Sunderland v Leeds United: YEP jury predictions

Stuart Taylor.
Stuart Taylor.
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Our YEP Jury believe the FA Cup offers Neil Redfearn a chance to shake up his team selection.

STEPHEN CLARK

2014 was a disastrous year for Leeds United and we start 2015 against a side which has provided one of the worst moments in the club’s history.

The FA Cup final defeat to Sunderland remains a painful one to supporters of a certain vintage. Injustices may have cost Leeds a couple of European trophies in Salonika and Paris, but the Whites only had themselves to blame at Wembley in 1973.

It was a game that saw the great Revie side almost freeze on the day, against a second division side that had nothing to lose. Ian Porterfield’s goal and Jim Montgomery’s miracle save are images which are scarred on the brain of all those who witnessed them on that wet May afternoon.

The tables have turned as Leeds head to the Stadium of Light on Sunday. Sunderland are fighting for their Premier League life and are far from the all-conquering side that Leeds were back in the Seventies, but United seem light years away from even reaching the top flight, given the state of the club at the moment.

Tuesday night at Derby was as spineless and gutless a performance as I have seen. The concession of a goal seems to knock what little fight the team has out of them and the second half was an abject display of ineptitude. Questions remain regarding who is selecting the team, but if Neil Redfearn is indeed his own man, then he needs to build a side in his own image.

The FA Cup offers him the chance to do that, even if he only tells the owner he is resting the “undroppables”.

Stuart Taylor must play in place of the shell-shocked Silvestri, Dario Del Fabro has to be given a chance in defence in place of the liability that is Bellusci, and most importantly Tomasso Bianchi must be left out. Luke Murphy offers more energy than the Italian and can be no worse in terms of passing the ball.

Up front it would be good to see Bryan Montenegro and Billy Sharp given a chance to prove they have what it takes to get the goals that might get Leeds out of this mess, and what better opportunity will they have in a game where, like Sunderland in 73, we have nothing to lose.

As usual Leeds will be backed by thousands of die-hard fans, but should things go wrong, rather than the usual blind support of the team, it would be great to actually hear a bit of dissension at what is happening to our great club.

Our loyalty has been taken for granted for far too long. 2015 should be the year we do everything we can to get our club back.

Prediction: Not bothered about the result, I just want to see a bit of passion...

KEITH INGHAM

Probably one of the lowest moments of a terrible year, Derby County showed that Leeds have a mountain to climb to keep out of the relegation places.

Leeds, thankfully, take a break from the Championship this weekend as an FA Cup visit to Sunderland beckons, reviving memories of the 1973 final when, the then Division Two team beat the holders and is still one of the biggest shocks in this competition’s history.

The Wearsiders are 14th in the Premiership but only six points off the third relegation place. Gus Poyet will hopefully rest a few of his first team as usually the FA Cup is not one of the priorities of teams in the Premier League, or it isn’t until they get to the later stages.

I’m hoping that Taylor, Berardi, Del Fabro, Sloth get a chance and surely Montenegro or Adyran could be used out wide to give the team a little width.

I’d also use Byram on the right of midfield instead of his usual right-back role. It’s time to try something a little different as the system presently used isn’t working.

Prediction: Sunderland 2 Leeds United 2.

MATTHEW EVANS

If you’ve never heard of Jim Montgomery or Bob Stokoe then enjoy it while it lasts because Sunderland v Leeds United in the FA Cup only means one thing to most pundits – 1973.

The tables are turned for this one and it will be a shock if United pull off a victory especially given our recent league form.

Neil Redfearn should use this to try something a bit different, we have nothing to lose and we are running out of time for experimenting in the league. This game will be a good test for the young players and, if we cut out the defensive mix ups, I think we can take it to a replay.

Prediction: Sunderland 1 Leeds United 1.

GARY NEWBOULD

The game will revive bitter memories of 1973, but this time out a Whites’ victory would most definitely be the upset.

I expect a defeat, dream for a draw and definitely don’t want a replay. I’d gladly swap any result here for three points in the next league game.

Prediction: Sunderland 3 Leeds United 1.

JAMES HARRISON

I don’t know what to expect for the game against Sunderland. I wouldn’t be too surprised if we win because we always seem to perform against the big teams.

However, with the way we are playing it wouldn’t be a surprise if we got beaten by six. I hope some changes are made by Redfearn because the performance against Derby was embarrassing. The players seemed to give up and that is not acceptable for our football club. Billy Sharp must be really frustrated, the striker can’t get a run of games but he seems our only goal threat at the moment. The 6,000 fans will be out in force hoping for a cup upset!

Prediction: Sunderland 3 Leeds United 1.

JONATHAN FORD

Surely 2015 can’t be worse for LUFC than 2014, so a distraction from the league could be the ideal confidence boost.

Result aside, just showing pride in the shirt, and a shot would be nice too! I’m going for another Premier League scalp.

Prediction: Sunderland 0 Leeds United 1.

Thomas Christiansen directs his players from the sidelines at Loftus Road on Saturday afternoon. 
Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Watch: Thomas Christiansen’s post-match press conference after Leeds United’s 3-1 win at QPR