The YEP jury make their predictions ahead of Leeds United’s clash with Barnsley at Oakwell.
Leeds United face one of their more uncomfortable trips of the season on Saturday as they travel to Oakwell to take on Barnsley.
The last two visits have been particularly disappointing with the Whites capitulating to a couple of very embarrasing defeats.
They make the short journey down the M1 to face a club in turmoil at the foot of the division at without a manager following the sacking of Keith Hill.
With Barnsley in danger of slipping down the league ladder, January may see some of their squad jump ship and already striker Craig Davies has left the club, a transfer to Bolton Wanderers having been completed at the start of the week.
Leeds though have problems of their own, a strange thing to say with the club sat on the fringes of the promotion race just two points outside the play-offs. Unfortunately, this is more because of the unpredictable nature of the Championship, rather than United’s performances meriting their eighth place standing.
In fact, the Whites form over the Christmas period was pretty awful, hammered at Nottingham Forest and Hull and fortunate to win on New Year’s Day at Elland Road, thanks to a Luciano Becchio penalty.
Without the Argentinian’s goals this season, Leeds would be looking at this game being a relegation six-pointer instead of a stepping stone to a potential place in the play-offs at the end of the day. It makes the ever-increasing rumours of his impending departure even harder to stomach.
In a league that is crying out for consistency, Neil Warnock needs to nail down his starting XI and a set pattern of play, if Leeds are to succeed over the closing months of the season.
The United boss has become something of a tinker man in recent weeks, constantly changing the team and their shape almost on a whim. Poor Tom Lees, despite being the most consistent centre-half of the season has been left out or shifted out to the full-back position to fill in when needed. Meanwhile, the man who has been far and away the best in the left-back position, Adam Drury, finds himself left out of the side no matter how well he plays on his rare opportunities.
In midfield, Warnock has done the side no favours by rushing Rodolph Austin back into action, whilst constantly shuffling his pack to find the right combination. The flanks have seen players given 45 minutes before being replaced, denting confidence and ensuring that the supply to the forwards is never of a consistent nature.
Hopefully, Leeds are keeping their powder dry in the transfer market, biding their time to ensure the right man comes in rather than panic-buying a quantity of players of low quality.
The next six games could be a critical period for Leeds, with five against sides in the lower half of the table giving them the opportunity to really build up a head of steam for the very tough end of the campaign to come. A win at Barnsley could be the catalyst for the club to begin to rebuild the momentum which may see them involved in the shake up at the end of the season. Defeat and it may be time to draw the line and look to the future.
Prediction: Barnsley 1 Leeds United 0.
After a week’s break from Championship action, Leeds make the trip to Oakwell, a ground where in the past few seasons, goals have been aplenty – but mostly in the wrong end!
Barnsley, as I write still have not confirmed a new man at the helm after the recent sacking of Keith Hill. Now that Curtis Davies has gone to Bolton in my opinion there is no better time to be playing our ‘bogey’ side.
With the transfer window open for nine days, we’re still awaiting some real transfer activity but now the manager is back at his desk there may well be some more signings soon as he has stated he’s working hard to do this.
With the United camp free from illness Neil Warnock may change things round again but I’m hoping that Adam Drury is given another chance as although he was substituted it was a tactical decision and nothing to do with performance.
Until new blood comes in I expect the team to be similar to the team that faced Bolton on New Year’s Day.
Our away performances of late have not yielded either good performances or points but I’m confident Leeds can claim the three points in this Yorkshire derby at Oakwell tomorrow.
Prediction: Barnsley 1 Leeds United 2.
United head to Oakwell on tomorrow afternoon for a Yorkshire derby against bottom-of-the-table Barnsley.
The hosts are without a manager, having been turned down by both Sean O’Driscoll and Terry Butcher in the week and have not registered a home league victory since early September last week.
However the Whites need to be on their guard as far too often they have not performed on this ground, despite a significant away following. A win is a must but I fear a draw will be as good as it gets.
Prediction: Barnsley 1 Leeds United 1.
Leeds visit managerless Barnsley, bottom of the league and having just sold their top scorer, surely there’s only one result?
However, our recent away performances have been dismal and Oakwell has bad recent memories for Whites fans. Away days in Yorkshire have produced a win, a draw and a defeat to date and whilst a victory should be routine for play-off contenders I still believe we are fragile away from Elland Road. The manager still doesn’t appear to know his his best XI and with a genuine lack of width and creation I fear another defeat on the road. Please prove me wrong United.
Prediction: Barnsley 2 Leeds United 1.
Leeds go into tomorrow’s clash on the back of a flat FA Cup performance against Birmingham City and will now be looking to put that behind them and carry on their push towards gaining a place in the play-offs. This will be the first-time that Warnock has taken Leeds to Oakwell and will be looking to erase the ghost of recent 5-2 and 4-1 defeats.
The Tykes currently have no manager following the dismissal of Keith Hill and have sold star striker Craig Davies to Bolton. I just feel the current ongoings at Barnsley could be a massive distraction and I see Leeds winning this clash.
Prediction: Barnsley 0 Leeds United 1.
TOMORROW afternoon will see Leeds United returning to the scene of previous maulings at Oakwell.
First and foremost the current players must do themselves and fans and justice by at least showing pride. It’s a winnable game for Leeds as Barnsley’s form at the moment is average and their manager has just departed, so all is not well in the camp. Step in Diouf, Becchio, McCormack and Somma to further compound the Tykes’ problems! Backed by a large support if we get control of the midfield area we can dictate the tempo and create chances.
Prediction: Barnsley 0 Leeds United 2.