Leeds United fans are all-too-familiar with the lack of midweek victories in London. However, there was no mention of Tuesday night hoodoo in Steve Evans’ press conference today. Opting for a more upbeat take on his team's chances, Evans insisted he wants to sting the Bees and instead the focus for LUFC is not on Saturday at Bolton for the FA Cup but remains on winning games in the Championship.
Buoyed by their weekend victory over Championship strugglers Bristol City, Evans wants to carry on the upward curve with a victory at Griffin Park tonight and close the playoff gap to 8 points instead of 11. It remains to be seen if his players are not looking beyond tonight’s fixture towards the big match on Saturday.
Leeds, having lost 2 games on the bounce, defeated Bristol City at Elland Road on Saturday with Doukara’s second half lucky strike the only goal of the game. Brentford have not won at Griffin Park in 4 home outings and have scored just 1 solitary goal in those games, but they sit in 10th place, four points ahead of the Whites. The Bees were victorious on the road at Preston over the weekend, defeating them 3-1, snapping a four-game losing streak as well. Historically, their home form against Leeds is good, and their 11 wins to Leeds' 8 shows a difference in class thus far this season as well.
Leeds have won just 3 games from a total of 14 at Brentford. There have been 5 victories for Brentford and the remaining 6 games drawn.
Players to watch
All eyes will be on former Bees Midfielder and fan favorite Toumani Diagouraga. The Frenchman joined the Elland Road outfit in a £575,000 move, signing as late as Monday directly from Brentford. He was an ever-present at Brentford until United came calling, so there is no doubt of his match fitness and he may well start against the team he played for not two weeks ago.
Chris Wood was used as a 2nd half substitute to much effect on Saturday and given game time will be eager to get on a scoring run.
Brentford’s Alan Judge’s form in 2015 saw him called up to the Republic of Ireland Squad for their crucial play off qualifier v. Bosnia Herzegovina. It also earned him interest from ambitious Championship clubs Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley. His danger is proven by his goal v. Preston away last weekend.
Twice capped for Austria and former Sturm Graz Striker Marco Djuricin brings experience to the Bees side and has netted 4 times since arriving on loan from Red Bull Salzburg. However, he has been on the sidelines since November due to injury and has only recently made the subs bench again.
Sergi Canos is an up-and-coming star on loan from Liverpool. He has recently made his debut appearance for the Spanish U19 International side, and the midfielder may be called upon to fill in for the departed Diagouraga.
Leeds United at Brentford FC
Football League Championship
Griffin Park, Brentford, Hounslow
Tuesday, January 26th, 2016
11:45am PT / 2:45pm ET / 7:45pm BT
Leeds United (Updated 6:45pm BT)
Silvestri, Wootton, Bellusci, Cooper, Taylor, Dallas, Bridcutt, Murphy, Cook, Doukara, Wood
Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Coyle, Adeyemi, Diagouraga, Phillips, Carayol, Antenucci.
Button, Colin, Bidwell, Dean, Saunders, McEachran, Woods, Judge, Swift, Vibe, Barbet
Subs: Bonham, Djuricin, Hofmann, Kerschbaumer, O'Connell, Yennaris, Gogia
Leeds have struggled for shots on target of late, and Brentford have struggled to find the mark at home. This will probably be another low-scoring game. 1-1 is the prediction.
With Leeds lacking fire-power, was Evans right to bring in another midfielder? Where should Leeds strengthen next? Do you think they're done for this window? Let us know in the comments below, and don't forget to follow along with us at @ThruItAllLIVE on Twitter. Thanks for reading. #MOT