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Derby County v Leeds United: YEP jury predictions

KEY MAN: David Goodwill believes Leeds United will have to keep hold of their top players such as Sam Byram, above, if they are to make a real push for the Premier League. PIC: Steve Riding

KEY MAN: David Goodwill believes Leeds United will have to keep hold of their top players such as Sam Byram, above, if they are to make a real push for the Premier League. PIC: Steve Riding

The YEP jury makde their predictions ahead of Leeds United’s clash with Derby County at Pride Park

DAVID GOODWILL

The last fortnight has seen Leeds resurrect their season with three 
consecutive victories against top ten sides that even the most optimistic of supporters would have been ridiculed for suggesting.

The announcement of the takeover appears to have lifted a collective weight from the shoulders of players, fans and not least the manager who on his own admission was wondering where the next point was coming from.

One can only speculate where the club might be now if the change of ownership had been completed in August rather than December.

However, we still remain four points outside the top six with 20 games played and playing catch up for the horrendous run prior to beating Palace.

The improvement has been brought about by the addition of two competent Premiership players, an improving injury list and competition for places.

The second half at Huddersfield saw United play with a swagger for the first time in the campaign and just for once finger nails remained intact.

After putting the Terriers firmly in their place it’s time to end Derby’s recent dominance when we visit Pride Park for yet another lunchtime kick-off tomorrow.

The concern is when expectation is at its greatest the team often falters but with a blossoming squad to select from Mr Warnock now has the ammunition to silence the Rams.

The return of Ross McCormack adds a different dimension to our attack and with genuine wide players now in the side Luciano Becchio will flourish.

The Argentinian is something of an enigma, the touch and finesse of so many of his countrymen appears entirely absent outside the penalty area, but once inside scores more than a certain Bulgarian having cost considerably less.

My major concern at present is the abundance of empty seats at Elland Road, recently outnumbering those occupied for the midweek game with Leicester City.

The Chelsea game will remind everybody from Bahrain to Monaco what a magnificent football arena and support we have and every effort should be made to ensure backsides are on seats every week not just when a Europa League side comes to town.

There is little doubt that we have conservatively lost around five thousand regular supporters over the past 12 months due to a combination of factors.

The new owners have now afforded themselves the opportunity to heal wounds, make friends and influence them.

The club anthem, Marching On Together must be adhered to if the recent upturn in fortunes is not to be another false dawn. The acid test is to ensure that Sam Byram doesn’t go the way of Lennon, Milner, Delph, Howson et al.

Prediction: Derby County 1 Leeds United 2.

KEITH INGHAM

Leeds United travel to Pride Park for a lunch-time kick off tomorrow after three excellent results and confidence must be running high.

The sudden upturn in United’s results have got message boards lighting up with positive comments for a welcome change and leading scorer Luciano Becchio is now one goal away from joining the ‘scoring elite’ of Leeds United by earning a place in the top ten of the club’s goal scorers.

Derby, with Nigel Clough in charge sit 16th in the league with 27 points and are dangerous opponents.

The Rams have sold players much like ourselves to balance the books.

They still have players who, on their day, could cause Leeds some real problems and we’ve not a good record against them recently, especially at Pride Park.

United, could be unchanged from last weekend with El-Hadji Diouf and Jason Pearce on the bench along with Ryan Hall who impressed in his substitute appearance at the John Smith’s Stadium.

On paper this looks a easier game than the three previous ones but United must treat it no differently as the attitude shown recently has brought positive results.

Confidence is high with the fans too and I’m expecting a Leeds win.

Prediction: Derby County 0 Leeds United 2.

GARY NEWBOULD

After three successive league wins United have another lunchtime appointment tomorrow as they take on the Rams.

Pride Park has not been a happy hunting ground for the Whites recently with Clough Junior appearing to have the “Indian sign” over United. Derby are not in good form of late, having won only one and lost three of their last five matches, however their home form is impressive with only one reversal and a total of 22 goals scored this season at Pride Park. With Becchio and McCormack back to their best, I’m expecting plenty of goals.

Prediction: Derby County 2 Leeds United 3.

STEPHEN CLARK

Leeds United look to continue their recent good form as they travel to Pride Park tomorrow.

The Rams are a model of inconsistency, superb at home but woeful away. This may work in Nigel Clough’s side’s favour, as United’s record at Derby in recent years is pretty dismal.

Leeds will travel in good spirits though, with a poor record at Huddersfield so decisively laid to rest at the weekend. They have Luke Varney available again after suspension. Given our history at the ground, I will err on the cautious side and would be happy to take a point with a huge week to come prior to Christmas at Elland Road.

Prediction: Derby County 1 Leeds United 1.

SHAUN HARRIS

Four in a row seems possible now for Leeds United after a sudden turnaround in our fortunes following three straight wins.

Derby County will be like any team in the Championship, and pose Leeds United a great threat especially at Pride Park where the Rams have done fairly well this season. Nigel Clough’s side will be looking to bounce back against Leeds following their 4-1 hammering at the hands of Leicester City last time out and I’m sure Clough will have the side fired up for a clash that always has that added edge to it. Personally, I’d be happy to take a point from this clash.

Prediction: Derby County 1 Leeds United 1.

BEN SCOTT

On the back of a great week, United head off to Derby County for a early start tomorrow.

With El-Hadji Diouf the only expected absentee of note, the squad is shaping up well – giving Neil Warnock the positive dillemas he needs.

I feel very confident about things right now and if we win this I can see us getting three great home wins in a week – including Chelsea!

To beat Derby our strengths will be Michael Tonge controlling central areas, Byram and Green’s non-stop running coupled with some cunning play from David Norris and Ross McCormack. We should leave Pride Park with the points.

Prediction: Derby County 0 Leeds United 2.

 

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