Despite defeat in our last league outing at the Den, Leeds remained top of the Championship, albeit on goal difference. Saturday’s clash will give us a chance to return to our home comforts in what will be a (home) sell out.
Leeds bounced back superbly midweek against what was a strong Burnley side to book their place in the last 16 but you get the feeling it is ‘normal service resumed’ against Ipswich. Providing Leeds can maintain their impressive home form (out of the last 18 games, 14 clean sheets isn’t half bad) the odd defeat away from home shouldn’t matter too much, as in a league as tough as the Championship, getting a result from every game just isn’t feasible.
Christiansen has some welcome problems going into the game when it comes to team selection. The manager said that all of his players (apart from Ekuban) are fit which means for the first time this season, Leeds will have all of their defensive options available. The game will probably come too soon for Pennington to earn a starting berth, Cooper and Jansson have been pretty solid in his absence. The biggest question will be who is going to get the nod at left back, Anita will probably be the favourite with Borthwick-Jackson putting in an iffy display and Berardi completing 120 minutes in the cup on Tuesday night.
More than likely, those who started the cup game (apart from Ayling, who is nigh on undroppable) will miss out, rather unfortunate given the teams display but with strength in depth this is the headache that Christiansen has to deal with.
Ipswich themselves haven’t started the season badly, so much so, that they are two points behind Leeds with a game in hand. McGoldrick is a player we all know is a threat and has caused us problems in the past, but with potential support from Garner and Waghorn, they are highly likely to cause problems, much like Morrison and Onyedinma did last weekend. They lost 2-1 to QPR on their last away trip but certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially after they left Elland Road with three points last season too.
For Leeds, gaining a good result will probably depend on the midfield getting to grips with the game better than they managed at Millwall. Both O’Kane and Phillips have been outstanding this season but did struggle against the high tempo, physical nature of Millwall’s play, Ipswich are likely to offer more of the same. Playing at home should mean that we have more of the ball and will be able to feed our offensive players more, Hernandez magical cameo against Burnley also reiterated his importance to our top end creativity.
This is an important game for Leeds as it presents them with a chance to get straight back to winning ways. Back to back defeats won’t exactly trigger any alarms but will offer the first real question mark of what has been a highly promising start to the season. However, roared on by a fanbase that believes again, let’s hope we’re still able to look down on the rest of the league come Saturday evening.
Reporter | Daniel Howard