Leeds United take their newly found form to Gillingham tomorrow in what must be considered one of our trickiest remaining fixtures.

Gillingham currently occupy 20th place in League One so have plenty to play for. Their position doesn’t tell the whole story of their 2009-10 campaign however. What may surprise some Leeds United fans is that Gillingham are a force to be reckoned with on home soil, having lost just three of their 21 games there so far this season.

If it wasn’t for Gillingham’s tendency to surprise the big teams on home soil, they’d most certainly be relegated by now. Away from home Gillingham have failed to win a single match this season and rank 24th on the away form table. At home however, none of the top six have beaten the plucky Gillingham outfit. Norwich and Charlton only managed 1-1 draws, whilst Swindon were battered 5-0 and Huddersfield and Millwall lost 2-0.

The only teams Gillingham have lost to on home soil this season didn’t have it easy either. All three of their home defeats have been to narrow 1-0 margins. Hard to believe this is the same Gillingham side that Leeds United thoroughly thrashed 4-1 at Elland Road earlier in the season.

Leeds United may well be visiting Gillingham at the best time however with the team currently suffering a late season defensive crisis. It seems the Gillingham coach may have to turn to his youth team for cover after his regular defenders were both ruled out of this weekends clash.

Speaking to BBC Radio, Gillingham boss Mark Stimson said;

“We are desperate and down to our bare bones but we won`t be sulking over it.”

Leeds meanwhile seem to have overcome the striker problems we’ve suffered in recent weeks with the Gradel-Becchio partnership likely to continue, whilst Jermaine Beckford may have to settle for a place on the bench. If Beckford does start on the bench. don’t be surprised to see a 60th minute substitution when the Gillingham defenders are tiring and Beckford can fully utilise his pace.

Some interesting fixtures this weekend in the top six where the table is likely to turn on it’s head once more. Elsewhere, Huddersfield host Millwall tonight and Charlton take on Norwich at the valley tomorrow. On paper, Swindon have the easiest game at home to Walsall, but after the last seven days, you really can’t rule anything out.

Second place is Leeds’ to lose now. We’ve turned the corner and fought back into a position we shouldn’t have really lost in the first place. All we have to do now is keep winning – how hard can it be?

55 Responses

  1. Lee Coward

    I think the new found fighting spirit we have seen all over the park puts us in a good position to get something out of the game. Let’s hope it’s the maximum 3 points! MOT

  2. les

    gillinghams home record is as good as anyones as you have rightly said but as you have also rightly said it is a perfect time to play them .i do think the charlton game though is the key game .if our near neighbours can do us a favour tonight and beat or draw with millwall it would be a perfect boost although it is now back in our own hands .if we are going up automatic on paper we should be beating the gills and at the beggining of the season we would be looking at 3 points come saturday
    no games are easy now is the old cliche but 2 of our last 4 games have something to play for either promotion /relegation and the other 2 have nothing so the pressure is off . if millwall loose tonight 2 out of 4 wins should do

    • DAVE

      Has anybody noticed how many players from the opposition get booked at Gillingham?
      Have a look four and five bookings are commonplace, is this something to do with their good home record, niggling at players and getting them wound up, we have had players sent off there in the past.

      • TSS

        Probably just as well that Beckford isn’t starting then! He’d be off within half hour.

      • Craig 1919

        Luckily they are supposedly missing there 2 main centre halves who have been the rock of the team, as long as we play football not hoofball we should be ok. Just hope the players won’t feel as knackered as me after the 8 hour round trip, 4 cup finals and promotion

  3. Dje

    Playing kids and out of position players at the back, I wonder if wouldn’t be better to start with Beckford against Gillingham instead of Becchio after all. I’m sure these Gillingham young’uns and midfielders would prefer to grapple with Becchio and his dives than Beckford playing off their shoulder. One slip and he’s in, Becchio is more likely to get a free-kick off you and you get chance to re-organise at the back before Snodgrass puts one over the top.

    It’d be harsh on Becchio of course, but we’ve got used to complaining about Grayson and his ‘favourites’ in the starting XI, so dropping a player for genuinely tactical reasons would be a nice change at least. Besides, Becchio can always resume his starting place against Milton Keynes.

    • TSS

      Or, you could look it the other way in that they’ll tire quicker from Becchio’s strength and Gradel’s pace, leaving Beckford to tear them apart in the last 30. It’s a tough call, but nice to have options at last!

      • Dje

        True. I’d prefer to be one up by sixty minutes though and maybe hang on a bit for the last thirty than be goalless and have thirty minutes of pace and domination but still need the goal. The latter just sets us up for the sucker-punch of them sneaking one on the break (as we’ve seen far too often since January).

        And I just wonder if we go behind whether our heads might drop like they did against Swindon – I doubt our recent flurry of wins has completely vanished the nerves and doubts in the squad.

        Like you said, tough call – who’d want to be a football manager!

      • Craig

        Hanging on for the last 30 minutes is just as dangerous in my opinion. Thankfully football isn’t a predictable science and there’s always the possibility that Gradel + Becchio might run riot without Jermaine’s help.

      • TheReaper08

        I’d rather go with that approach, there is no specific reason to drop Gradel or Becchio. As Bechhio’s game is based on strength I would let Max run them ragged for 60 and then bring on Beckford, my guess is there CB pairing would rather be anywhere else in the world when that substitution is made.

    • Nick Gunnell

      Is anyone serious about playing J Beckford tomorrow ? I never want to see that lazy twat in a Leeds shirt again, he does not want to play good riddance

  4. Benjamin Bunny

    It sounds all well and good so lets just hope it actually turns out that way. Remember they will be playing young uns yeh but the young uns will be trying there god damn hardest to show the manager they can play, so young fresh determination.
    Is it me or does Naylor partnering with the new guy at the back bringing out the best in our captain? He seems to be showing his form that earned him our praise last season. Imagine Kisnorbo back witht he loan guy too, would be good!

  5. Timmo

    We have depth and quality so regardless of who plays they need to use their head in the final third, bleed for the cause and win four in a row. Nothin less. Come on Leeds

  6. timm

    Come on you Terriers!!! Now there’s something i never thought i’d hear myself say!!

    • Craig 1919

      Agreed, however I’m gonna need to take a shower now… I feel all dirty

  7. Craig

    Huddersfield 1-0 at HT – looks like Millwall may need another last minute equaliser if things carry on like this!

  8. TheReaper08

    Get in, 1-0 Uddersfield, happy happy days.

    Come on Leeds, a 2-0 victory would put us ahead on goal difference and 4 points.

    Come on boys it’s in our own hands, let’s control our own destiny by kicking some Gills arse.

    • LUFC-mac

      It really is back in our hands now!
      3 wins and we are there, the 2nd division!
      Will be tough at Preistfield though, they are struggling at the back but pacy up front. Could be goals a plenty!!
      One of the worst away ends there. Hopefully we will be too happy to worry about it!!
      Is Weston still there, he was useless for us!

  9. All white on the night.

    Becchio & Gradel have done more than enough recently to deserve starting tomorrow. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

    I reckon Beckford on the bench is actually more effective than Beckford on the pitch. He’s like our own little nuclear deterrent. You hope you don’t have to use it but the fact it’s there puts the willies up the enemy.

    Shame that just like a nuclear bomb it probably means the end for both sides!

    • LUFC-mac

      Quite agree, same strikers. Got a feeling that Snods will score at last, about time, better have a little wager!!

      • Craig1919

        Massive result for us today however unless we get 3 points tomorrow today means nothing…if we go 4p clear with 3 games to go i can only see promotion for us

  10. Colin

    Interesting to notice that all those moaning previously a few weeks back about giving Grella a chance seem to have lost their voice?

    So I guess all his supporters on this board no longer think he’s great anymore.

    • Craig

      I still think there’s a place for Grella behind the forward line but it is too late in the season to tinker with new formations.

    • Pete

      I was a huge advocate of giving Grella an extended chance…but I’m more than happy to admit that I was wrong. Gradel and Becchio seem to be clicking better than we could have ever imagined.

      I’m just happy that Dickov is at best the 5th choice now.

  11. Colin

    LUTV listeners – possible windows issue!

    Microsoft recently released some patches (i’m on XP) which resulted in LUTV and some other web based apps not to work on my laptop.

    Downloading Windows Media Player 11 sorted out the problem, otherwise I could not play LUTV programs – maybe worth checking before the match.

    It was a necessary download for security reasons but it messed my settings up somehow.

    Just wanted to give a heads up in case anyone else has this problem.

  12. Woody

    No one’s mentioned us overtaking Norwich and going up as League One Champions! If we win today and Norwich fail to win at Charlton then we’re right on their tails. If they lose and we win then we’re only 3 points behind them with 3 matches to play. We seem to have recovered from our wobble, Norwich have gone off the boil lately so it’s do-able. Who’d have thought that a fortnight ago?

    • DAVE

      You’re right Norwich are catchable and with all the talk of Lambert going to Celtic that could be distracting for them, let’s hope so.
      But don’t forget Swindon and Charlton just yet, Swindon still have the easiet run in, god knows though, wouldn’t it be funny if Millwall beat Swindon on the last day to send forty thousand at Elland road in raptures and the Championship.
      I’m ageing a year every week, why do Leeds do this to me!

      • timm

        I know DAVE, what must it be like to support a nice steady team that does ok every year & never has any controversy around it? I think they should do a study on the average lifespan of different teams fans? I reckon this club have probably taken 10 years off my life?!! But we wouldn’t swap it for anything!

  13. Will

    Who’d have thunk it after the Swindon full time whistle!?

    Going into today’s game knowing that if the team does its job against the Gills, Norwich do their job against Charlton – and get automatically promoted if they win – and an X1 man Walsall cause Swindon some headaches as they did whne down to 10 at our local neighbours, then we could be one win at home to MK Dons from promotion.

    I do not care about winning this league – who wants the embarrassment of that trophy on our history records – not me for sure, so come on Norwich, take Charlton out of the equation!

    And please please let’s hope Grayson makes the right tactical decisions at the right time during the game!

    • timm

      Yep, Norwich can have it if it means putting some daylight between us & Charlton. Agree too regarding this being one trophy we don’t particularly want in our cabinet!

    • Pete

      By 5pm today, we will still be in the automatic places. I’d have taken that 24 hours ago.

      If Norwich and Walsall can help us out, and we fulfil our end of it by beating Gillingham, we all of a sudden go 4 points clear of 3rd place with 2 home games remaining – then it’s ‘just’ a case of beating MK Dons (who have just lost their manager) and Bristol Rovers (who are only playing for their league position) to get us out of this horrible league.

      Main thing is, it’s in our own hands, which I for one am quite glad about – we can’t rely on people to do us a favour, we’re just not that lucky as a club. If we do go up, I’ll miss league one though…my son’s first leeds game was a league one match.

  14. Matt bb

    Has anyone else tried the predictor on bbc sport? Norwich definitely have a number of potential banana skins, i wouldnt wish what we’ve been going through on anyone, but it does seem they are having a wobble. Grayson made a point about the psychological impact of having beckford on the bench, i think thats a reflection of where we are as a club, we were pushed out of the limelight and the pressure lifted, maybe the same will be true for beckford

    • Craig

      Would you really not ‘wish what we’ve been going through on anyone’? Man U? Liverpool… (I take that back – I’d not wish their fate on us), Millwall?

      • Pete

        I’d wish what we’d been through (but a lot, lot worse) on Galatasary

  15. Craig

    The other gift Huddersfield presented us with last night was making it impossible (however ‘outside’ the chances may have been) for MK Dons + Bristol Rovers to make the playoffs.

  16. jay jay

    Nice move jermaine, the toon heading to the Prem while you stick with the shower of shite.

  17. Colin

    What was going on with that performance?

    Central defence hopeless again. Naylor mugged again. Any opposition attacker with pace vs Naylor – forget it, we’re going to concede goals.

    SG brought on Beckford in the 54th min so Becks, Gradel, Becchio up front. Then in 76th minute, he takes off Becchio and leaves Gradel on?? We all know Becchio and Beckford like playing together and Gradel was completely hopeless yet he stays on the pitch?

    Now everything’s messed up again as SG will probably start Becchio and Beckford in the next game.

    And I don’t think you can do much about Naylor now, but he’s fast becoming a liability – I don’t care how passionate he is and Leeds through and through, but if can’t manage to pull of basic defending, then he shouldn’t be on the pitch. He was obviously being carried by Kisnorbo. Now Kis has gone, you can see Naylor for what he is. How does he keep the captain’s armband? Sure, he had a good season last year, but this year he’s looked like one of the weakest players ever to wear the captain’s armband.

    If we do get promoted then Naylor’s the first one you put on the transfer list. He’d get destroyed in the CCC. We shouldn’t have a current captain who should be transferred next season. We’ve a handful of players who’ll still be playing in the CCC – one of them should be captain.

  18. Will

    Earlier today: “And please please let’s hope Grayson makes the right tactical decisions at the right time during the game!”

    After 5pm: I asked for too much but at least Norwich & Walsall delivered their side of the bargain.

    I always feared Gills, with their tremendous record at home against the top 6, so cannot be too surprised our bottling “boys” & “leader” couldn’t handle a team who showed more fight in their relegaton battle than us in our promotion battle.

    • Colin

      The thing that also gets me is that sure occasionally players do struggle but Leeds’ struggled all over the pitch. But one of two things must have happened – either the players weren’t properly prepared or they were told to play in a certain way. It wouldn’t surprise me if SG was setting up the team for a draw. Either way, it’s SG who has to take responsibility for that.

      Otherwise, if the defenders really were themselves responsible and just played rank bad, then he should do what he did to other players who also did that and drop them. He dropped Becks, McSheffrey and Casper for equally poor performances. If he doesn’t drop them then he’s setting double standards in the dressing room.

      SG has to take the stick for this result in my book.

  19. Si

    If we drop them, who do we replace with them?
    Bloody nightmare, he we are sweating again but we are still second with 3 to play, we just need to win them all and we are up – its that easy….
    7 Points will see us over the line – i see us a needing a point against Bristol Rovers. Why do Leeds United continuosly do this to me, my wifes hates me this afternoon and will go on hating me for the rest of the weekend. Wish i could just switch it off, you’d think at 44 years old i woul dbe able to just switch it off and say “its only football” but i cant!!! Aaaaarrrrgggghhh

    • Colin

      I hope you’re right Si, but Millwall are a point behind with better goal difference – they’ve got Leyton Orient 18th and Tranmere 21st coming up, so they should get 6 points from that. Final Millwall game is Swindon – if Swindon don’t get 6 points from their next 2 games then they can’t get auto promotion even if they beat Millwall in the final game so they’ll be in the play-offs. If that happens then there’s no need for them to try against Millwall and would probably field a weaker team so they can concentrate on the playoffs.

      Basically, if Swindon don’t get 6 points from the next 2 games then the final Millwall game will be a gimme to Millwall meaning Leeds need 9 points from 3 games.

      I don’t think 7 will be enough now :(

  20. timm

    We’re still 2nd but there’s a game less to go. The teams around us are just as nervous as we are. I said a week or 2 ago on here that Gillingham away would be the toughest of our remaining fixtures, even tougher than Charlton. It’s absolutely vital that we get right behind them at Elland Rd next week no matter what. Oh and jay jay or whatever your name is do me a favour & fuck off, it’s time you were in bed.

  21. Si

    cant see Millwall getting 6 points from those two games – a month ago yes, but not now, they are feeling it as much as we are – only a last minute equiliser against Yeovil stopped them losing 2 on the bounce.
    Would be a lot happier if Kis was fit – i still think Beckford will have a major say in the outcome I really do. I have read a lot about him on this site, some of it unbelievable and if I was Becks i would be counting the days to the end of the season and look forward to getting the hell out of Leeds. We wouldnt even be in the play offs let alone 2nd if it werent for his goals and i can not stand listening to the shit he gets from certain sections of the ER crowd it really pisses me off, we have have contributed to our downfall once again… anyway enough said on that sublect i am sure, i hope he shuts the boo boys up and scores the goal that takes us up.

  22. Will

    The disturbing aspect of 2010 is that Grayson’s team has so very often underperformed in most games and that our faltering clueless, out of his depth manager, with untold resources (for League One) at his disposal, has been unable to resolve the consistent underlying fundamental flaws.

    I probably overstated Grayson’s contribution to the Carlisle victory, and gave him too much credit for dropping Beckford, given how Carlisle seem to have switched off (losing at home to Oldham yesterday).

    Once again, it’s a crushing blow to be proven right about Graysons managerial incompetency.

    Whilst promotion will be a fantastic result – it should be a given, a minumum expectation – next season we will have much to concern ourselves (whatever the division we are in) over Grayson’s ability to take our club forward.

    Too much has gone wrong this season for him to be entrusted with this job.

    If he gets us promoted, thank you and a quick goodbye, if not, then a good-riddance is in order and may we never have a Leeds fan/ex-player in charge ever again.

    Truly pissed off over how often this club is a managers or players dream job. I want competency, not drooling “it’s an honour”, “we’ve got great fans” blah blah bollocks.

    Instead, give me players and a manager who care about their own performances and pride in themselves, and who do not simply think being here is an achievement in itself and enough. I wan tot say them all “Forget the history, the fans but just go out and do your bloody jobs well as that’s ALL you’re paid to do.”

    • LUFC-mac

      Thats a good point Will, I like many have been glad when McAllister took over, talk of Speed coming in, Grayson, old boy, dream job.
      And going back to Billy, Clarke, Gray, they never really worked.
      I would hate a little shite like Billy Davies coming in, but perhaps that is something that we need??

  23. LUFC-mac

    The reality of the situation here is:-
    If we play like we did yesterday we will get zero points out of 3 games!!
    We can not beat teams by out battling them??
    We have to get the ball down and play.
    Yesterday was all whack, whack, whack. We hardly won a ball in the air, we very rarely won the 2nd ball.
    So why oh why did we continue to do it?
    Not 1 player came out of that game with any credit.
    Some had fair excuses.
    Naylor, Collins, Howson, Doyle, Snodgrass, Kilkenny, Gradel do not, they were all pitiful.
    AND SG was just as bad on the line!!

    • Mark Refardt

      Grayson’s pre match tactical rants using his notepad must be inspiring. He obviously has a way that totally de motivates the team.


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