Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s home clash with Reading.
After finally securing the ‘holy grail’ of 50 points to all but secure their Championship status with an impressive midweek victory at Birmingham City, United return to home pastures when they entertain Reading tomorrow afternoon at LS11.
It promises to be an emotional afternoon as Brian McDermott returns to Elland Road for the first time since leaving the club. As always with coaches and managers there can be plenty of debate about how good they were/are, however two words immediately spring to mind when I think of the former United coach and they are honesty and integrity, qualities that I feel have been in pretty scarce supply around LS11 for around the last 15 years.
I, for one, will be warmly welcoming a man who fully appreciated the club, its culture and most definitely its fans and despite significant internal and external pressures maintained an impressive level of dignity throughout his tenure.
United’s victory at St Andrew’s – only their third league victory since 1982 – was established through a strong first-half display and, for once, significant possession that was supported by plenty of end product. So it would be no great surprise to see an identical starting line-up to the one that took to the field in midweek.
The Royals lie one place better off than The Whites by virtue of a better goal difference and have lost their last two games, including a crushing midweek injury-time defeat to top-of-the-table Middlesbrough.
This fixture, as a whole, has a history of quite a few 0-0s, however with both sides pretty much safe we can only hope for an entertaining match with the players free from the shackles of promotion hopes or relegation fears.
Despite the victory last time out I’d be tempted to play Bailey Peacock Farrell and Lewie Coyle in a game with pretty little pressure so as to give them more vital first-team experience in preparation for next season.
United have not won a home game in over a month and to provide some genuine optimism for next season we vitally need to win as many as possible of the last three matches at Elland Road this season.
Only three places and two points currently separate the Whites from a top-half finish, and with Wolves and Charlton yet to visit LS11 this should definitely be a serious aim for the rest of the season – and the least that the ever-loyal hordes deserve for their magnificent support.
As ever, against the men from Berkshire I’m expecting a tight contest but one that, hopefully, United will just shade.
Prediction: Leeds United 2 Reading 1.
After performances that Steve Evans said we got little credit for, because of the results, Leeds beat Birmingham City 2-1 on Tuesday night.
Two Stuart Dallas goals, the second a wonderful strike from a Chris Wood knock-on, made sure Leeds will again be in the Championship next season, although the head coach sees it a little differently than most; he still thinks another win guarantees that.
It was a much-needed win, with good performances all over the pitch.
Tomorrow brings Reading to Elland Road with ex-manager Brian McDermott back in charge for the second time.
I liked Brian, he had humility when others around him had none.
It’s a shame some of his major buys/loans didn’t work out but his affection for the club has not dwindled since his acrimonious and, some would say, unprofessional way his departure was dealt out to him.
I hope he receives a warm welcome back. I will clap him to the away dugout; he deserves that at least.
On Tuesday Reading were beaten by a injury-time goal at promotion-chasing Middlesbrough.
My predictions of late have not been positive but this Saturday I’m going to go for a Leeds win.
Prediction: Leeds United 2 Reading 1.
Reading will arrive at Elland Road tomorrow amid their own controversy, albeit the well-publicised spat between their captain Paul McShane and team-mate Danny Williams during their defeat to Middlesbrough on Tuesday probably wouldn’t rate as newsworthy in a typical week at Leeds United!
Reading narrowly lost to Boro but perhaps more relevant to the Leeds game was their 2 – 0 home defeat to Birmingham last Saturday, a Birmingham side that we outplayed for an hour this week.
The Royals, like ourselves, are neither going up nor down this season and indeed they have a near identical record to us going into this game. I have no doubt that if Leeds can continue to play as they did in that first half at Birmingham we can comfortably beat Reading but, as we all know, it is rarely as simple as that in LS11!
Prediction: Leeds United 3 Reading 1.
Reading are in the same boat as us: nothing to play for and waiting for the season to end. It seems a long time since we went there in the second weekend. It will be good to welcome Brian McDermott back but I think he’ll take all three points.
Prediction: Leeds United 1 Reading 2.
A victory on the pitch on Tuesday was massively overshadowed by the defeat that Leeds United suffered in the courtroom on Wednesday as once again the club was shown to be a disorganised shambles.
Lucy Ward’s employment tribunal victory saw the disorganised state of Massimo Cellino’s Leeds United highlighted. It appears that a shambolic defence is not restricted to the football pitch, with the club’s legal team making as much of a mess of their case as the back four have made of many games this season.
Steve Evans continues to seem unsure of his best XI, particularly in the front six which changes both personnel and shape on a game by game basis.
Tomorrow sees the return of Brian McDermott to Elland Road, a man who was the unwitting first victim of Massimo Cellino’s chaotic reign. The unauthorised sacking of McDermott saw demonstrations against the Italian on the day he arrived. It will be interesting to see if this week’s antics add numbers to the planned demonstration against him tomorrow. Leeds fans who have had enough of Massimo’s madness will be Marching On Together in protest. Hopefully he get’s the message and realises that enough is enough. Prediction: Leeds United 2 Reading 1.
It’s a week where even a rare win doesn’t detract from the off-field horror show being presided over by Massimo Cellino.
Alex Mowatt’s red card means he will likely miss the game against Reading but Lewis Cook and Charlie Taylor will play and, like Sam Byram, Jonny Howson, Fabian Delph and others before them, they owe plenty to Lucy Ward, a huge asset to Leeds United for nearly two decades. She even scored in Lucas Radebe’s testimonial.
United fans will march in protest ahead of the game and let’s just hope it goes some way to hastening the exit of a regime that is bringing weekly, almost daily, shame to the club and us fans.
Prediction: Leeds United 0 Reading 0.