YEP Jury – Leeds United v Sheffield United: No time to underestimate the Championship’s ‘surprise package’

Vurnon Anita.
Vurnon Anita.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s derby with Sheffield United.

DAVID WATKINS

Leeds United's Gaetano Berardi is shown the red card at Bristol City.

Leeds United's Gaetano Berardi is shown the red card at Bristol City.

The Leicester City cup defeat isn’t relevant at all to our big derby with Sheffield United; I doubt many of the players seen on Tuesday will feature tonight although it would be a surprise if Luke Ayling, Kalvin Phillips and Vurnon Anita don’t start.

I’d expect the XI to be the same as we saw at Ashton Gate apart from Anita deputising for the suspended Gaetano Berardi.

The Blades are the surprise package this season and their third place in the table has been well earned with some impressive victories over the likes of Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday and Wolves.

They can be erratic though and they’ve also lost two (Nottingham Forest and Norwich City) of their last six. It seems with the Blades it’s all or nothing as they’ve not drawn a league game so far this season.

On that basis you know what I’m going for! As good as we were at Bristol City I’d like to see us do it once more before I’m convinced we’ve found the X-factor again.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Sheffield United 1.

MATTHEW EVANS

Our impressive first-half showing at Leicester City deserved a bigger reward and, coupled with our revival at Bristol City last weekend, means we go into this Yorkshire derby with a good level of optimism.

Pablo Hernandez and Conor Shaughnessy shone on Tuesday night but I would be surprised if either of them forces their way into tonight’s starting XI.

The team that beat Bristol City, with ten players rested in the cup, will be given a chance to prove that that result and performance wasn’t a fluke.

Defence will be key tonight with head coach Thomas Christiansen needing to replace the suspended Gaetano Berardi.

And Pontus Jansson, complete with new contract, won’t want to sit out two games in a row.

Sheffield United are a good side, having a great season, and we will have to be much, much better than we were last time out at Elland Road.

I’m expecting a difficult night against a side that we regularly fail to perform against. A draw is on the cards.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Sheffield United 1.

KEITH INGHAM

The most important fixture this week is the visit of high-flying Sheffield United, another side that came out of Division One like the proverbial bullet.

With ‘old boy’ Billy Sharp leading the line they are going to be a very hard team to beat; Chris Wilder, their manager, has done a superb job since taking over the reins of the club.

Thomas Christainsen will probably play most of the team that played so well at Bristol City, minus the suspended Gaetano Berardi. Pontus Jansson, for some reason, has lost form (it showed on Tuesday!) so Matthew Pennington should continue at centre-back with captain Liam Cooper. If fit, Ronaldo Vieira, Eunan O’Kane, Kalvin Phillips, Samuel Siaz and Gjanni Alioski should continue in midfield, industry and flair in abundance. This game should be a ‘Crackerjack’ of a Friday night game and it will take another performance like the one shown last Saturday against Bristol City for Leeds to grab three important Championship points.

I think they will too.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sheffield United 1.

MIKE GILL

Saturday’s heroics against Bristol City showed a side that has rediscovered its confidence.

The personnel who were selected against Leicester looked and acted the same until the Foxes equalised in the 30th minute.

The old fragilities returned almost immediately and United never looked like scoring a second goal.

Like Bristol City, Sheffield United are on a roll with four points more than Leeds and, as you would expect from a team in third place, they have shown good form away from home all season.

Billy Sharp has proved that with the right support, he can score freely at this level, something he struggled with at Leeds.

As the Blades will be bringing the maximum number of supporters this is likely to be the biggest attendance so far this season. A titanic struggle awaits tomorrow and, given a good start, I expect Leeds to carry on the good work and record another victory.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sheffield United 1.

GARY NEWBOULD

After a brave midweek League Cup exit, United quickly return to the league with a Yorkshire derby against Sheffield United, which once again pits the Whites against Coronation Street and Eastenders as far as the TV schedulers are concerned.

Following last season’s promotion, Chris Wilder’s Blades currently sit one place but four points better off than Leeds United.

Whilst it seams ridiculous to talk about “six-pointers” in October, this isn’t far from one if the Whites wish to remain close to the automatic promotion places.

After the superb win at Ashton Gate last weekend a similar starting line-up will be expected with Vurnon Anita likely to replace the suspended Gaetano Berardi.

It would also be great to see Stuart Dallas feature in the team after his very sad family bereavement.

Let’s hope for three points and blunted Blades in front of another packed-out Elland Road.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Sheffield United 2.

Kalvin Phillips

Video: Leeds United’s Phillips accepts he can no longer have his cake and eat it