Leeds have a very tough match ahead as Oldham Athletic visits Elland Road. It should be no surprise that long-time Leeds man, John Sheridan, is particularly motivated against his old squad. Last year he had Leeds number, handing them a beastly 3-1 loss and narrowly losing 1-0 on a late goal during the early season run of victories. The history is a jagged tale some fifteen years-old now but simply-stated, expect the absolute best from Oldham and Leeds will need the vocal support of fans for this one.
In the opening match of the season, Oldham came back from a 3-1 disadvantage to defeat Millwall in a highly physical match. After Millwall went down a man late, Oldham started to breath fire and substitutes Danny Whitaker, Lewis Alessandra and Lee Hughes sparked them to three unanswered goals and a 4-3 victory.
Oldham possess a wealth of offensively minded-talent including the striking duo of Wales capped Craig Davies and the very promising Chris O'Grady. Leeds gets a reprieve with the fine Welshman as he is starting the first of his three match ban and nineteen year-old Lewis Alessandra will likely get the nod in his place. Twenty-one year-old winger Chris Taylor is a superb talent and to be honest, they will be hard pressed to keep him at this level before the transfer window closes. Defensively Leeds will need to be ready and as you may have guessed, I waiting for Gary McAllister to call upon Paul Telfer to lead the defensive crew.
Leeds winger Robert Snodgrass is questionable and will undergo a pre-match fitness test. His impact has been immediate and attacking options will need to be reshuffled in his absence. While not the most pleasant time to break this little tid-bit but clubs are circling for Jermaine Beckford and while the line has been that there will be "no deals", it might be difficult to avoid for the right price. Leeds weaknesses last year in playing Oldham have virtually been eliminated by Gary McAllister, so we have a chess match between two who faced each other on the pitch as players and now as coaches.
Leeds must expose the Oldham defending weakness against speed and flanking attacks and go at it ruthlessly with Jermaine Beckford, Enoch Showunmi and of-course Luciano Becchio. This is perfectly suited to this seasons Leeds attack and the screw will get turned through the midfield play of Jonny Howson and Andy Robinson. With pace being so important in attacking The Lactics, Fabian Delph should be part of the equation.
I will be posting a full review after the match concludes. Until then, We’re Marching On Together