|Leeds United 2 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 15th December 2012 Kick-off 15:00
Town Set to Be Unchanged at Leeds
Friday, 14th Dec 2012 15:22
Town boss Mick McCarthy is unlikely to change his starting line-up for Saturday’s visit to Leeds despite midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker having recovered from his hamstring injury. The Blues manager is still without Luke Hyam, who is over his calf problem, but is ill, while striker Tyrone Barnett has returned to Peterborough after suffering a posterior cruciate ligament injury in Monday’s reserves friendly.
Stephen Henderson is set to keep his place in goal with Bradley Orr at right-back and with Aaron Cresswell on the left. Tommy Smith and Luke Chambers will continue at the centre of the defence.
In central midfield, Andy Drury and Guirane N’Daw were both praised by their manager after the 3-0 victory over Millwall and seem likely to keep their places. Reo-Coker will probably be amongst the subs having been out of action since the Peterborough game.
Lee Martin will be on the left with skipper Carlos Edwards on the right, while the DJ Campbell-Daryl Murphy strike partnership will continue having yielded three goals last time out.
Barnett’s injury means Bilel Mohsni will travel after missing out on a place in recent squads having been the unlucky sixth domestic loanee with only five permitted in a matchday 18.
McCarthy has said new signing Tyrone Mings could progress into the first team quickly, after signing from non-league Chippenham yesterday, but it would be a surprise if the 19-year-old left-back or left-sided central defender was included in the matchday squad this weekend.
The Blues manager has been impressed by the recent form shown by the club led by his former Barnsley team-mate Neil Warnock: “They’ve been a bit of mixed bag.
"They started well, then they had a bit of a difficult period and then they went and won three on the bounce against Crystal Palace, Leicester and Huddersfield and then lost [3-1] to Derby at the weekend.
“Nevertheless, nine points from those four games is a ridiculously good haul by anybody’s imagination.”
Leeds boss Warnock says Town’s resurgence since McCarthy took over is no surprise to him: “I thought he would do that, he's a good Championship manager.
"He has them organised. They have pace and power and are on a great run. They're in the top couple in the form tables at the moment, so it's just our luck we're playing them at this time, but we haven't done so bad either, other than the first half at Derby.
"We're looking to get back into some sort of shape like we have done. We've played three of the best teams, who are flying, and they were all tough games.
"We have to go into this run of games now in good spirits. We also seem to perform better when we're playing an in-form side.”
On-loan West Brom winger Jerome Thomas is available after a hamstring problem, while South African midfielder Rodolph Austin is out with an ankle injury.
Controversial striker El-Hadji Diouf has signed a new 18-month contract at Elland Road.
Historically, Leeds have the superior record in the fixture, winning 27 (26 in the league) clashes between the teams, Town have been victorious on 23 (18) occasions and with 19 (16) games ending in draws.
The Blues, who have run out victors in their last three games, most recently won four in a row in January and February when they beat West Ham at home, Coventry and Portsmouth away and Cardiff at Portman Road.
At Elland Road last time, in January, Town were again guilty of suicidal defending as Leeds came from behind to win 3-1.
The excellent Andy Drury put the Blues ahead in the first half and Town looked on their way to the three points until a succession of calamitous defensive errors saw loan keeper Alex McCarthy – who had been on loan with Leeds earlier in the season - sent off after he handled outside his area and the home side score three times.
At Portman Road in August last year, Jason Scotland and Keith Andrews scored the goals as the Blues came from behind to beat 10-man Leeds 2-1 at Portman Road.
The visitors dominated the first half and went in front via Ross McCormack, but after the break Leeds had Aidan White sent off for pulling down Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Scotland and then Andrews’s deflected last-minute strike saw Town to the points.
No current member of the Blues squad has played for Leeds, although assistant manager Terry Connor was with his hometown club between 1979 and 1983, scoring 22 goals in 108 games. Fitness coach Andy Liddell is also from Leeds and supports the Whites, his father Gary having been a player at Elland Road.
Former Town skipper David Norris is the only man in the Leeds squad to have played for the Blues. Norris left Portman Road on a Bosman for Portsmouth in the summer of 2011 after making 114 starts and four sub appearances, scoring 16 goals. He joined Leeds in the summer after Pompey’s relegation.
Saturday’s referee is Oliver Langford from the West Midlands, who has shown 34 yellow cards and three red in 19 games so far this season. Langford will be taking control of his first Town match.
Squad from: Henderson, Loach, Lee-Barrett, Orr, Hewitt, Cresswell, Mings, Chambers, Higginbotham, Smith, Mohsni, N’Daw, Drury, Reo-Coker, Edwards, Carson, Emmanuel-Thomas, Martin, Murphy, Campbell, Chopra, Scotland.
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