I’m so damn full. I don’t know about you, but Christmas Day for our family involves far too much food and drink. Hope you had a great holiday, but I’m going to be hungover all day today.
Alright, just had to get that out of the way.
We’re back with Boxing Day action, as 5th place Leeds head to Deepdale to take on 11th place Preston North End. Leeds sit two points out of 3rd but also only six points ahead of Preston in 11th, so the middle of the Championship table is tight. Really tight. Each game matters, and today’s trip to Preston is no different.
The Whites look to have Chris Wood and Pablo Hernandez return to the 18 today, joining the already-returned Liam Bridcutt. Eunan O’Kane still needs some time, but we’re near full-health for the first time in awhile, and that’s important with two and half matches in eight days (Preston, Villa, and half a match against last place Rotherham).
Preston North End, still led by former Leeds manager Simon Grayson, sit in the middle of the pack but have won two of their last three, with victories over Bristol and Blackburn and a draw against Forest. They’ll be looking to impress their home supporters and give them a Boxing Day gift, but Leeds will of course look to spoil their holidays.
Our Joshua Gilbert put together the match preview, and Anatoliy Ivantchouk published his three potential Men of the Match earlier this morning, so we’ve got plenty of coverage on this holiday week. We’ll have live-tweets on @ThruItAllLIVE and post-match coverage ASAP after the final whistle as well.
Let’s hope we can end 2016 on a high note, with away matches at Preston and Villa this week. MOT.
Preston North End vs. Leeds United
EFL Championship fixture
Deepdale, Preston, Lancashire
LUTV, BBC Radio Leeds, International Listings
Monday, December 26, 2016
07:00am PT / 10:00am ET / 3:00pm BT
Leeds United starting XI
Green, Ayling, Jansson, Bartley, Berardi, Phillips, Bridcutt, Dallas, Sacko, Roofe, Doukara
Subs: Silvestri, Denton, Cooper, Vieira, Hernandez, Wood, Antonsson
Preston North End starting XI
Maxwell, Baptiste, Clarke, Huntington, Cunningham, Vermijl, Pearson, Browne, Johnson, Robinson, Makienok
Subs: Lindegaard, Wright, Spurr, Pringle, Beckford, Doyle, Hugill
Johnny Wakefield: 1-1 draw. I think we’re a better team than Preston right now, and I think we’ll challenge throughout 2017, especially with a January addition or two. But I also think Preston will want to produce at home on Boxing Day, and we won’t take all three points. We’ll play typical Leeds defence giving them possession in the first half, but one will sneak through. Then we’ll take one back in the second half. Happy with a draw... but I want a win at Villa on Thursday. MOT
James Mahoney: 1-1 draw. I expect a tight game against a well drilled Preston team. I think Preston will grab an early goal and look comfortable. However, Leeds quality will show through in the 2nd half and we will draw level and share the spoils. MOT
Ben Mallis: 0-0 draw. United are the better team at the moment and should fancy their chances of victory on Boxing Day. That said, an away tie to start the festive period is never easy and goals could be difficult today. A scoreless stalemate for mine.
Joshua Gilbert: 1-3 Leeds. I think a win would definitely keep the Monk train rolling, but a draw on the road could do the same. Over the last month, we have proven that we are serious contenders for promotion and that we can win on the road. However, I think Preston are a tricky team to beat tactically. They are inconsistent: if a decent team comes to play on Boxing Day, I think we draw. For us to win, the bad Preston have to show up, and I think they will. Monk and his men will come out of Deepdale with all 3 points.