YEP Jury: Leeds United must avoid being lulled into a false sense of play-off security

Kemar Roofe.
Kemar Roofe.
0
Have your say

Our fan’s panel have their say on Leeds United’s final game of the regular season at Ipswich Town on Sunday.

DAVID WATKINS

Marcelo Bielsa.

Marcelo Bielsa.

This should have been a celebration party! As things have panned out though, the trip to “Ibswickz” (see Marcelo we all have trouble!) becomes merely an opportunity to build upon the fine performance against Aston Villa and prepare ourselves for the lottery of the play-offs.

Ipswich are already relegated and their form since that was confirmed has not changed.

They are on a run of no wins in five, having scored just once in that sequence. They also have the second-worst home record in the division with just two wins at Portman Road; only Bolton are worse. Like our trips to QPR and Birmingham though, that is just the sort of record we often bring to an end!

We cannot afford to slip up this time or all the doubts will surface again at just the wrong moment.

Tempers boil over after Mateusz Klich's goal against Aston Villa.

Tempers boil over after Mateusz Klich's goal against Aston Villa.

We also need at least a point to ensure that, whatever the result between Derby and West Brom, we secure that important third place. Then we see whether that pitches us against Derby, Boro or Bristol. Defeat on Sunday and we may be facing Villa again sooner than expected!

Prediction: Ipswich Town 1 Leeds United 1.

ANDY RHODES

Here we are, the final game and the pressure is off. It’s not the circumstances any of us wanted but Leeds never do it the easy way, do they?

Sunday’s trip to Ipswich is a chance for Marcelo Bielsa’s side to pick up some much-needed confidence following last weekend’s clash with Aston Villa.

That game might just kickstart United’s push in the play-offs and instil the siege mentality that was so vital against Derby and West Brom at home earlier this campaign.

Patrick Bamford’s suspension may be a blessing in disguise for United. His performances of late haven’t been convincing and, after his stunning goal in training this week, Kemar Roofe will be chomping at the bit.

The dead-rubber game will give Bielsa an opportunity to try new things ahead of the play-offs, but Bielsa isn’t a man to stray too far from the path.

If Leeds pick up a win, it could prove crucial ahead of the war to come. The most important thing is that the players are prepared mentally.

Prediction: Ipswich Town 0 Leeds United 2.

MATTHEW EVANS

We go to Ipswich with heavy hearts. This had the potential to be a triumphant day, the antithesis to when Ipswich visited us on the last day of 2006/2007 and relegated us to League 1.

This time we would be exiting the Championship in the right direction. As it is, this game is just like any other final game of the season since our 2010 return – a total dead rubber.

Sure, there’s a chance that we finish fourth instead of third but that’s not what any of us wanted to be riding on Sunday’s game.

The more positive way of looking at things is that we have a second chance, another crack at promotion through the play-offs and the opportunity to right some wrongs. He’s not one for experimenting but I would be hoping that Marcelo Bielsa uses the game as a final chance to make the right decisions for the play-off semi-final.

I watched Ipswich last weekend in the vain hope that they might grab something against promoted Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Based on that showing, we should be winning this.

Prediction: Ipswich Town 0 Leeds United 3.

KEITH INGHAM

Since last weekend the dust has settled on the automatic promotions; congratulations to both Sheffield United and Norwich City for holding their nerve whilst Leeds lost the plot, once again!

The fall-out from the previous game versus Villa continues to fall, El Ghazi’s red card rescinded, Hourihane let off for punching Mateusz Klich and the stupid antics of Patrick Bamford ending up with him being banned for two games. We just don’t do things easy do we?

This Sunday, for a change, all the Championship games kick-off at the same time. The Championship title is there to be won and three teams, ‘Frank Lampard’s Derby’, Tony Pulis’ boring Boro and moaning Lee Johnson’s Bristol City all have a chance of the last play-off place. It should be a very interesting afternoon.

We face relegated Ipswich Town and still need a point to guarantee third place. Marcelo Bielsa must decide if continuity is the best policy with his team selection or protect his assets and give a game to a few of the under-23s.

The ‘23s’ qualified for the PDL play-off final with a thrilling extra-time win over Coventry City.

Ryan Edmundson scored his 19th goal of the season and may be given a chance to lead the line. If fit, Kemar Roofe could be considered after his injury. Tyler Roberts is also an option.

It will be interesting to see the mindset of the players; they may have one eye on next Saturday’s play-off but, hopefully, they will realise they’ve a job to do and that Ipswich, despite going down, will want to sign off their tenure in the Championship with a decent performance.

Once again, thousands of Leeds fans will travel to East Anglia and support their team. I’d like to pay tribute to these hardy souls who week in, week out travel in their masses to watch Leeds.

I doff my cap to you all.

It would be great to go into the end-of-season play-offs with a win by at least a couple of goals and, hopefully, that’s what they will do.

Prediction: Ipswich Town 1 Leeds United 3.

MIKE GILL

One big positive from Sunday’s controversial clash with Aston Villa is that Leeds United seem to have regained their fighting spirit.

Patrick Bamford deserves his sanction but, as usual, the treatment meted out to the teams is totally uneven.

With Kemar Roofe ready to return, this state of affairs should galvanise the Whites into a belligerent backs-to-the-wall mentality.

A win against doomed Ipswich is important in order to ensure an opening away tie against the sixth club.

The burning question, though, is the identity of the last invitee to the play-off party. Derby lost their lead against Swansea and face a tough-looking trip to West Brom. Bristol City travel to Hull and Middlesbrough will be visiting relegated Rotherham.

Because of this and because United’s final position is still unconfirmed, further conjecture is meaningless.

It’s an old saying that ‘When man plans God laughs’, so all plans stay on hold until the job is done on Sunday.

Prediction: Ipswich Town 0 Leeds United 2.

SHAUN SMITH

We ate tapas when Marta from Buenos Aires took my wife and me out for dinner.

It was a lovely evening: Yorkshire’s gritty weather outside Hispanic energy and flavour within. Marta, though returned to Argentina, is now Leeds. She is Leeds because of an admiration for one man. “Bielsa is about more than football. He is about life.” She says LIFE in capital letters. She says she shall return for a Wembley final. The game against Ipswich, in terms of “LIFE” is not important. We should secure third place, which in itself is a disappointment but I understand that there is a good chance that Bielsa will continue to share his thoughts on life with us next season. This is important.

For me, it is more important than promotion, for we are now participants in a lottery.

If I can believe that somehow my team, my city, deserves Marcelo Bielsa, then anything is possible. Soon, once again, when telling people anywhere in the world that you are from Leeds, they will reply: “Ah, Leeds United.” I shall refrain from predicting the score against Ipswich. Let me say instead, if Leeds United continue to live life with El Loco, we have won far more than any football match.