After an impressive display at the Emirates on Monday, the Whites return to reality tomorrow as they host play off hopefuls Sheffield Wednesday in a 3pm kick off. Marcelo Bielsa and his boys took a lot of compliments in the aftermath of a fantastic performance against Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup, but the lads must come back down to reality this weekend and continue the impressive league form.
Leeds currently sit at the top of the Championship on goal difference, level on points with title rivals West Bromwich Albion, whom Leeds rescued a draw against last time out in the Championship on New Years Day. Although its an exciting position for the club to be in, its very hard to not think ‘we were here this time last year’ and we know how that ended up.
“It is a good performance for us. But now we have to really concentrate on each game of the Championship individually and always trying to give steps forward every time we have an opportunity to do it.” (Bielsa on the Arsenal performance)
There feels like more of a one game a time mindset at the club this time around and within the fans as well, therefore all focus goes on to tomorrow, a tough game for the Whites but another three points on the line.
Leeds go into the fixture with fewer players to choose from with the recent departures of Eddie Nketiah and Jack Clarke both heading back to North London. Leeds will be working throughout the window to acquire replacements for the two youngsters but must also remain focused on the fixtures in a vital month for promotion chasers.
In terms of injury news, Bielsa will have both Pablo Hernandez and Jamie Shackleton at his disposal as they return to fitness, although it wouldn’t be a shock to see neither player in the starting line up. Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling are also both fit after concerns the two took knocks in the FA Cup fixture at the Emirates. Adam Forshaw is still ruled out but has stepped up his recovery and is expected to be out training on grass next week.
Wednesday are enjoying a good season themselves, despite three defeats in their last three league games, they still remain eighth in the table and are pushing for the play off spots. The Owls will have taken some confidence from knocking Premier League Brighton & Hove Albion out of the FA Cup last weekend and will be hoping that will spur them on to correcting their current league form.
Three successive defeats to Hull City, Cardiff City and Stoke City has slightly halted Wednesday’s play off push, prior to that bad form The Owls were unbeaten in six and charged up to third in the table. Despite dropping down to eighth place, Wednesday are only two points behind Swansea City in sixth place so will have plenty of incentive tomorrow other than it being a Yorkshire derby.
Wednesday will be without top goalscorer and veteran Steven Fletcher who has been ruled out for up to 10 weeks with a knee injury, the Scotland international has scored 12 goals this season but injured his knee in last weekends FA Cup victory.
LEEDS PREDICTED LINE-UP