This week Leeds travel to Oakwell to play fellow Yorkshire team Barnsley which as we all know has not been a particularly happy hunting ground for the Whites in recent years. You have to go back to when both teams were in the Premiership for the last time Leeds triumphed on Barnsley’s turf, a 3-2 victory during the 1997/8 season. The last two seasons have brought two poor performances and equally embarrassing results to match, not forgetting a rather amusing DVD of our 5-2 loss hitting the Barnsley club shop.
However, the Tykes now sit bottom of the Championship boasting the worst home record in the division with the least goals scored, if there was ever a time to go there surely it would be now?! For teams with a ruthless streak I have no doubt that they would go to Barnsley and pick up three points reasonably comfortably, but in Leeds we have a team struggling to find that ruthless streak, especially away from home.
Our away form has been pretty shoddy of late which is a shame because we have been picking up points at home quite consistently this season. Whilst our home form is good enough to boast a play-off position, the away stats make a more uncomfortable reading with us sitting in 20th place, only four teams (including Barnsley) have been worse than us on our travels. Slightly worrying as you can’t hide from that fact that you need to pick up points away from home every now and then to be in and around the top.
On Monday night, Tom Lees spoke of the squad possibly underestimating them in the past which might make sense. At the end of the day it is a Yorkshire derby and Leeds have been out battled and out performed on our last two trips to Oakwell and we just can’t afford that to happen again. Only being two points off the play-offs at this point in the season is a huge plus but things can soon change, it’s usually around now a couple of teams start to pull away or go on a run which propels them up the league.
No disrespect to Barnsley but this is a game Leeds simply has to win if they want to be taken seriously this season. Their top scorer, Craig Davies has moved to Bolton this week which I’m sure will be a huge blow and they are still searching for a new manager after dismissing Keith Hill a few weeks ago. Barnsley equally will see a game against Leeds, at home, as a good game to possibly kick-start their season with a positive result. Leeds will have to be on their guard, especially if Barnsley do employ a new manager by the weekend as it is always a dangerous time to play a team but despite all of this, we have to feel that we have the players to go there and win, without taking that complacent and cocky attitude that we may have brought into the game in the past.
With around five thousand Leeds fans travelling to Oakwell as per usual, I’m sure many will be expecting a positive result but no doubt that’s been the case the last two years too! This is an important game for Leeds, and in order to show that we do have play off credentials and that our away form can be improved on, it needs to start on Saturday against Barnsley.
In the wake of the visit of our local neighbours Leeds united, I thought I would give outsiders and inside view to our football club Barnsley FC. In recent weeks we have seen Barnsley manager Keith Hill sacked from his position which has left the club searching for a new manager. Many people saw no other outcome that to part company with Keith Hill, personally I thought he was doing okay on the funds and the resources he had available. There is no doubt that at the moment Barnsley FC is in turmoil. The club has no manager and the players are being sold to keep the club aﬂoat, and it looks like the board is resigned relegation this year.
This week saw the sale of the Wales international Craig Davis to Bolton for £300K, Scott Weisman is on the verge of joining Blackpool whilst young up-and-coming start John Stones is reportedly at target for Wigan for 3 million pounds.
Tomorrow will be a close encounter but personally I think that Leeds will have the strength and the depth of squad to see them to victory. we are a good footballing side, however the ﬁnal product often lacks class and with the club selling Craig Davis this week to Bolton, I can’t see where the goals are going to comefrom. Certainly not from Marlon Harewood or Chris Dagnall .
Our player to watch tomorrow if he recovers from a dead leg will be Jacob Mellis who has got a real class touch and often controls the midﬁeld. Without him tomorrow Dawson will struggle to control the midﬁeld. My main fear for tomorrow is our shaky defence we often concede sloppy goals and with there being no ﬁnal product at the other end I can’t see Barnsley getting a result tomorrow.[info]Reporters – Daniel Howard (Leeds United) and Andy Mcleod (Barnsley FC)[/info]