Paul Heckingbottom will take charge of his first match since being appointed Leeds United manager on Tuesday, as they face a difficult trip to Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United.
Both sides will hope to use Saturday’s game as a chance to reignite their faltering play off push. The Blades are currently 8th in the Championship table, 5 points adrift of sixth place Bristol City. Meanwhile, the Whites sit 2 places and 2 points further back in 10th spot.
Sheffield United have won just two of their last 13 games in the Championship. They enter tomorrow’s match on the back of two consecutive defeats to Aston Villa (0-1) and Wolves (3-0). The Blades will also be looking for their first home league win since Boxing Day.
Leeds United are yet to win in any competition this year. Their most recent victory came on Boxing Day, in a 2-1 win at Burton Albion. The Whites have also failed to score in their previous three away matches and have had a man sent off in 4 of the last 5 matches in all competitions.
Chris Wilder will be without suspended goalkeeper Simon Moore for the visit of Leeds. Moore was sent off in last weeks 3-0 defeat at Wolves. There are also question marks over the fitness of on loan goalkeeper Jamal Blackman, meaning Wilder could be forced to turn to academy keeper Jake Eastwood.
Leeds centre back Pontus Jansson is fit for tomorrow’s short trip to South Yorkshire, he was stretchered off with an ankle injury in last weeks 4-1 defeat to Cardiff. Heckingbottom will welcome back midfield pair Kalvin Phillips and Eunan O’Kane who have served respective two and three match bans. Samuel Saiz, Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi remain suspended for the next two games, whilst defensive duo Luke Ayling and Conor Shaughnessy are still sidelined with long term injuries.
HEAD TO HEAD
Tomorrow’s match will be the 80th time that the two sides have locked horns. Overall, Leeds boast the better record between the two sides, winning on 29 occasions to Sheffield United’s 27 victories. The Whites will be looking to avenge their defeat to the Blades from earlier in the season, with David Brooks scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory at Elland Road in October.
I think that Leeds will just about edge tomorrow’s proceedings. I am expecting a positive reaction by the Leeds players following the arrival of new manager Paul Heckingbottom.