Today in Rotherham, Leeds United have a golden opportunity to bounce back into the play off places. The Whites are currently flirting with the top six whilst today’s opponents, Rotherham United, are flirting with relegation at the wrong end of the table.
With Norwich having a difficult trip to Derby, Leeds United can move back to 6th position should Norwich not win. Three points is the minimum I will accept against a team in the current form of Rotherham. Anything less and we could slide down the ladder to as low as 12th. Not acceptable.
Winless and luckless
Rotherham have not won a league game since August 20th (their only League win of the season) and so are winless in their last 5 home games. However, they often produce in this West vs. South Yorkshire derby, winning 4 of the last 5 encounters at home, and doing the double over Leeds last season, much to our dismay.
This season, they have conceded the most goals in the Championship so far with 41. Kenny Jackett has been brought in as Manager to stop the rot and although he’s only 4 weeks into his 3 year contract, little has changed at the New York Stadium.
Adding to their woes Rotherham will be without starting striker Dexter Blackstock up front and midfielder Lee Frecklington.
For Leeds, Pablo Hernandez is expected to be missing for the next few weeks, so I’d like to see Antonsson start in the No. 10 role today. Doubts still exist around Bridcutt and Pontus Jansson has to serve a one match suspension, so we’re likely to see Cooper joining Bartley in his place.
Leeds United player to watch
Rob Green gifted Newcastle an early Christmas present last week but Manager Garry Monk insists he is still his No. 1. With today’s game being far from cut and dried, I see Rotherham’s chances coming from mistakes at the back. I expect a few eyes focusing on Rob Green’s performance; if he makes another mistake or two, the calls for Silvestri will only intensify.
Rotherham player to watch
For a club propping up the division and having one win all season, Danny Ward is doing okay. The Millers’ top scorer, with 8, also seems to enjoy playing against Leeds. Cooper and Bartley will need to do more than watch him when he has the ball.
Rotherham United vs. Leeds United
EFL Championship fixture
The AESSEAL New York Stadium, Rotherham
Sky Sports 1, beIN Sports, LUTV, BBC Radio Leeds
Saturday, November 26, 2016
9:30am PT / 12:30am ET / 5:30pm BT
Leeds United’s starting XI
Green, Ayling, Cooper, Bartley, Taylor, Phillips, O'Kane, Sacko, Roofe, Doukara, Wood
Subs: Silvestri, Dallas, Berardi, Mowatt, Grimes, Vieira, Antonsson
Rotherham United’s starting XI
Camp, Kelly, Wood, Ball, Fisher, Brown, Newell, Adeyemi, Odemwingie, Ward
Subs: Price, Mattock, Vaulks, Forde, Fry, Belaid, Yates
Anthony Linley: 0-3 Leeds. When a team hasn’t won a game for months and then they play Leeds, I always fear the worst. However, we are more consistent this season and with the right approach 3 points should be ours.
Johnny Wakefield: 0-1 Leeds. I hope our offense is more potent than this and we find our footing and score a half dozen, but I’m more inclined to say we’ve looked past this game for Liverpool on Tuesday and we’ll struggle. We’re still good enough to win regardless, but it won’t be easy. Doukara to put in the loan goal for Leeds.
James Mahoney: 0-3 Leeds. I expect Leeds to totally dominate the game. Rotherham will play a defensive system and try to frustrate Leeds. However, they will not be able to cope with the quality and intense pressure Leeds will put on them. Wood to score two and Antonsson to carry on from his mid-week hat trick for the reserves with a goal late on to seal the victory and the Yorkshire bragging rights. MOT
Ben Mallis: 0-2 Leeds. This needs to be a business trip, nothing short of three points will be acceptable. I expect our midfield to dominate possession, Rob Green to not have a howler and the enigmatic forward to get the job done.
Matt Robinson: 0-2 Leeds. Garry Monk will demand a reaction after a disappointing Newcastle result, and the players have proven they have the quality to produce. Rotherham are dreadful, which would normally mean we take 3 points for granted and are bitterly disappointed. Not this season though, Leeds are made of better stuff. We'll miss Jansson but Cooper will be more than good enough, Wood to bag a double. MOT
Here's how we think the lads will line up, join James Mahoney on the live-tweets at @ThruItAllLIVE, and let's get those three points. MOT