Leeds United Jury: Tight encounter of Championship kind is expected at Ewood Park

Samuel Saiz and Gjanni Alioski.
Samuel Saiz and Gjanni Alioski.
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Our fans’ panel have their say on Leeds United’s Championship clash at Blackburn Rovers tomorrow.

DAVID WATKINS

Luke Ayling is sent off against Brentford.

Luke Ayling is sent off against Brentford.

Leeds often struggle after an international break and there is no reason to suggest our trip to Ewood Park will be easy. After the previous break we went to Millwall and only scraped a draw.

Blackburn have surprised many with their form following promotion back to the Championship and they sit handily placed in 10th, one point outside the top six and five behind Leeds. Rovers’ success though is based more on their away form, having picked up three of their four wins on their travels.

At home they have recorded only one win, one defeat – to Sheffield United in most recently – and four draws, against Millwall, Reading, Villa and Forest. In the form table over the last six games, both sides have an identical record of two wins, three draws and one defeat, so it could well be another close encounter of the Championship kind.

Leeds have won on their previous two visits to Ewood and, roared on by almost 8,000 travelling fans, I’d hope we can justify our promotion-contenders tag with a narrow victory.

Pontus Jansson celebrates his equalising goal against Brentford.

Pontus Jansson celebrates his equalising goal against Brentford.

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1 Leeds United 2.

ANDY RHODES

At last, another long international break over. United might not have had huge momentum behind them before the break but they’ll be pleased there’s only one more before March.

Pontus Jansson’s last-gasp equaliser against Brentford will go a long way to boost the team’s confidence ahead of what could be a tricky away game in Lancashire.

It was Jansson who scored the winner last time the two sides met and this weekend it could be another tight affair. 14 goals scored and 15 conceded tells you that the Rovers like to get forward, but that will leave gaps at the back for the likes of Samuel Saiz and Jack Harrison to exploit. With the anticipation of a changed Leeds team comes the expectation of a better result. Marcelo Bielsa will be forced to make changes following Luke Ayling’s red card against Brentford.

A whopping 7,650 United fans will make the journey over the Pennines hoping for three points, and against an inconsistent Blackburn side, they should achieve just that.

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1 Leeds United 2.

KEITH INGHAM

Two weeks after the Brentford game, Leeds – backed by eight thousand fans – will take the field at Blackburn Rovers hoping to keep their unbeaten away record intact and get back to winning ways.

The reason why Leeds are no longer top is that they have drawn too many games recently, winning got them top so they need to start that again with a trip over the Pennines to a ground that has proven a happy hunting ground in the last two seasons, both were 2-1 wins. The latest secured courtesy of a last-minute header by Pontus Jansson.

Tyler Roberts, fresh from his first full international appearance for Wales in the Republic of Ireland may be the one to lose his place if Kemar Roofe is brought back into the starting XI.

Blackburn beat local rivals Bolton in their last game and have also taken three points off Stoke City. They are 10th in the Championship with 18 points.

With the massive amount of fans travelling ‘over the hill’ to support them, I am very hopeful of Leeds getting three points. It might not be pretty and it could be another tight encounter.

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1 Leeds United 2.

MIKE GILL

With the histrionics of the Brentford game almost forgotten, United start afresh at Ewood Park on tomorrow lunchtime.

Will Pablo Hernandez start the game? Will Kemar Roofe come straight into the side? Select two players from Gaetano Berardi, Tom Pearce and Jamie Shackleton.

Such conundrums have not been part of our pre-match build-up in previous weeks owing to the enforced predictably of the selections available to our wonderful head coach, Marcelo Bielsa.

It is a great credit to Bielsa that the team has performed as well as they have done in the absence of star players.

Just like their coach, the sad-faced Tony Mowbray, Blackburn are a bit of an enigma.

In their last three games, they have drawn with Nottingham Forest and lost to Sheffield United at home before edging a win away against their local rivals, Bolton Wanderers.

You have to hope that it’s time for United to turn on the style and give us another memorable performance.

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1 Leeds United 3.

MATTHEW EVANS

A fortnight since our last game and anger at Jeremy Simpson’s refereeing performance in the game against Brentford has not dissipated one iota.

That’s especially after Sergi Canos escaped any kind of punishment for a clear headbutt on Gjanni Alioski yet Pontus Jansson was inevitably charged by the FA for words after the game.

The legacy of Simpson’s decisions will be felt tomorrow with the loss of Luke Ayling who will need to be replaced whether that’s by a returning Gaetano Berardi, Stuart Dallas or Jamie Shackleton.

Around 7,600 United fans are making the trip to Lancashire hoping that the return of players like Kemar Roofe will bring the impetus we need to turn drawn games into wins, something that it will be necessary to improve on from the run of games between the last two international breaks.

The huge away following shouldn’t be disappointed and I think Bielsa’s Leeds will start the game as they mean to go on. Expect an early goal and a dominant performance tomorrow lunchtime.

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 0 Leeds United 3.

SHAUN SMITH

John Lennon estimated that there were 10,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire, and Leeds tomorrow are going to fill most of them.

Lennon similarly penned ‘Here Comes the Sun King’ prophesising the portentous return of Pablo Hernandez – his foreseen illumination reprised by George Harrison in ‘Here Comes the Sun’. Playing the track backwards one can clearly hear: Blackburn nil Leeds one ... Hernandez ... Hernandez ... Penalty.

Biographers of the Beatles allude to a period after their return from India and whispered rumours of a mystical Pablo cult within the band. The White album is seen by some as a vision of the rise of Leeds United as a force for universal good, the track Why Don’t We Do It Elland Road being renamed at the last minute on the insistence of George Martin and the Football League. This match, not unlike that album, is indeed a seminal moment, important not just for this season but in the history of the club and indeed the future of the world.

Pablo is back. Leeds will get a penalty. Karma will be restored. Pablo will stroke it home. Thanks Beatles. Thanks Pablo.

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 0 Leeds United 1.