Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday: Why Jordan Rhodes could be Owls’ talisman at Elland Road

No net gain for Owls Jordan Rhodes. Picture: Steve Ellis
No net gain for Owls Jordan Rhodes. Picture: Steve Ellis
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JORDAN RHODES enjoys facing Leeds United.

No wonder, either, with the Sheffield Wednesday striker yet to finish on the losing side against the Elland Road club in 10 appearances that have also yielded six goals.

Jordan Rhodes celebrates an Owls goal with Jordan Rhodes

Jordan Rhodes celebrates an Owls goal with Jordan Rhodes

Saturday, therefore, could be one to savour for Rhodes as the two Yorkshire rivals go toe-to-toe in front of a 33,000-plus crowd and a live Sky audience.

“Leeds were the big rivals when I was at Huddersfield,” Rhodes told The Yorkshire Post. “Likewise at Middlesbrough and now again here. It is going to be a fierce game and a really important one and I am sure whichever team the manager picks will work as hard as they can.

“And, come the end of the 90 minutes, we can get back to a positive result after what happened against Brentford.”

Wednesday’s 2-1 home loss to the Bees on Tuesday night was a big missed opportunity for the Owls.

We just have to work as hard as we can and, first and foremost, make sure we are one of those six. And then, who knows from there?

Sheffield Wednesday’s Jordan Rhodes

Victory would not only have opened up a 10-point advantage over seventh-placed Norwich City in the race for the play-offs but also ensured Carlos Carvalhal’s men made the short trip up the M1 this weekend looking down on their West Yorkshire rivals.

As it is, Wednesday and Leeds will meet level on 58 points with Garry Monk’s side occupying fifth place on goal difference.

The derby will be Wednesday’s sixth outing of the month so Carvalhal may opt to rotate his strikeforce. The Portuguese, though, may be minded to stick with Rhodes, who has proved to be something of a thorn in United’s side over the years.

Nowhere has this been more apparent than at Elland Road, where four of his half-dozen goals against Leeds have come.

His first came in December, 2009, as Huddersfield twice hit back from behind to earn a 2-2 draw.

Further goals followed for Blackburn in each of the past three seasons so Monk’s men will have to keep a close eye on the Middlesbrough loanee.

Rhodes has one goal to his name in Wednesday colours but he was unfortunate not to add to that tally against Brentford.

He hit the crossbar, had another effort cleared off the line and was left open-mouthed shortly before half-time when Harlee Dean somehow blocked a goalbound shot. It was a similar story for his team-mates, especially in a late onslaught that saw Daniel Bentley save the Bees time and time again to condemn Carvalhal’s men to their first home loss since early February.

“Their goalkeeper did terrifically well towards the end,” said Rhodes. “It was just one of those nights. Bit of a head-scratcher, really.

“We gave ourselves a bit to do by going a couple of goals down but, in the second half we had a right good, go.

“I think everyone in the crowd could see that. It was just a pity we couldn’t get the equaliser and push on from there.

“The fans were terrific. They will that first goal in, it was just a pity we were running out of time by then. Another five minutes and we might just have done it. But, it wasn’t to be, and credit to Brentford. They came here and scored two goals to win the game.”

As for a promotion race that has a big White Rose presence thanks to Rhodes’s former club Huddersfield Town being firmly in the hunt, the Owls striker added: “There are plenty of twists and turns to come between now and the end of the season.

“We just have to work as hard as we can and, first and foremost, make sure we are one of those six.

“And then, who knows from there? There is plenty of football to be played so let’s forget about Brentford and focus on the weekend and what is a really important game.

“There are a few Yorkshire sides up there but whatever the final four is I am sure they will have earned it. Whether from Yorkshire or wherever shouldn’t make a difference. We just have to make sure we are one of those four teams (in the play-offs).”