Back to Championship football for Leeds after their comfortable victory against Doncaster on Tuesday. QPR are the visitors as Leeds look to continue an unbeaten start to the season, and a win against Rangers could see the Whites top the SkyBet Championship table. Albeit, only for a few hours.
Rangers themselves are also unbeaten in the league. They sit 4th on 10 points with three wins and a draw. One of their three victories have come against opposition that Brian McDermott’s side have also beaten, Ipswich Town, whilst they’ve also beaten Sheffield Wednesday – a side United could only draw against – and Bolton Wanderers, who we face after this tough outing.
How will Rangers line-up? I would expect their back five of Green, Simpson, Dunne, Onouha and Hill to remain unchanged. Looking at that you can see their left side lacks pace, this would be a perfect game for a winger, eh? But we have to make do with what we’ve got at the moment, so I think McDermott may give Dom Poleon another start, where he can cause problems for the likes of Hill and Dunne. In their midfield, I think we’ll probably see maybe one change – Hoilett coming in for O’Neil. On the opposite wing we’ll most likely see Shaun Wright-Phillips. The first thing that springs to mind when you see these two on the team sheet is pace. Peltier and Warnock have got to be on their game to stop these two having a major impact on the game. In the middle they’ve got steel with Karl Henry – a Summer signing from Wolves, and Joey Barton. Up top I suspect it’ll be two out of three – Charlie Austin, Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora.
With no signings during the week I can’t see Brian McDermott changing much from the side that beat Ipswich last weekend. Scott Wootton and Alex Mowatt both made their debuts in the midweek victory over Doncaster, and it wouldn’t surprise me if either made their league debuts this weekend. Wootton would replace Pearce, if he was to start. Tom Lees was rested for Tuesdays game, not even appearing on the subs bench, so I think he’ll be back in the starting XI.
Mowatt replaced Paul Green in the midfield on Tuesday night, and produced a sterling display which impressed not only Brian McDermott but the whole of the Leeds crowd at the Keepmoat. I’d love to see him keep his place but I think McDermott will continue with Green patrolling the defensive midfield position. Michael Tonge started the game as well, but Luke Murphy, who has impressed me so far this season, will no doubt come back into the fray. Both, Ross McCormack and Rodolph Austin are both likely to keep their places as Brian looks to make it 5 unbeaten in the league and 7 in all competitions this season. Ross has been in very good form this season, scoring 4 goals in the process, and hopefully he can bag a couple more come Saturday.
Up front, Luke Varney bagged his first of the season at Ipswich, and Matt Smith likewise in the victory over Doncaster. I think McDermott may start them two together, although the chance to put Poleon up against Dunne and Hill may give us more of a chance to get in behind QPR’s defence.
How I’d like to see us line up.
How I think we’ll line up.
Back at Elland Road again, but with the game being live on Sky I just can’t see past a crowd of post 25,000. I can’t really see 25,000 people, judging by the stadium plan, although you can’t really look into it too much with people purchasing tickets on the day. My guess is around 23,000 (as of Thursday) but after recent meetings between LUST, LUSC and LUFC themselves, all are trying to pull the fans together to fill up Elland Road.
I’ve always been pessimistic about Leeds United, well up until this season. Now I’m really excited about the rest of the season. With the opportunity of going top of the table, the players should undoubtedly be fired up ahead of the game, and if we perform to the standard we’re capable of, we can win the game. I personally think we will win 2-0 – a repeat of the win three seasons ago. My goal-scoring predictions are Matt Smith and Ross McCormack.