Saturday evening’s match is a rare occasion on various levels.
First, we are now at the business end of the season and still in the hunt for play off places.
Second, Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United supporters will be scrutinising results actually hoping we have won. They may even tune in and cheer on the Mighty Whites (although they’d never admit it) in Saturday’s promotion six-pointer vs. Brighton & Hove Albion, which is live on Sky Sports.
Every game from now on in is a crucial game for Leeds United and none less so than this game against Brighton. Leeds fans: it’s time to crank up the noise.
GM's message to the fans is "crank up the noise" for the visit of Brighton. #lufc— Adam Pope (@APOPEY) March 16, 2017
28000+ tickets have been sold for this televised encounter, and in another rare occurrence, the away team sold out their allocation of 1550 and demanded a further 500 (which have also sold). This highlights the importance of this fixture to both sets of supporters.
Chris Hughton’s Brighton side have pushed on since last season as many of us expected them to do. After a short dip in form, during which they lost at home to Newcastle and were defeated at Nottingham Forest by three unanswered goals, they are now back on song. Brighton have registered back to back wins over Rotherham (2-0) and Derby County (0-3). The thrashing of Derby County subsequently led to the sacking of their Manager Steve McClaren, for a second time.
The Seagulls are second in the table, separated from leaders Newcastle by goal difference alone. Both teams are on 77 points whilst Leeds remain in 4th on 66 points after their draw with QPR.
Brighton’s Star Performers
Manager Chris Hughton, in only his second full season in charge, has taken them from relegation material (They were 22nd in the league when he took over) to the play offs last season and second to date this season. For a club with a meagre budget, this is a fantastic achievement.
They spent £7.5million this season on Centre Back Shane Duffy (£4.5m) and Centre Forward Glenn Murray (£3m).
Glenn Murray initially joined Brighton on loan, dropping a division from Premiership Bournemouth. He made his move permanent in January after an impressive start and is currently Brighton’s top scorer with 18 in all competitions.
Leeds born stopper David Stockdale has kept an impressive 20 clean sheets from 26 games to date. David was once touted as a future England keeper, but let’s hope he has an off day in front the cameras come Saturday.
Luke Ayling starts the first of a two game ban due to disciplinary points, whilst Kalvin Philips is suspended after his red card vs. Fulham. Lewie Coyle and Tyler Denton remain on the injured list. Everyone else should be available.
Brighton have a long list of injuries, notably including Centre Back Shane Duffy. He is joined in the sick bay by Connor Goldson, Sebastien Pocognoli, Gaetan Bong, Sam Adekugbe and Vegard Forren.
Other Top 6 Fixtures
Birmingham (17th) vs. Newcastle (1st)
Bristol City (22nd) vs. Huddersfield Town (3rd)
There have been 21 Meetings between these two sides. Leeds United have taken the spoils on 10 occasions with 7 draws and Brighton coming away victors on 4 occasions.
From their last five, Leeds United’s stats read W2 D3 L0.
Brighton are returning to form after a minor blip, and their stats read W3 D0 L2.
Leeds United vs. Brighton and Hove Albion
EFL Championship fixture
Elland Road, Leeds
Sky Sports, LUTV, BBC Radio Leeds, International Listings
Saturday, March 18, 2017
10:30am PT / 1:30pm ET / 5:30pm BT
Leeds United’s predicted starting XI
Green, Berardi, Bartley, Jansson, Taylor, O’Kane, Bridcutt, Sacko, Hernandez, Doukara, Wood
Brighton’s predicted starting XI
Stockdale, Bruno, Huenemeier, Dunk, Rosenior, Knockaert, Stephens, Kayal, Skalak, Murray, Baldock
As one of the best attacking sides in the league and sitting pretty in second place, Brighton enter this game as favourites on the road. Brighton think that this is finally their year... but we don’t care about that, this could be our year too. Leeds to edge this, 2-1.