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It’s the second game of the season against Leeds, but it seems that the prospect might not be as daunting as it did last time – although we don’t tend to perform that well in front of the TV cameras!
When we played Leeds at home, there was some trepidation about taking on a club with the resources that it had got at it’s disposal (resources which should have gone on paying their creditors more, of course). Now, to be honest, that home draw against them looks more like two points dropped than one gained. That was in the period immediately after Gus Poyet left and before it had sunk in what a difference his leaving was going to have on the team. Poyet left Leeds on the 29th October. Since then, they have played 27 games, of which they have won 9, drawn 8 and lost 10, the equivalent of 35 points from a possible 81. The losses even include lowly Cheltenham doing the double over them. With the Saddlers badly needing a point as a minimum to maintain the promotion challenge, it could be a tense night at Elland Road.
Richard Money will be missing Richard Taundry, through suspension, but, fortunately, Rhys Weston’s fifth booking of the season last week is past the deadline and he can play (he’s got to reach ten at this stage of the season to earn a suspension). mark Bradley will be playing the last game before he departs on International duty, so the sixteen will come from:
Ince, Weston, Roper, Gerrard, Boertien, Betsy, Bradley, Sonko, Wrack, Dobson, Holmes, Mooney, Moore, Deeney, Nicholls, McDermott, N’Dour, Bossu, Demontagnac, Smith.
A lot will depend whether Money goes for a 4 5 1, or a 4 4 2, but, if he does go for two strikers, then Moore’s goal for the reserves should give him some confidence.
As for Leeds, Andrew Hughes misses game after picking up his 10th booking of the season at Port Vale, with loanee Alan Sheehan favourite to replace him. They may also have skipper Jonathan Douglas back, after a lengthy injury break. Manager Gary Macallister’s biggest problem, however, will be trying to decide which 11 of the supposedly cash strapped club’s 29 man squad will play (and that doesn’t include the EIGHT they have out on loan elsewhere. O how glad I am they didn’t owe me any money).
Like at Forest last week, I think we have enough to come away with a point at least, as long as the players don’t freeze in front of the large hostile crowd. Let;s face it, if they actually look at Leeds’ record instead of the name, they will realise that there isn’t a lot to be frightened of!