Leeds United Away Preview 16/17

Old Foes Collide in Championship Weekends Top Clash

Sunday sees Newcastle return to action after the international break with their first competitive visit to Elland Road since 2003 when of course both teams were enjoying happier times in the Premier League.

Newcastle are looking to win a 9th game on the spin in all competitions but Leeds themselves are in good form at the minute and are unbeaten in their last five league and cup outings and sitting nicely positioned just outside the playoffs after a slow start.

As ever with the international breaks it seems an eternity since our last game but the good news is that apart from Rolando Aarons who sadly picked up a serious knee injury this week Rafa has pretty much a full squad to choose from.

Matt Ritchie returns from suspension and with Jonjo Shelvey contesting his FA charge then he is available for the time being, both of which are massive boosts ahead of this one.

This for me will be a really big test of our credentials - Leeds are in form and Elland Road is going to be sold out for the first time in ages and is likely to be rocking. I think Leeds and their fans like games like this as it gives them a bit of an opportunity for 90 minutes to pretend they are big time again after a good few years languishing outside of the top flight.

They will see this as a massive opportunity for a scalp that could boost their season onto better things and we have to be wary of that and just go about our game like we have most of our away games this season where we have kept things tight and then eventually our quality has told.

They may be in form but on paper we should have more than enough to get a result in this one but it certainly isnt going to be easy and if I was a betting man then I can maybe see us having to share the spoils in a score draw.

It is absolutely unheard of for us to have what is almost a fully sit squad so there are some big decisions to be made by the manager. I think the majority of the team picks itself to be honest - I think the 3 big decisions will be who starts up top, who plays behind them and to a lesser extent who plays at right back.

With regards to the right back position Yedlin has played the last few games and certainly looks a threat going forward but in a big game away from home like this one I have a feeling Rafa may play it a bit safer with Anita there.

It is up top where the big talking point will be. Mitrovic has obviously come into a bit of form recently and filled in admirably at Preston for Gayle and then kept his place and played his part against Cardiff but there will obviously be the temptation to bring top scorer Gayle back in if he is fully fit and I think that is probably the way the manager will go.

That will be harsh on Mitrovic if that is the case but I dont think Rafa is afraid to make the big calls like that and may just want a bit more movement up top to use on the counter. That said Leeds have some big guys at the back which could open the door for Mitro to retain his place.

I think a lot of fans would love to see the 2 together but I cant see that ever happening away from home.

There is then the decision of who plays behind them which seems to be a choice between Diame and Perez. Personally in this one I think Diames strength and athleticism may be useful so I would go with him.

Just absolutely gutted I couldnt get a ticket for this one as I think the atmosphere is going to be top class which will also include a tribute to the late Gary Speed who of course played with distinction for both clubs.

Slightly nervous about this one mainly I think because I know quite a few Leeds fans who havent had any kind of bragging rights over me for a while but certainly they go into this one with a good chance given their recent form so we have to be on our guard and respect Gary Monks men and not be complacent like we showed in the Cardiff game or I can guarantee we will be punished.

Finally just an apology for the slight lack of updates on the site recently - had a few technical issues and just not enough time to sort them but all should be back up and running now and will look to fill the gaps when I get chance.

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