Having lost the previous fixture in the season against Birmingham City by a 1-2 score line at the Elland Road, Leeds United shall be hosted by the Blues at St. Andrew’s on Friday in what promises to be a cracker of a game.
Leeds United are placed 4th on the league table with 61 points after 34 outings in the Championship, whereas for Birmingham City, a play-off spot is a far cry, owing to the fact they are trailing sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday by 15 points and are currently placed 14th on the chart with 43 points from 34 games they have played in. Garry Monk’s outfit would come to St. Andrew’s in a rampaging mood after defeating Sheffield Wednesday last weekend to ensure their stronghold in the play-off zone.
However, Gianfranco Zola’ s men also accumulated all three points in their 1-0 win away from home against Wolverhampton Wanderers after losing three league games on the trot. Make no mistake, Birmingham City are still a formidable side and could make life difficult for the visiting side and would love to be the party spoilers for the promotion hopefuls.
Charlie Taylor is back in the groove for Leeds United after being sidelined since injuring his Achilles against Brentford on 17th of December but left-back Tyler Denton is facing up to six weeks out after requiring an operation on a knee injury picked up in training.
On the other side, Paul Robinson’s suspension following the clash with Wolves’ player Jon Dadi Bodvarsson has been withdrawn. The veteran defender was shown a red card at the Molineux in their last outing but now that it would have no effect, he should be in line for getting the nod to start against the Peacocks.
Birmingham City: Kuszczak, Nsue, Dacres-Cogley, Shotton, Robinson, Keita, Kieftenbeld, Tesche, Gardner, Davis, Adams.
Leeds United: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, Bridcutt, O’Kane, Sacko, Hernandez, Doukara, Wood.
How a leaky goalkeeper, who has accumulated merely 4 clean sheets in 22 appearances this term, in the shape of Tomasz Kuszczak rises to the occasion when he faces Chris Wood would be intriguing to watch.
Zola is likely to station Emilio Nsue on the right-back slot to go toe-to-toe with the flamboyance of Gaetano Berardi who is seemingly likely to be stationed as the left-back by Monk and the battle between these two should be an interesting one.
Craig Gardner pitting his wits against Pontus Jansson could very well be a vital cog in determining the outcome of the fixture. Jansson has to stop Gardner from creating spaces and must press him hard to limit the Birmingham City’s attackers potency.
We do not expect goals galore but we do anticipate an entertainment-filled and tactically sound fixture in which we expect Leeds United to register a win away from home with a 1-2 score line.
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