YEP Jury: ‘If Leeds United can win this one, then I truly believe it’s our season...’

Marcelo Bielsa.
Marcelo Bielsa.
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Have your say

Our fans’ panel have their say on Leeds United’s big Championship derby with rivals Sheffield United.

ANDY RHODES

Sheffield United's Billy Sharp.

Sheffield United's Billy Sharp.

Looking back, can you think of a bigger Leeds game in recent years?

Tomorrow’s game with Sheffield United is arguably the Whites’ most important fixture since Bristol Rovers almost nine years ago – and everybody knows it. From fans to players to pundits, this game is being built up as if promotion hinges solely on one period of 90 minutes.

Even Pontus Jansson requested that fans arrive early to create an atmosphere during the warm-up.

However, Marcelo Bielsa will want to treat it like any other game, particularly after the Norwich game last month. To win, Bielsa will need to outwit a master tactician in Chris Wilder whose unorthodox formation has got the better of many managers this season.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder.

The Blades will be up for the fight and won’t be afraid to play, but Wilder will be all too aware of the fate suffered by West Brom when they tried to do the same.

If Leeds can repeat that performance even half as well, it could be a special weekend.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sheffield United 2.

DAVID WATKINS

Nine games to go and it’s in our own hands! The maths is simple; if we don’t lose to the Blades and then win the other eight games we are promoted automatically regardless of what the rest do!

Okay, it’s probably not going to happen like that, is it? But tomorrow’s game with Sheffield United is a monster; win it and we would be one huge step closer to promotion.

Leeds have turned a poor run of five defeats in seven at the start of the year into a promotion-chasing run of five wins from six games since.

But it is not only Leeds but also Norwich and Sheffield United that have hit form at this crucial time and it is still not clear which two sides will achieve automatic promotion.

If anything, the Blades are in the best form of all, with just one league defeat from 12 games since January 1 and fresh from an eye-popping 2-0 victory over in-form Brentford this week playing with 10 men for an hour.

Elland Road is the hottest ticket in town; let battle commence!

Prediction: Leeds United 0 Sheffield United 0.

MATTHEW EVANS

A wonderful win on Tuesday night took us a game closer to promotion but provided no respite from the Championship dogfight as Sheffield United and Norwich City matched our performance yet again.

Tomorrow presents a real chance to open up a gap, albeit one that would still be fragile in the context of the rest of the season.

We are approaching that seeming invincibility that we enjoyed earlier in the season and it’s hard to look past Leeds for tomorrow’s game.

But Sheffield United will be very tough opponents and both sides deserve to go up to the Premier League alongside Norwich.

We’ve never been particularly good on a Saturday lunchtime in a crunch game.

Just the idea of it fills me with dread.

There will be a nervous and tetchy crowd, the winter sun’s glare will blind everybody’s eyes and Sky TV will take over the ground and take over our story for 90 minutes.

If we can win this one then I truly believe it’s our season.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sheffield United 0.

KEITH INGHAM

Two unbeaten teams, second versus third and a West v South Yorkshire derby – what more could you ask for?

It is a great opportunity for Leeds to put clear daylight between themselves and their nearest, not dearest rivals.

One thing for certain is that a full Elland Road will be rocking when the referee blows the whistle to start the game.

Chris Wilder has done a superb job in getting the best out of the squad he has, a mixture of youth and experience with Billy Sharp still ‘banging’ them in when selected.

The Blades will be without Gary Madine who was given a straight red card for a poor challenge in the game against Brentford. Last season Sheffield United did the double over Leeds, but this time it is Leeds who can do the same.

Leeds will probably line up for the sixth-straight time unchanged, that itself is testament to how well the players have been playing recently.

It looks like a game with goals in it and a draw might be the outcome as two of the top three meet head on.

If, mind you, Leeds do manage to get the three points, even this usually-cynical supporter may be tempted to put a bottle of the fizzy stuff in the fridge.

Get those scarves swinging and sing your hearts out for the lads!

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sheffield United 1.

MIKE GILL

The Whites clinically dissected Reading who made the mistake of trying to play them at their own game.

The problem for Reading was that they had neither the skill nor the energy to compete in this fashion.

This meant that the game was effectively over by half-time and profligacy from Patrick Bamford and Pablo Hernandez prevented a rout.

Still, it was easy to forgive them both.

While all this was happening, the Blades were beating travel-sick Brentford despite being reduced to 10 men after 35 minutes.

Of course they were!

Difficult as it is, keeping an eye on your rivals’ results will serve no useful purpose at this stage of the season.

Leeds United’s destiny is in their own hands.

A positive result from tomorrow’s match is vitally important for the health and sanity of us all.

Grim determination must prevail and this side are more likely to deliver the result than any other for many years.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sheffield United 1.

SHAUN SMITH

‘The biggest game of our lives’ – that’s what Cheerleader General, Pontus Jansson, called the battle with the Blades. He’s probably right.

A victory makes this season a little more comfortable. A gap emerges between the top two and the rest and we can all rest a little easier in our beds. However, in the subsequent round of games, whilst Leeds host Millwall our nearest rivals take on Boro and Bristol City.

The point is, the derby against Sheffield United is important but so is the one against Wednesday some weeks later. This weekend’s game is important but not vital. It’s too early for that.

Leeds have been playing some marvellous football of late and eased to a midweek win over Reading. Sheffield meanwhile slugged it out with 10 men.

Leeds should be the fresher but it is the team who best deals with the pressure who will win the day.

Chris Wilder’s team have overachieved and the play-offs will be seen as an achievement for them.

Leeds, meanwhile, should embrace the big match knowing they are the best team in the league.

Kalvin Phillips is going to be important cutting out Wilder’s unique ‘centre-field underlaps’ but that’s fine because Phillips is the best in the league too.

Belt-up, sing up and good luck everyone.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sheffield United 1.