YEP Jury: Leeds United talisman Pablo Hernandez must get more match minutes

Our panel of fans look ahead to Leeds United’s trip to Blackburn Rovers tomorrow and give their big match predictions.

Friday, 3rd July 2020, 6:00 am

DAVID WATKINS

Never has our rollercoaster been as self-evident as it was on Tuesday. Following that scintillating, awe-inspiring second half against Fulham, we all expected we’d beat Luton.

But, just as we saw earlier this season, that infamous second half at Elland Road against Cardiff, and at Cardiff last week, we are capable of being a lacklustre, uninspiring unit at times.

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Fans hope Pablo Hernandez, pictured putting in a cross against Luton on Tuesday, will play more minutes against Blackburn. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JJPIMedia.

We are always better set-up against teams coming at us rather than the ones that ‘park the bus’, and add to that our failure to put away ‘big chances’ and, now and again, poor teams will steal points off us. Blackburn need points; they go into this game after defeats to Wigan and Barnsley, though they are almost as unpredictable as Leeds, having recently beaten Bristol City 3-1 and will still hope to snatch a play-off spot.

For me, Pablo Hernandez has to start and we have to play with the belief we saw against Fulham, not the fear we saw on Tuesday. Either way, I reckon we’ll have to settle for another point while we search for some consistency.

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1 Leeds United 1.

MATTHEW EVANS

Leeds United captain Liam Cooper picked up a knock against Luton Town and is a doubt to face Blackburn. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia.

Why I ever thought that this was going to be easy I don’t know. Yet again we should have beaten the opposition quite comfortably on Tuesday night, the stats said it all. Instead, we made heavy weather of Luton Town, only managed a point and our three closest rivals all made up two points on us.

Our form post-lockdown is hardly convincing. We’ve dominated Cardiff and Luton and come away with only a point and we’ve been dominated by Fulham while managing a 3-0 victory.

That level of unpredictability will settle no nerves whatsoever as we go into the last six games. The loss of Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas to injury was a real blow – the latter definitely won’t feature tomorrow.

Blackburn have also had a patchy restart though their home form is generally good. We need a win at Ewood Park to settle nerves and take us within touching distance of promotion. We’re almost there but it could all be undone so easily if we don’t collect the points when they’re on offer.

Stuart Dallas, equalising against Luton on Tuesday, is an will miss tomorrow's game at Blackburn. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia.

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 0 Leeds United 1.

JACOB STARR

A 1-1 draw on Tuesday against bottom-of-the-table Luton has reignited the nerves amongst most Leeds fans going into the final six matches. But there is no need to panic just yet.

The points gap to Brentford, who are flying at the minute, has narrowed to six, although I would certainly prefer to be where we are at the minute rather than part of the chasing pack. It might be a scary thought, but promotion is still in our own hands.

Gjanni Alioski applauds the crowdies after the 1-1 draw with Luton Town. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Despite being held by the Hatters, the Whites dominated every stat except goals scored. Patrick Bamford and Helder Costa missed sitters after Stuart Dallas had equalised just before the second-half drinks break.

The trip to Ewood Park tomorrow is crucial. Blackburn have lost their last two by two goals to nil, the most recent coming on Tuesday against second-bottom Barnsley. We have to win.

As long as Pablo Hernandez starts or gets more minutes off the bench than on Tuesday, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. We look lost without him, though. It would also help if we practised corners.

The Bees, meanwhile, face Wigan which is probably their toughest of the remaining fixtures, with the Latics sitting at the summit of the league started in the New Year. All Wigan aren’t we?

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 0 Leeds United 2.

KEITH INGHAM

After Tuesday’s disappointing draw with Luton, Leeds start the last six games with a six-point gap to third and a one-point gap over West Brom after the Baggies’ 3-0 win on Wednesday.

Tomorrow’s game at Blackburn Rovers is another tough fixture; they are only a few points from the top six and would take great pleasure in trying to stop United from achieving their ultimate goal.

Leeds will be without one of their players of the season in Stuart Dallas. Liam Cooper, who went off injured against Luton, hopefully will be fit to face Rovers.

The question everybody was asking after the Luton game was whether Pablo Hernandez will start and, if he does, who out of the XI that started will be omitted. For me, Tyler Roberts deserves a shot at leading the line.

Patrick Bamford will probably start but the striker isn’t pulling up trees and the pressure on him to score seems to be weighing heavily.

Maybe a game on the bench would give him the proverbial kick up the backside he needs in some fans’ eyes.

It’s another massive game for the club and, once again, a win is needed to keep the breathing space between them and third intact.

It will be close but I’m going for a Leeds win.

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1 Leeds United 2.

ANDY RHODES

So far this season, Leeds have done well when redemption has been on the agenda.

Tuesday’s result wasn’t the end of the world but it certainly could have been better.

Luton were never going to come to Elland Road to play, but you’d expect United to have found a solution to that problem by now.

Tomorrow they might find instead that Rovers, who are still in pursuit of a play-offs place, will be playing to win.

After two disappointing results since the restart, time is getting away from Tony Mowbray’s side.

With the hosts needing a result, they may leave spaces the likes of Pablo Hernandez can exploit. He changed the game again on Tuesday, as did Gjanni Alioski.

But will Marcelo Bielsa be tempted to play them from the start?

Soon he may have to risk Hernandez from the outset to get a faster grip on the remaining games.

This really is the business end of the season. Leeds can’t afford to do things by halves.

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1 Leeds United 1.

MIKE GILL

After the uplifting and sublime performance against Fulham, the Whites came sharply down to earth with a predictably dour and scrappy encounter with struggling Luton.

Many of the older hands were not totally surprised that the game played out to a 1-1 draw despite United’s domination of every measurable statistic except for the goals-to-chances ratio.

This was the Championship at its ugly worst.

However, we can be sure that there will be more games like this to come in the next few weeks. Let us just hope that Leeds can emerge from most of them with three points.

United travel to Blackburn tomorrow to meet a team that has problems of its own. They celebrated the resumption of football in style with a 3-1 win over Bristol City and were seen as possible play-off gatecrashers.

Unfortunately, they then lost to financially-challenged Wigan and struggling Barnsley. This is the Championship.

Having thrown the magic beans in the air, I am predicting a narrow win for Leeds.

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1 Leeds United 2.

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