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Leeds United v Watford: YEP jury predictions

RISING STAR: Sam Byram, right, has been a revelation going forward for Leeds United this season.

RISING STAR: Sam Byram, right, has been a revelation going forward for Leeds United this season.

The YEP jury make their preduictions ahead of Leeds United’s clash with Watford at Elland Road.

DAVID GOODWILL

After a miserable evening in Burnley on and off the pitch it now seems an appropriate time to take stock of the season to date and the tenure of Mr Warnock.

His appointment in February was not universally popular but grudgingly accepted as an experienced hand to guide Leeds into the play-offs and beyond. However, the rot had already set in and United spluttered their way to mid-table obscurity with the chairman receiving the wrath of the fans for selling the family silver.

The squad was decimated further in the summer before reinforcements arrived towards the end of the close season, largely drawn from players relegated or surplus to requirements by other comparable teams. The squad looked short on quality, creativity and pace and few would now argue to the contrary having witnessed a third of the season.

Eight victories from 28 games in charge and a haul of 33 points from a possible 84 are the stark facts which require further scrutiny before damning a man who has clearly demonstrated his passion for the club and particularly the support.

Personally, I would include myself in the glass half-empty brigade but currently I can see the bottom of the glass.

The uncertainty surrounding further investment or indeed takeover of the club has undoubtedly restricted the manager with his recruitment and this has been reflected in the meagre crowds and flat atmosphere at Elland Road as thousands have lost patience and voted with their feet and wallets. The club has been treading water for six months and in my view can only move forward when this sorry saga concludes.

Watford arrive at Elland Road under the tutelage of Gianfranco Zola with a host of Italian imports and I would suspect a rather different style to that adopted currently by the Whites. The introduction of Ryan Hall following his four-goal salvo for the development side appears inevitable and may provide the spark so badly needed on and off the pitch.

The side has become over-reliant on El-Hadji Diouf as others have ducked responsibility allowing the opposition to negate our one creative player as we resort to long-ball football without the necessary height or speed.

Our most fluent football this season is when the highly impressive Sam Byram has been released to play an attacking role on the right and Rodolph Austin utilised as a powerful midfield runner with venom in his boots for which I would have Paul Green given a start in his favoured central midfield role.

The possible return of Ross McCormack and Davide Somma before Christmas is a reason to be optimistic but for now it’s a case of fighting for every point with the players at our disposal. The weekend might still be painful on the pitch but hopefully the news from the stands is what the majority have long hoped for.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Watford 2.

KEITH INGHAM

Sometimes in every manager’s season they know that they will board the bus home knowing that three points should be onboard with them, but alas Burnley – after near misses last year – finally claimed three points against Leeds with a late Charlie Austin goal.

The defeat dropped Leeds into the bottom half of the Championship and the hopes of the fans are starting to fade.

Maybe I’m overreacting but I believe the problems with the financial side of things have seriously hampered the manager in his duties.

I believe that Neil Warnock should meet his paymasters and give them a deadline of no more than two weeks to sort things out.

This season is becoming so disappointing with only the Capital One Cup run giving some comfort to the fans and the attendances are showing that the fans are voting with their feet.

Next up is Watford, with Gianfranco Zola and his Italian imports who come to Leeds 11 with 20 points and sit a place below us in the league.

Without doubt we need a win to restore some confidence in the team and the supporters. I am going for a scrappy 1-0 victory at Elland Road for the boys in White.

But without doubt the message is clear from all, it’s time to sort out the takeover now before it’s too late.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Watford 0.

BEN SCOTT

The Hornets arrive at Elland Road ready to further sting the Whites season, which is fading quickly.

What do I expect tomorrow, well not much in life is certain but if I was a betting man I would hedge my bets on a attendance of under 25,000 with a small amount of away fans meaning there won’t be much of a positive atmosphere around the stadium.

This is really a must-win game for multiple reasons, if the team plays to the best of its ability we can get two or three goals and hopefully chalk up a rare and welcome clean sheet!

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Watford 0.

STEPHEN CLARK

Leeds continue to lurch from triumph to disaster on a weekly basis at the moment, and tomorrow’s game against Watford could prove to be a pivotal moment in the season.

Neil Warnock was quick to voice his displeasure at the team’s performance on Tuesday at Burnley and a similar result against the Hornets could see the manager fall under the spotlight.

The performance at Burnley was not an isolated incident, in fact it was the latest in a long line of dismal showings in recent weeks. Watford are not the best side in the division by a long way, so failure to pick up maximum points will be a massive blow.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Watford 1.

SHAUN HARRIS

Times are getting tough at Leeds following Tuesday’s defeat at Burnley with Leeds putting in another below standard performance.

Tomorrow, I would like to see the team shaken up a little bit. Maybe with David Norris coming into the centre of the park in place of Rodolph Austin, switch wings or better still start with young Ryan Hall after his impressive performances in the development team. I’d like to see Luke Varney start up front as his work rate at the moment has been impressive. I feel Neil Warnock will have Leeds biting back and they will come away with the three points.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Watford 0.

GARY NEWBOULD

After yet another midweek league disappointment, United return to LS11 for a must-win game against Gianfranco Zola’s Watford.

It is the third successive game when United have faced a side on identical points to themselves which shows how tight the Championship is this season.

United’s record after 15 games shows an equal number of wins, draws, losses, goals for and goals against and speaks of mid-table mediocrity. It is now time, takeover or no takeover for the team to stand up and be counted. Hopefully they’ll have enough sting to quell the Hornets.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Watford 1.

 

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