It is easy being a Leeds fan these days to be distracted by all the off field shenanigans but we do actually have a game this weekend as we take on Hull City at Elland Road. Steve Evans had experienced a little honeymoon period with draws against Fulham and Bolton and wins against Cardiff and Huddersfield but that has faded in recent weeks with losses to Rotherham and QPR. A loss on Saturday and the pressure will very much be back on.
Hull City on the other hand are sitting pretty in the play-off positions. They may have lost their last two matches, albeit one a defeat to Manchester City in the League Cup Quarter Final, with their last league match a defeat to Derby but they have chalked up convincing wins against Middlesbrough, Brentford and MK Dons recently. This will not be an easy game for Leeds, especially with the added mention of former captain Robert Snodgrass lining up for the Tigers after returning from 16 months out due to a serious knee injury.
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It’s been a while since the two sides have met but the head to head results back in 2012 when Hull were last in the Championship do not make great reading for Leeds suffering a 3-2 defeat at Elland Road and a 2-0 defeat over sat the KC Stadium. It was a little different the year before when Leeds won 4-1 at Elland Road, one of the scorers that day was Robert Snodgrass.
With Berardi still suspended and Sam Byrams future at the club still shrouded in a cloud of mystery it is likely Scott Wootton will feature at right back with a central defensive partnership of Bellusci and Cooper. Our problem recently has been our midfield, our youngsters are undoubtedly talented but the midfield has looked small and lightweight. It also doesn’t help playing a formation that does not get the best of our players with talent wasted out of position.
I’d like to see Murphy securing the midfield in a deeper role and Mowatt given the chance to get forward from a central role. The other central midfield role likely to come from Birdcutt or Cook. Botaka for me has been one of our liveliest players when he has had the chance and should be starting out wide. Dallas will undoubtable take the other wide position.
There is of course the question of who to start up front, Antenucci and Wood have been slightly toothless in recent weeks but perhaps that hasn’t been entirely their fault. Wood needs players to break forward and give him support, give him someone to hold the ball up for. Antenucci needs balls played in behind and from the wings. The midfield is the driving force behind a team and Evens needs to get this right for the rest to perform.
Whatever the line-up Saturday is going to be a tough game and with everything going on off the field (again) it’s not one I can see us winning. Let’s hope the surprise me.
Leeds v Hull Preview