After our JPT meeting earlier in the season that led to a pitch invasion and several Leeds United players complaining of assault from opposition yobs, Leeds United will be looking to even the score on the pitch by recording our third straight win tomorrow night (Tuesday) in Carlisle.

Carlisle fans storm pitch after JPT shoot-out

Leeds United fans were understandably angered by the incidents at the time and the Football League’s failure to act hasn’t softened the mood. The FL do insist the matter is still under investigation but few will expect Carlisle to face any serious repercussions. Since it wasn’t the Leeds United fans at fault and the media didn’t pick up on it, it’ll be safely swept under the carpet and ignored.

Our lovable, media-friendly and totally uncontroversial chairman doesn’t seem to have helped matters much however. At the time, Bates was seemingly raging about the referee’s decision to have the penalties taken in front of their home support (as opposed to the neutral stand at the opposite end of the pitch) and also complained about laser pens being shone in the eyes of our penalty takers. None of these allegations were reported to the Football League however as a spokesman revealed;

“The League would only act on a matter such as this if it received a formal complaint from a club. In this instance we’ve had no such complaint,”

Sadly not the first time Mr. Bates has been all mouth, no action.

On the pitch, Carlisle United have absolutely nothing to play for sitting mid-table with no hopes of the play-offs and free of any relegation concerns. Their form however is pretty good, especially at home where they’ve won the last three consecutive matches. Overall, they’ve lost just once in their last six matches which was an away trip to Charlton.

Leeds United fans can take some optimism from Carlisle’s form against the top six. Of their ten matches against the top six in League One, Carlisle have only managed one victory and picked up just six points from a possible thirty.

Our last league meeting against Carlisle was back in September at Elland Road where Leeds United earnt a point rather fortuetously after being awarded a controversial penalty (which was missed and followed up by Beckford). Carlisle were also the last team to beat us at Elland Road before our unbeaten run which which went on for over a year.

The most recognisable face in opposition colours tomorrow will be that of Ian Harte, who has been in exceptional form for them this season, netting sixteen goals in forty-three appearences. As Leeds fans will remember, Ian Harte is deadly from set-plays and can always be a threat. 

Whilst Harte has always been an asset from dead balls, his defensive ability and pace have always been questionable. Leeds should be looking to exploit his lack of speed and acceleration with a pacey option such as Jermaine Beckford to play off his shoulder or Max Gradel to run at the ageing defender.

Simon Grayson has been calling for unity ahead of this game and for the fans to get behind struggling Jermaine Beckford. I agree with his comments entirely but suspect the ugly scenes at Elland Road won’t be repeated away from home where the atmosphere is generally much more supportive and less critical of the teams efforts.

With our first back-to-back wins of the year behind us, Leeds United will take some confidence into this game and hopefully return with the three points needed to keep the pressure on second place Millwall. The players will have bitter memories of Carlisle, but should channel that emotion into getting revenge in the best way possible – by winning!