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FA Cup Third Round preview: Leeds United vs. Rotherham United

Anything can happen, but Leeds should beat the Millers at a rainy Elland Road today.

Joe Newell strikes a pose; let's send him out of the FA Cup today.
Joe Newell strikes a pose; let's send him out of the FA Cup today.
Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Neil Redfearn and his Rotherham United are no strangers to Leeds United: the two teams last clashed in the Championship less than 2 months ago. It was the former fan-favourite and ex-Leeds United Head Coach Redfearn who came away as victor in that 1 – nil reversal. Berradi and Leon Best both saw red in that match, both with cards and literally, as Berradis nose became acquainted with Leon Bests elbow.

But Redfearn came off second best in the battle of the parking spaces with Massimo Cellino, according to the media. Much ado about nothing was reported on that day when designated parking spots given to Rotherham were taken up by the officials of the visiting club (not Cellino) without them leaving one for their own manager.

When asked in his Thursday press conference about the parking incident, Steve Evans joked that perhaps Redfearn should roll up in a camouflage Bentley like that of Mario Balotelli to avoid the attention.

Rotherham have been allocated 1437 tickets for the game and pay on the day is available. However, with ticket sales slow and the attendance expected to be sub 18,000 (not to mention the rain), it is my guess there will be no shortage of available space at Elland Road on Saturday. A low turnout is expected on Saturday and many parts of the Ground are closed.

This is an irony considering the recent complaints surrounding Leeds’s fixture changes and the lack of traditional Saturday 3 o’clock kickoffs affecting attendance. It is also a shame considering there have been some epic FA Cup 3rd round encounters.

Anything Could Happen is the BBC’s FA Cup promotion slogan for the 3rd round, and they're right of course. Who can forget that game on January 3, 2010?

Players to Watch

Gambian international Mustapha Carayol is a recent addition to Leeds United, coming in on loan from Championship rivals Middlesbrough for the rest of the season. The talented, pacey, winger who can play on the left or right is working his way back from injury; he was out for 10 months after an anterior cruciate ligament injury. It will be his second loan spell this season, having featured for Huddersfield Town 15 times and scoring 3 goals. He was popular in the dressing room at both Middlesbrough and Huddersfield and is well known to Steve Evans having played for his Crawley Town side. Carayol has been cleared by his parent club to play in the FA Cup for Leeds and must fancy his chances of featuring at some point in Saturday's cup tie.

Another player working his way back from injury is free agent and former Leeds hero Luciano Becchio. Becchio has been in training with the Millers for the last 2 weeks and has impressed. It is thought this game may be coming too soon for him to feature, but there’s an outside chance given the platform.

Leeds fans will be hoping it is an off day Rotherham's top scorer Jonson Clark-Harris. Clark-Harris will be hoping to add to his tally of 6 so far this term.

WHAT:

Leeds United v. Rotherham United

FA Cup, Third Round

WHERE:

Elland Road, Leeds

WHEN:

7:00 am PT / 10:00 am ET / 3:00pm BT

WHO:
Leeds United

Silvestri, Coyle, Bellusci, Cooper, Taylor, Byram, Bridcutt, Murphy, Carayol, Antenucci, Doukara

Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Wootton, Bamba, Phillips, Cook, Bianchi, Dallas

Rotherham United

Camp, Richardson, Broadfoot, Belaid, Mattock, Facey, Green, Smallwood, Newell, G. Ward, D. Ward

Subs: Cairns, Collins, Thorpe, Warren, Ledesma, Derbyshire, Clarke-Harris

ODDS:

Leeds Win: Even

Draw: 12/5

Rotherham Win: 14/5

Stats:

Delving as far back in history as 1952, there have been 13 games at Elland Road between the 2 clubs. 6 games have been won by Leeds, Rotherham 4, with 3 draws.

From their last 5 outings home and away, Rotherham have won 2 and lost 3, conceding 8 goals and also scoring 8. Leeds are unbeaten in 7. Of those 7 games, Leeds have drawn 4 and won 3, scoring 10 and conceding 7.

Prediction:

I expect team changes on both sides due to loanees coming in and regulars being rested. Both teams will be cautious and errors not withstanding this may be a close call. I’ll go for a draw at 1-1.

Luciano Becchio is a free agent and on the verge of signing for Rotherham. Do you think Leeds should make a move for the Argentinian? There would be no transfer fee, and Leeds are in need of options up front? Let us know what you think by leaving your comments below.