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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Friday, February 16th 2018

Big Match Preview: Leeds United away

With a new club crest on the horizon and a fresh manager at the helm, it looks to be all change at Leeds United.

After a flying start in the Sky Bet Championship and an early push for the play-offs, the Whites are currently on an eight-game winless run and find themselves 11th in the table - eight points behind City.

The Robins, meanwhile, will be looking to make amends after letting slip a 3-0 lead against Sunderland last weekend.

And with big games against promotion-chasing rivals in Fulham, Cardiff City and Preston North End all approaching, now is no better time than for City to step up and make their intentions clear.

FACTFILE

Formed: 1919
Nickname: Whites
Website: www.leedsunited.com
Twitter: @LUFC
Ground: Elland Road
Capacity: 37,890

Honours:
First Division: 1968/69, 1973/74. 1991/92
Second Division: 1923/24, 1963/64, 1989/90
FA Cup: 1971/72
League Cup: 1967/68
European Cup runner-up: 1974/75

Last season:
League finish:
 7th
FA Cup: Fourth round, lost 1-0 (A) to Sutton United
EFL Cup: Fifth round, lost 2-0 (A) to Liverpool
Top scorer: Chris Wood, 27 goals
Average attendance: 27,699

HOW DID THEY GET HERE?

Leeds United are in their eighth consecutive season in the Championship after narrowly missing out on the play-offs last season – they ended the campaign in seventh place, five points behind Fulham.

They have slipped to six defeats and two draws in their last eight matches in all competitions, but the Whites are a side with a taste for success and will look to their history as a platform for inspiration.

The West Yorkshire club can boast memorable European Cup runs in 1975 and 2001 and are three-time winners of the old First Division but much of the naughties has proved a turbulent time.

Leeds dropped down to League One a decade ago and were deducted points after entering administration.

But they have come through the other side and have the Premier League back on their agenda after 14 seasons out of the top flight.

New gaffer at Elland Road: Paul Heckingbottom

MEET THE GAFFER – PAUL HECKINGBOTTOM

City head coach Lee Johnson knows all about the abilities of Heckingbottom, after the pair worked together at Barnsley.

A defender in his playing days, Heckingbottom starred for a number of clubs including Norwich City, Bradford City, Sheffield Wednesday and Gateshead.

He was caretaker boss at Barnsley following the departure of Danny Wilson, before Johnson took over after leaving Oldham Athletic. Heckingbottom was appointed full-time Barnsley boss in 2016 as Johnson departed for Ashton Gate, and he is widely remembered for the double-winning efforts when he led the Tykes to the Football League Trophy and League One play-off success that summer.

He signed an 18-month contract with Leeds United earlier this month, with his first game in charge being a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United.

Sunday's fixture with City will be his first home game in charge at Elland Road.

Pontus Jansson in action against Cardiff City

STAR MAN – Pontus Jansson

The Swedish centre-back is a statistical standout figure, according to WhoScored.com. He leads the way in terms of an overall rating for the season so far, which has included two goals for the defender.

A player who loves a tackle, he has also contributed to nine of his side's 60 yellow cards this season - that's 15 per cent of overall bookings.

But he's also noted for his strength and ability to shield the ball as well as well as his high levels of concentration.

He could make it a hard day's work for City's attack.

City celebrate their opening goal in a four-goal thriller

MEMORABLE MEETING 1979/80

Bristol City 2-2 Leeds United

Goals: Curtis 9, Ritchie 34 (pen), Jantunen 65, Curtis 82.

More than 23,000 fans packed out Ashton Gate for the visit of Leeds towards the start of the season – one which would end in relegation for the Robins.

And they were entertained to a four-goal thriller as city came from behind to lead, before throwing away all three points late on.

Alan Curtis scored a brace on his debut for the away side, grabbing his first Leeds goal inside the opening ten minutes.

Keith Parkinson then pushed Tom Ritchie in the box, who dispatched the resulting penalty.

This game was described as a “ding-dong struggle” but the crowd witnessed a 20-yard drive into the goal from Finish midfielder Pertti Jantunen.

City: Shaw, Sweeney, Whitehead, Gow, Rodgers, Merrick, Fitzpatrick, Ritchie, Mabbutt, Jantunen, Meijer.

Leeds: Harvey, Hird, Stevenson, Flynn, Parkinson, Hampton, Curtis, Cherry, Hankin, Harris, Graham.

Attendance: 23,331

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Simon Hooper
Daniel Robathan and Adam Crysell
Fourth Official: Geoff Eltringham

Betting (via SkyBet)
Leeds: 6/4
Draw: 23/10
City: 7/4

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