for the Whites but I predict a draw.
PREDICTION: Wolves 2 Leeds United 2.
After the disappointment of losing against Cardiff, United will hope to turn their good displays into a win at Wolves.
Steve Morison will be fit to return and will provide Leeds with an added edge to their attack and I think Leeds will claim by the odd goal.
PREDICTION: Wolves 0 Leeds United 1.
Leeds have remained on the periphery of the promotion race due to their home results, last week’s performance drew plaudits but no points.
Failure to pick up points in successive away games and whisper it quietly but the ‘p’ word could be replaced by the ‘r’ word. Wolves have fared even worse and United must turn the screw against another big club with a demanding home crowd.
Hopefully, Morison will lead the line with Warnock and Tongue starting. Wide right is still a problem possibly solved in the loan window and the trips to Molineux and Middlesbrough may propel us to the play-offs or prepare us for a nervous run in.
PREDICTION: Wolves 1 Leeds United 1.