Rickie Lambert versus Jermaine Beckford TSS December 16, 2009 Leeds United 16 Comments This weekend sees two of League One’s biggest teams go head-to-head as Southampton make the long journey north to take on Leeds United at Elland Road. Southampton are another victim of the Football League’s ridiculous points deduction policy and started the 2009-10 campaign on minus ten. What annoys me about this rule is that when a club hits financial difficulty, the Football League should be helping teams overcome their troubles, not hindering them further. Afterall, without these member clubs, there wouldn’t be a Football League. I’m not going to dwell on the ridiculous rules which teams are governed by though. I think we as Leeds United fans have suffered enough at the hands of Lord Mahwinney and co. and although I have nothing but sympathy for the Saints, I can’t help but think the idiots at FL head office have done us a favour this term (about time too!) Had Southampton not began this season with the handicap they did, then I honestly think we’d be facing more competition than that of Norwich City and Charlton Athletic. Add the ten points back to the Saints’ current tally and they’d be right alongside Huddersfield Town in the play-off places. Not only that, but after their slow start to the season, Southampton have picked up the pace and are now picking points up at an ever-increasing rate. Maybe a little premature for predictions, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t make the play-offs. A lot of the credit for Southampton’s defiant rise up the table has to go to League One’s star striker, Rickie Lambert. Whilst no one man makes a team, Southampton have successfully built around the hitman and his return of 17 goals so far puts him top of the scorers list – five ahead of our very own Jermaine Beckford. Both players will attract a lot of press over the coming weeks as the transfer window opens. With struggling Premier League teams desperate to find a goalscorer and Championship clubs looking for an edge, many will turn to League One’s attention grabbing duo for answers. Whether both clubs can retain their key men, only time will tell, but this weekend is bound to bring out a few scouts. It’s been over two years since we last played Southampton in our relegation season from the Championship. They bet us both home and away that season, reversing the results from the season before where Leeds United were victorious in both meetings. For both sets of fans, the fixture will no doubt bring a reminder of how far the teams have fallen. Back in 2004, before our two seasons together in the Championship, Leeds and Southampton competed in the top flight. Neither team will have expected to be meeting in League One just over five years later, but that’s the unfortunate reality. Regardless of how big both teams are, both have fallen from grace and both will be hoping to turn things round and head back towards the dizzy heights of the Premier League. This Saturday’s clash at Elland Road will no doubt draw a bumper crowd as the game shows all the hallmarks of a classic. Jermaine Beckford vs Rickie Lambert. Simon Grayson vs Alan Pardew. Leeds United vs Southampton. It’s Simon Grayson’s 40th birthday today and he’ll also celebrate a year in charge of Leeds United this week. A win over the Saints will be the ideal present for him and a great early Christmas present for the Whites fans. It’s likely that Beckford or Lambert will be making the headlines Sunday morning. Let’s hope Jermaine can win the battle.