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Leeds United at Sheffield Wednesday: Can Leeds catch Wednesday on Saturday?

Will Monk the Manager turn into Monk the Maestro and fine-tune his midfield, pulling the strings in this classic Yorkshire derby?

After losing the Playoff Final to Hull last season, Wednesday's back in the Championship. Let's keep them down.
After losing the Playoff Final to Hull last season, Wednesday's back in the Championship. Let's keep them down.
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Many United fans regard other teams ahead of Sheffield Wednesday in terms of rivalry, but Owls supporters like nothing better than getting one over on Leeds, and that will be evident in the attitude of Wednesday players for this encounter. Saturday is the 89th Derby between these two historic Yorkshire sides, but El Clasico it wont be.

Both sides have stumbled out of the blocks as this season's championship race got underway. Wednesday, who were dumped out of the EFL Cup by League 2 Cambridge, were thrashed last time out, losing away to Burton, 3-1. Meanwhile, Leeds have struggled with fitness and match practice which has hampered team selection. We all know United should have beaten Birmingham last Saturday, but they faded quickly after a promising first half.

Midfield Conundrum

United left it late in the day to arrange pre-season friendlies, limiting game opportunities whilst at the same time bedding in an entirely new team (almost). Monk needs to get his Midfield sorted for this one, there will be no room for shrinking violets on Saturday. It seems he has been experimenting with the Midfield during game time choosing a different one for each match. They've also added a few players into the mix before this one (yet again), with Liam Bridcutt expected to join the squad.

Yet despite United's indifferent start they will taking nearly 3,700 fans to Hillsborough which should add to the atmosphere. For a lunch time game and at £39 a ticket, that deserves some credit.

Additions

United have (finally) brought in Liam Bridcutt (even if he hasn't played a competitive game for months) and bolstered the defence with the addition Pontus Jansson. And with Luke Ayling joining the club last week, will Sol Bamba or Liam Cooper be playing for their job? Berardi is the only key Leeds player out on injury.

Wednesday welcome back former United centre back Tom Lees, who is available after missing their midweek match with a foot problem. They will also have new signing David Jones at their disposal, after the midfielder completed his move from Burnley.

Head-to-Head

There have been 44 previous games between the two sides at Sheffield, with Wednesday winning 21, Leeds 14 and Draws 9.

Form

Leeds stats read W0, D1 and L2 in the league, 1 point. Wednesday fair slightly better with a record of W1, L1 and D1, 4 points.

Leeds Player to Watch

Marcus Antonsson. I'm nothing but impressed with this guy. I love his attitude and his work rate. Should he get the nod to start, he will pose a threat to the Owls defence and hopefully mark his appearance with his first league goal for the Whites.

Sheffield player to Watch

Tom Lees, rated by his Manager Carlos Carvalhal as one of the best central defenders in England. It will be interesting to see how he has developed in his two years at Hillsborough

WHAT

Sheffield Wednesday vs. Leeds United

EFL Championship Fixture

WHERE

Hillsborough, Sheffield

LUTV, BBC Radio Leeds

WHEN

Saturday, August 20, 2016

4:00am PT / 7:00am ET / 12:00pm BT

WHO

Leeds United's possible lineup

Green, Taylor, Jansson, Bartley, Ayling, Vieira, Mowatt, Dallas, Hernandez, Antonsson, Wood

Sheffield Wednesday's possible lineup

Westwood, Pudil, Lees, Hunt, Hutchinson, Bannan, Lee, Abdi, Wallace, Hooper, João

ODDS

Leeds 18/5

Draw 5/2

Wednesday 4/5

PREDICTION

Whilst it may descend into a feisty affair I'm sure there will be goals. If Monk fine tunes the Midfield it will be Leeds fans humming a tune on the way home. 1-2 Leeds