Leeds United Jury: Whites can ill-afford to take eye off the ball in Newport cup '˜replay'
Our YEP Jury look ahead to Leeds United's FA Cup third round tie at Newport County on Sunday.
A trip to Newport County on a Sunday just after Christmas for a noon kick off ... how marvellous is that?
At least we can take a moment or two to pause for breath after a furious Christmas period, involving four league games in ten days, and spend one day at least dreaming of an FA Cup run!
It’s hard to avoid thinking back to our ill-fated trip to Sutton last January when we think about the FA Cup but, of course, we had another tricky game before that, probably more akin to this trip to South Wales, when we scraped through 2-1 at Cambridge United in the third round.
We’ve already seen Newport this season, of course, and for a good portion of the first half of our Carabao Cup game they more than matched us!
So, let’s hope we pick a relatively strong side to avoid any embarrassment this time around.
I’m more than happy to see a few changes, but please Leeds, let’s at least pick players with squad numbers this time!
Prediction: Newport County 0 Leeds United 4.
Last year’s entry into the FA Cup was a bit of a nightmare all round.
A supposedly easy tie with Cambridge at this stage was much more of a struggle than it should have been.
And the less said about our team selection and performance at Sutton, the better. There’s surely enough evidence around to show that cup runs can help teams with their league form and resting entire XIs can be detrimental.
The players from the Garry Monk side that dived out of the play-off positions at just the wrong time last season showed absolutely none of the benefits of having been spared in those two cup games.
Thomas Christiansen seems to be from the same school, however, and our League Cup run came to a halt as we rested a number of players despite being away at a Premier League side.
Predicting the outcome on Sunday is a bit of a mug’s game but since we are the mugs tasked with doing it week in week out, we can only hope for a rare, routine win.
Prediction: Newport County 0 Leeds United 3.
On Sunday, Leeds take the trip to Wales to face Newport County in the much-maligned but still-loved FA Cup.
The third round Cup tie with the Welsh club is the second time the teams have crossed swords this season, Leeds winning a EFL Cup tie 5-1 in August when Kemar Roofe grabbed a hat-trick, Leeds’ other scorers were Samuel Siaz and Ronaldo Vieira.
Without doubt it will be a much-changed team that Thomas Christiansen will send out. Andy Lonergan, Matthew Pennington, Pierre-Michel Lasogga, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Hadi Sacko and even Mateusz Klitch as well as others in the first team may get a opportunity to play for 90 minutes.
County are 11th in ‘Division Two’ and, in their last six games, they have won two, drawn three and lost only one.
They had their moments at Elland Road and it’s the Cup so this is their ‘Cup final’.
Everybody likes to see shocks in the early rounds; I just hope that Leeds don’t fall for the second season running to a lower league team.
The performance in the 1-0 defeat at Sutton United was shambolic last season; that cannot be repeated at the weekend.
I’m confident that progress can be made and, hopefully, a plum home cup tie at Elland Road will be the prize for Leeds after a comfortable win.
Prediction: Newport County 0 Leeds United 2.
This third-round FA Cup tie could not have come at a better time for United.
After the disappointments against Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest, there has never been a better time to rest and regroup.
It will also be an opportunity for Thomas Christiansen to give run-outs to players who have a point to prove. Hadi Sacko, Matthew Pennington, Conor Shaughnessy, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Mateusz Klich, Vurnon Anita and Jay-Roy Grot all need more exposure.
I also feel that Pierre-Michel Lasogga should start as the striker has not impressed since his return to the side.
With Andy Lonergan or Bailey Peacock-Farrell between the sticks Christiansen can field a side that is capable of winning.
And another defeat would not be helpful.
Unlike our previous coach, I doubt that Christiansen would select a side like the one which capitulated to Sutton last season.
It is always difficult to predict a result for these games, but I am going for a win.
Prediction: Newport County 1 Leeds United 3.
United take their bow in this season’s FA Cup with a Sunday lunchtime trip to South Wales to take on Newport County.
Prior to this season, the Whites had taken on County only once before, but earlier this season they were pitted against each other in the League Cup. The game was originally scheduled for South Wales but was switched to LS11 due to ongoing pre-season ground works at Rodney Parade, which are now complete. Whilst United eventually completed a comfortable win, the visitors took the lead and made life very uncomfortable for the Whites, particularly in the first half.
With an ongoing promotion campaign at the forefront of their minds it would be an easy decision to make wholesale changes for the game, but only last year Sutton United were beneficiaries of such a decision and the collateral damage significantly impacted the remainder of the Whites’ season.
It may well be a smaller number of changes than last season and hopefully those that are selected grasp the opportunity.
They could do worse than learning from Marcus Antonsson’s experience last season. His poor display resulted in a loan “opportunity” at Blackburn Rovers.
Given United’s recent struggles in front of goal a solid start and the first goal would be a massive help. However, I’m expecting the need for a replay.
Prediction: Newport County 1 Leeds United 1.