Our YEP Jurors have their say on Leeds United’s West Yorkshire derby at Huddersfield Town
Following their hard fought and much deserved victory over table-toppers Bournemouth and fresh from taking four points from their last two games, United make the short trip to local rivals Huddersfield Town for a Saturday lunchtime engagement.
Although their recent form has provided renewed confidence, the Whites simply cannot afford any complacency to set in with the Championship relegation places still far too close for comfort and a further 21 points still required to get towards the minimum prerequisite of the “magical” 50 points figure.
Since their last game, United have temporarily lost a chairman, (I wonder if he’ll join the fans, or prepare the pre-match meal, if the league permit?) but have also made a couple of signings, including Ivorian Sol Bamba. The former Leicester City man was recommended the club by fellow countryman Max Gradel and we could do far worse than re-sign the little Ivorian himself for a second stint.
The Terriers, now under the stewardship of Chris Powell are five points and five places above United having won three of their last four fixtures including an impressive 3-1 victory over high-flying Watford in their last home game. As ever it will be cup final day for the home side whose attendance will as ever be boosted by the “once a season fans” who come to see a big team in Town.
With Giuseppe Bellusci starting his two-match ban it seems almost certain, that subject to fitness new signing Bamba will partner skipper Liam Cooper at the heart of defence.
On fire Lewis Cook will likely partner Alex Mowatt in midfield alongside “born again” Luke Murphy with the steel enforcement of Rudolph Austin making up the quartet with the likely 4-4-2 formation completed by Steve Morison, alongside either Billy Sharp or Mirco Antenucci up front.
However it’s at the other end of the pitch that the Whites need to continue their improvement. It’s more than mere co-incidence that four points have been gleaned over the last two games, whilst only one goal has been conceded.
Earlier this season United triumphed 3-0, however I’m expecting a far tougher and closer encounter. The warning signs are there, for as recently as last season following a 5-1 home victory, United lost the return fixture 3-2.
Prediction: Huddersfield Town 2 Leeds United 2.
Whilst another West Yorkshire club celebrated a famous victory in west London last Saturday, Leeds rested weary legs after a well deserved victory over Championship leaders Bournemouth.
The win made it a double over the surprise team of the season. Leeds will hope to continue their unbeaten league run of 2015 with a trip to Huddersfield tomorrow.
The early kick-off at the John Smith’s Stadium pits two respected ‘coaches’ against each other.
Chris Powell has attempted to move our West Yorkshire rivals up the league but as with Leeds, it’s been, so far, a disappointing season for the ‘Terriers’.
They are though above Leeds in the table in 15th place, five points better off than their local rivals.
Leeds introduced two new players to the media earlier in the week – centre-back Sol Bamba and defensive midfielder Granddi Ngoyi on loan from Palermo, both should be available for the weekend.
Because of Bellusci’s suspension Bamba could come straight into the side. The rest I’d leave as they lined up against Bournemouth. My opinion is...if it ain’t broke...
Earlier this season Leeds turned in one of their best performances of the season as they easily beat Town 3-0 and will be eager to ‘do the double’ over them.
The recent upturn in form will hopefully continue with a narrow Leeds win.
Prediction: Huddersfield Town 1 Leeds United 2.
Leeds head into the Huddersfield game in good heart on the field and with the support mobilised like never before with the Leeds LLP initiative, but a little bit bewildered by the transfer dealings of whoever is in charge at Elland Road these days.
Despite Neil Redfearn’s requests for Championship experience, it appears that Jason Pearce is to join Stephen Warnock through the exit doors. Replacements come from Italy (of course) and although Sol Bamba has played at this level, Granddi Ngoyi is a totally unknown quantity.
A trip to Huddersfield is never a particularly pleasant experience and with the home side in decent form, Saturday looks to be a tricky fixture. If the new signings can hit the ground running we might nick something from the game.
Prediction: Huddersfield Town 1 Leeds United 1
A flash of optimism has returned to the Leeds support on the back of three solid performances and five points from three games. Two new arrivals have also added to an air of positivity and you would imagine one, if not both will start on Saturday.
The reverse fixture was one of the highlights of the season and Neil Redfearn will be keen to replicate the successful formula of high tempo and pressing which worked perfectly at home to Bournemouth.
Never an easy game and lunchtime kick-offs tend to take the sting out of games but I am expecting at least a point, let’s hope it’s more.
Huddersfield Town 0 Leeds United 1
The West Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield Town is back and it couldn’t have come at a better time for us.
Being unbeaten in the league in 2015, the United squad seem happy and will be looking forward to getting back out there.
The FA Cup break probably came at a bad time for us but it has given us a chance to rest a few bodies for this week.
I think new signing Sol Bamba will go straight into the side for the suspended Bellusci but other than that I don’t think there will be any major changes.
We were great the last time we played Huddersfield so that will give the players a lot of confidence going into tomorrow’s game.
Prediction: Huddersfield Town 1 Leeds United 2
We make the short trip on the M62 for the Yorkshire derby with Huddersfield, who are very inconsistent, but we must take confidence from the last game and keep going forward.
With Luke Murphy and Steve Morison you have two players who six weeks ago would have got nowhere near the first XI but are first choice now. Add the new arrivals and I predict a feisty game with goals.
Prediction: Huddersfield Town 1 Leeds United 2