Leeds United: Only three points will do against League One-bound Sunderland - YEP jury

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Our YEP Jury look back on the 2-0 defeat at Fulham and ahead to tomorrow’s home clash with Sunderland.

DAVID WATKINS

Samuel Saiz and Jay-Roy Grot show their frustration at Fulham.

Samuel Saiz and Jay-Roy Grot show their frustration at Fulham.

There was plenty of criticism voiced against Paul Heckingbottom following Leeds’ 2-0 defeat at Fulham this week.

The feeling of a number of fans being that he’s made no real difference to the team’s effectiveness and indeed the statistics bear this out: Heckingbottom has achieved one less point from his 10 games than Thomas Christiansen did in the reverse fixtures against the same teams.

I actually think our general play has been improving. Indeed, had we been more clinical with our finishing, we might well have beaten Reading, Wednesday and even Fulham and had we done so I doubt anyone would be calling for Heckingbottom’s head.

Sunderland are another team fighting for Championship survival and they arrive in Leeds knowing that they recently demolished no less a side than Derby County albeit that is their only win in their last 12 games.

Paul Heckingbottom.

Paul Heckingbottom.

I believe we will once again create plenty of chances and if we do, sooner or later we’ll record a big win.

Prediction: Leeds United 4 Sunderland 0.

MATTHEW EVANS

Our trip to Craven Cottage reminded me of a cup tie. One of those where a lower league side travels to a team much further up the football pyramid and, despite throwing everything at it, comes off second best as the opposition take a professional, if unspectacular, 2-0 win without really trying.

It was hard to fault our effort and you could see the enhanced concentration levels even from the stands as we battled to get to grips with the home side’s clear superiority. After the game Paul Heckingbottom said we matched Fulham and that alone is enough to make me worry about his sanity. He seems to be on the same trajectory as many of the other managers broken by the Elland Road experience in recent years.

Despite our frailties we’ll probably beat Sunderland – at least we should do. Their visit will hopefully serve to remind us that things could be worse following their own dreadful season. Creating chances will be crucial and, if we can get Caleb Ekuban and Jay-Roy Grot a dozen sights of goal between them, then we should pull off a 1-0 win.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Sunderland 0.

KEITH INGHAM

Tuesday brought another defeat, the 2-0 defeat at Fulham was disappointing, despite creating two ‘golden’ chances to at least claim a draw. Leeds have now gone nine games without an away win, the last successful away visit was Burton Albion back on Boxing Day of 2017.

Paul Heckingbottom must pick up his depleted troops and go again against a team that quite frankly have been an embarrassment to their fans.

I was pretty ‘vocal’ after the defeat because I’m frustrated at the amount of chances the team are making but the strikers continue to miss. After a few hours to think about it I realise that at least Leeds are doing the hard work of creating the opportunities. I’m yet to be convinced by any of the strikers that the club has in the squad, so maybe it’s time to give Sam Dalby (who has been regularly scoring for the under-23s) an opportunity in the first team, he could hardly do any worse!

Despite the position and form of both sides it is still a ‘big game’ for the fans and I’m hopeful they can serve up a decent game.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sunderland 1.

MIKE GILL

After a gutsy but ultimately unsatisfactory performance against Fulham, Leeds United’s depleted squad takes on a struggling Sunderland side at Elland Road tomorrow.

Like many an ex-Premier League team before them, the Wearsiders have struggled to come to grips with the relentless war of attrition which is known as the Championship.

Way back last August when Thomas Christiansen’s side triumphed 2-0 at the Stadium of Light, we all congratulated ourselves on what a great performance it was.

In retrospect we probably didn’t realise how bad they were!

Chris Coleman has done little to steady the ship and Sunderland are nine points behind Reading, Birmingham, Bolton and safety.

Quite simply whether Leeds are short of players or not, they should take steps to help the Black Cats on their way to League One.

It’s time to put away all those missed chances and then if our defence is a bit lightweight then it won’t matter.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Sunderland 1.

SHAUN SMITH

We travel more in hope than expectation these days and I find myself crossing my fingers tightly wishing that Caleb Ekuban scores.

As he peels away to celebrate he might be tempted to cock an ear at the kop, many of whom will have branded him as ‘not good enough’. He will instead smile that broadest of smiles and carry on causing kitten deliveries among defenders.

There should be a song for Caleb Ekuban, not a sarcastic one, and the ditty for Ronaldo Vieira should be at its loudest when he is at his poorest.

We should hear the names of grafters, of those who don’t hide behind opponents or are camouflaged by all too fleeting glimpses of the spectacular. I love it when we sing PABLO HERNANDEZ. It says: We love you and we want you to stay. It is unconditional love. It is more difficult to love than to gripe, to simply abandon hope and settle in stoical acceptance of the grim.

The thing I inferred from the show was that the two old guys in the box were the real Muppets.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sunderland 0.

Leeds United LIVE: Full-time - York City 1 Leeds United 1. Hungry Bielsa hits McDonald’s post-match.