David Prutton: Three Whites points vital but Sheffield Wednesday won't sit back faced with Leeds United task

I THINK IT’S vital that Leeds United get three points in today’s Championship Yorkshire derby at Sheffield Wednesday, especially when you look at Leeds being wasteful in certain games.

By David Prutton
Saturday, 26th October 2019, 6:00 am
OFF TARGET: Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford at Preston North End. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
OFF TARGET: Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford at Preston North End. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

There have been matches where Leeds really have dominated possession and goal attempts but without managing to kill teams off such as Tuesday night’s clash at Preston. That makes a game such as this even more important.

Leeds are coming up against a Sheffield Wednesday side with former Leeds boss Garry Monk in charge and an Owls side that are doing really well.

You could say Wednesday’s start is surprising, not in the sense of ‘oh my God I can’t believe that Wednesday are like that’ but in the sense of we thought they would be in the mix, but not necessarily where they are.

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Today’s game is going to be really, really tough for Leeds and a test of their ability to kill teams off but Wednesday won’t sit back and they have got some very, very good players who can hurt Leeds.

It should make for a cracking atmosphere and this fixture has provided goals in the past so hopefully if you are sat there watching as a fan of Yorkshire football it throws up that type of entertainment.

The key to dealing with the atmosphere of a Yorkshire derby is being big, brave and not being shy of getting on the ball.

Yes, challenges matter and yes, the heat of the battle matters but a cool head has got to be absolutely paramount.

I have the pleasure of saying I have played in a fixture such as that and having played at Hillsborough and Elland Road which are both fantastic places to play football.

When you are kicking around with your mate on the school field or the green at the back of your house, you imagine playing at a Hillsborough or at an Elland Road that is loud, noisy and full and that’s exactly what it will be.

A 2-2 draw will do for me with football the real winner but it’s so tight at the top with Leeds only two points off top spot but only two clear of 10th place. It’s quite a flat division.

Leeds are one point better off than they were at this stage last season so incrementally that’s an improvement but in the rest of the division and especially in the top half there’s some real competition there.

Leeds need to make sure that they can kill teams off and they need to make sure that this possession and domination of the ball and attempts is turned into three points because otherwise it is going to be a disappointment.

There is plenty to be extremely happy with and you get the sense the fans are extremely happy with what Marcelo Bielsa has done and what the players are doing but there is a certain slight toughness to marrying up the performances with the points tally so far.

You would look at it and how Leeds have played in games and how they have dominated in games and presume they would have a healthy lead at the top, but they don’t which just goes to show that for all the ball they have had they still need that absolute killer instinct.

Whether to play Patrick Bamford or Eddie Nketiah in the lone striker role obviously remains the main debate because Nktetiah came on again against Preston and scored the equaliser.

I thought what Marcelo said to put into context was very telling, the fact that it’s not just about the goals, it’s about what Bamford brings to the side playing within a framework.

If he just abandons him at the first sign of things not going 100 per cent smoothly then what message does that give to players?

I can understand that but it’s going to get to the point where if Eddie is coming on and scoring nigh on all the time then it would be very, very hard to ignore him.

If you look at the collective of what United want to be this season which by the end of it is a Premier League side, then sometimes sacrifices have to be made.

I understand the loyalty Marcelo is showing to the players ie Bamford, I absolutely understand that.

But if it means them getting into the Premier League then I am sure players that dip in and out of the team would absolutely understand that.

*Sky Bet Championship on Sky Sports – today: Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds United, Sky Sports Main Event, noon. Tomorrow: Swansea City v Cardiff City – Sky Sports Main Event, 11.30.