YEP Jury: Hernandez or Saiz? That’s the big question ahead of Leeds United v Preston

Samuel Saiz.
Samuel Saiz.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s home clash with Preston North End tomorrow.

DAVID WATKINS

Pablo Hernandez.

Pablo Hernandez.

Ahead of the Preston North End game at Deepdale last season I was nervous and forecast a draw but we thrashed them 4-1. Well, I’m similarly nervous ahead of this weekend’s fixture and I’m saying draw again; I’m just not ready to accept we are as good as results suggest!

Preston, now without Simon Grayson – who has moved on to Sunderland – but with Alex Neil at the helm, got off to a great start themselves, beating Wednesday 1-0 last week and their 3-2 defeat to Accrington Stanley means little as Neil made nine changes and played his second XI which is seemingly not as strong as ours!

Leeds have made a good start to the season, winning two from two but we sent out two very different teams and the one that thrashed Port Vale on Wednesday night had Samu Saiz in it.

Will it be Pablo the old master or Samu the young pretender starting tomorrow?

If Saiz starts then my prediction might change!

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Preston North End 1.

MATTHEW EVANS

Two significantly different Leeds United XIs have opened the season with two wins and seven goals and already a momentum is building at Elland Road.

Wednesday’s cup game opened without fanfare and the first half was played out in a surreal, pre-season friendly style atmosphere.

One player who wasn’t treating it like a pre-season friendly was Samu Saiz who ran the game and scored a debut hat-trick. His impressive appearance provides just one of the headaches that Thomas Christiansen faces for the Preston game.

Does Saiz take the place of Pablo Hernandez who, himself, played well at Bolton on Sunday? Will Kalvin Phillips and Eunan O’Kane return in midfield after Mateusz Klich, Ronaldo Vieira and Liam Bridcutt all looked lively on Wednesday? Is it fair to drop Vurnon Anita after two solid appearances?

Thankfully none of these are my decisions to make but our options are varied and, on the evidence of what we’ve seen so far, we can make this a third win in a week.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Preston North End 1.

KEITH INGHAM

Well that wasn’t a bad start to the season was it ? More positives than negatives but in this league you’re only as good as your last game.

Preston by all accounts were very good in their 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday so it could be a tough encounter for the opening of the new repackaged Elland Road. Past and present favourites will be in evidence when fans visit for the first Championship fixture. The ground has looked dated for a number of years so an upgrade will be worth seeing.

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has been added to the squad, a season long loan from that team in Salford. It will be a welcome sight seeing Pontus Jansson run out tomorrow. It looks like the Liam Cooper-Jansson partnership will now be given time to flourish.

Leeds did the double over their Lancashire rivals last season, 4-1 away and 1-0 at home. If Leeds are to be successful they must win most of their home games and with Fulham’s visit just around the corner it’s essential to get the three points and I think they will.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Preston North End 0.

MIKE GILL

After their morale-boosting win at Bolton, LeedsUnited are expected to line up in front of a packed house at Elland Road against Preston North End tomorrow.

It will seem strange to be facing a North End side which is not managed by Simon Grayson who has taken on a very tough challenge at Sunderland.

Alex Neil started his tenure at the Lancashire club with a well-worked win against Sheffield Wednesday and so there will be no room for complacency tomorrow.

A Grayson-style ‘gung ho’ attacking approach is unlikely. Expect Preston to come looking for a point with a defensive plan.

However Thomas Christiansen’s men should have the keys to unlock this game and Pontus Jansson’s return should help keep the depleted defence together.

Vurnon Anita was very impressive against Bolton Wanderers on the opening day and so the back four looks pretty strong even without our casualties and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Preston North End 1.

GARY NEWBOULD

After another impressive win midweek in the EFL Cup with a significantly different starting line-up to that which was successful away to Bolton, United start their home league campaign against Preston North End with a rare Saturday 3pm fixture.

Following Simon Grayson’s departure to Sunderland The Lillywhites are now managed by former Canaries custodian Alex Neil who is now well versed in the Championship in general as well as visits to Elland Road in particular, and on paper this looks like the most challenging of the Whites opening three fixtures.

Coach Thomas Christiansen has a few selection headaches of both a positive perspective (two wins from almost two different teams) and negative perspective – Gaetano Berardi and Matthew Pennington – who will both be absent due to injury.

However crowd favourite Pontus Jansson looks certain to return after serving his suspension and it would not be too much of a surprise to see midweek debut hat-trick hero Samuel Saiz pushing for a starting berth against Preston.

A sound foundation to last season’s achievements was a strong campaign at home and it’s important that another clear marker is paid down tomorrow in front of a large and expectant LS11 crowd.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Preston North End 1.

Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen.

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