Leeds United Jury: Sky-high fans buzzing but keep grounded for trip to Pride Park

Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s Championship clash at Derby County.


Kemar Roofe.

Kemar Roofe.

With Leeds fans still buzzing after the imperious display against Stoke, I’m sure the confidence level of getting a result at Derby is sky high.

The Rams looked nothing more than ordinary at Reading and yet they still came from a goal down to win 2-1 with a clever looping header from Tom Lawrence, deep into added time.

Frank Lampard was gracious enough to admit Reading were hard done by, and, on paper, this Derby side doesn’t have as many recognised quality players as they usually have.

But in Lampard’s home debut and with the old enemy Leeds in town, expect them to be fully wound up and well supported.

Pontus Jansson.

Pontus Jansson.

With the Leeds v Stoke game having been shown live on TV, I’m also sure Derby will be far more prepared for the Bielsa modus operandi than Stoke were.

It’s a tough one to call, so I’m sitting on the fence and saying ‘draw’. A win though, and another rip-roaring performance to rival that of last Sunday is more than welcomed.

Prediction: Derby County 1 Leeds United 1.


Derby County's Florian Jozefzoon (second left) warms up.

Derby County's Florian Jozefzoon (second left) warms up.

Leeds will visit Pride Park fully in their stride after beating bookies favourites Stoke last week, but after Derby’s 94th-minute winner at Reading, the Whites won’t be the only side with momentum.

There is always a risk with changing a winning team, but it remains to be seen if Marcelo Bielsa will tinker with his starting XI. Will Pontus Jansson come into the side? Will the likes of Patrick Bamford be played from the outset or will Bielsa stick with the same eleven that ran Stoke ragged? We’ll soon find out.

Derby, as they do every season, look strong and could be in for an exciting year again under Frank Lampard. Shrewd new additions Mason Mount and Harry Wilson certainly look up to the challenge.

After pipping us to the signing of Florian Jozefzoon there might be a little score to settle, and if Bielsa gets Leeds ticking like he did last weekend, we might see just that.

After a fantastic start, Leeds now need to build on it.

Prediction: Derby County 1 Leeds United 1.


That was a good start! The trouble with winning your first game so well is it ramps up the pressure to win the next as well if not better and, as it’s one of the teams that’s been ‘splashing the cash’, it might be a harder task than Stoke City.

Derby County are managed by Frank Lampard, the ex-Chelsea and England player. He is well respected within the game and has attracted some good players because of this, Martyn Waghorn the latest to join. The former Ipswich striker replaced Vydra, who, after turning down Leeds finally got his move to Premier League side Burnley.

Do you change a winning team? I’d be tempted to stick with the likes of Pontus Jansson, Lewis Baker, Jack Harrison and Patrick Bamford ready to be used as substitutes if they are needed. It’s a tough call for the new head coach for the trip to the Midlands, but at least he has very good options from a strong bench.

It should be a great game as both teams have lots of attacking options and I’m really looking forward to watching it.

Prediction: Derby County 2 Leeds United 2.


Derby County away is a great early test for ‘Bielsa’s Boys’ at a ground where positive results have been very hard to come by for United for well over a decade.

Frank Lampard’s appointment has generated a real buzz around Derby but with no actual evidence that he will be any good at managing or coaching a team.

For our part, we need to stay focused and stick to the game plan that served us so well last Sunday and produced a victory over Stoke.

I expect that to be much more difficult to do in an away game but, with the same side likely to start the match, and an opposition with a number of new recruits finding their Rams feet, a Leeds United win is entirely possible.

It’s a real ‘bellwether game’ for us and the type of fixture we need to turn the tide on if we are going to go from mid-table also rans to promotion contenders.

After months of dead rubber earlier in the year, it feels good to be excited about an away trip again.

Prediction: Derby County 1 Leeds United 2.


The Stoke game was a revelation and went some way towards silencing the doubters who believe that the only way to escape from the Championship is to spend enormous amounts of money.

When this option is not open to you, as it clearly isn’t to Leeds, what do you do? Andrea Radrizzani & co have managed to persuade Marcelo Bielsa to come to Leeds in a brave move and augmented the existing squad with a few clever signings.

One thing for sure is that whether you employ a director of football or not, your head coach must be assertive enough to decide who stays and who goes. Bielsa is such a coach.

Derby have taken a different approach. After a succession of experienced but less-than-illustrious coaches, they have plumped for former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard.

A vastly experienced player but a rookie coach.

Derby scraped past Reading with a late goal at the weekend but will be confident going into this one. It should be an interesting game.

Prediction: Derby County 2 Leeds United 2.


There will be a moment tomorrow when Kemar Roofe’s body will be screaming at him to stop.

He will ignore it, digging deep into that which is found by deep digging and make that 20-yard run to close down an opponent.

Fans, who would give their all to wear the white shirt, will see a player going beyond rational levels of effort and will cheer him as if he’d scored a goal.

It is appreciated.

The connection between fan and player is forged in those moments of intense graft – a player who can hardly speak to the post-match Sky cameras because he’s absolutely cream-crackered.

These are athletes who have bought body and soul into the project and with a full week’s rest they will have enough in the tank to go again.

New signing Patrick Bamford will have seen the pain etched on Roofe’s face.

His turn to do a shift will come soon enough.

It’s hard. It was never going to be easy but, after all, it’s better than picking litter.

Prediction: Derby County 0 Leeds United 2.