It’s a big weekend in League One, not least for Leeds United who head to the Valley to take on our early season rivals Charlton Athletic. Whilst both teams form has taken a hit since the first half of the season, Leeds United are still in the automatic places and could potentially clinch promotion on Saturday.

Charlton meanwhile now occupy one of the four play-off places. After a strong start, they’ve drifted off and now sit fifth in League One with arguably nothing left to play for. Automatic promotion is all but mathematically impossible for the Addicks, but they are guaranteed their place in this years play-offs. Whilst few Charlton fans would want to help Millwall clinch promotion by beating Leeds United this weekend, they’ll also know a higher placed finish is advantageous in the play-off semi-finals so still have something to play for.

Leeds’ biggest threat to promotion is the in-form team of League One, Millwall who have made a late dash up the table and currently sit third, just one point behind the Whites. They also have a tricky encounter away to Tranmere Rovers who are in the thick of a relegation battle and will be desperate for a result. The only other team realistically capable of taking second is Swindon Town who have the easiest fixture of all at home to Brentford. If both Leeds and Millwall failed to win this weekend, then Swindon’s final game would take them to the New Den with everything to play for.

Head-to-head

What makes the Charlton and Leeds clash most interesting is that both teams were early favourites for the League One title, both teams form went astray around the same time and both teams have a poor record against the top six. Both Charlton and Leeds have managed just one win against the rest of the top six. Leeds won at home to Norwich City, whilst Charlton won at home to Huddersfield. From a maximum 27 points so far against the top six, Charlton have managed just 10, whilst Leeds’ record is even worse with a measly total of 6.

Over the years, Leeds United come out on top in the fixture by a sizeable margin in terms of games won (Leeds 24 – Charlton 14). However, a lot of this goes back to a time when both teams were playing in the Premier League. Since both teams have been relegated there’s been just one match between the sides which ended in a frustrating goalless draw at Elland Road earlier this season.

When Saturday comes

There’s a lot of a room for optimism for the Whites. Leeds have the better form of the two sides heading into this clash, and with automatic promotion highly unrealistic for the Addicks, there’s a possibility that their manager could rest some key players ahead of the play-offs.

Leeds still have some gaping defensive holes that need filling, but Sanchez Watt added a lot to our attacking options last week and should start again tomorrow. Jermaine Beckford gave the manager a bit of a selection dilemma when he came on last week and netted two after seeing Gradel and Becchio fail to take their chances. It’s a nice selection dilemma to have up front, but this game will more likely be won and lost at the back. Grayson needs to cut out the sloppy errors that have gifted teams goals lately as Charlton have lost only three times at the Valley this season and only one of those teams managed to score by them twice.

Either way, it’s in our hands…

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  • raph

    Fingers crossed m8, can’t believe it has come this close! i’ve a good little feeling about this one for some reason, hopefully it’s our time. Come on lads…oh and come on tranmere

  • TheReaper08

    The prospect of this weekends games are already making me feel a bit queezy, and it’s only Friday lunchtime !

    I don’t believe Charlton will rest players as they still consider they have an outside chance and will want to go into the play offs on the back of positive results.

    I would love it to be resolved this weekend but it’s not in our nature to do things the easy way.

  • Lee B

    Here’s a possible scenario:

    Phase 1.
    As leading goalscorer, Beckford puts in a transfer request whilst Leeds are top of the table. His form (and Leeds’) plummets and Leeds drop out of the automatic promotion places.
    We already know that this has happened and Leeds’ first chance of promotion has already been blown.

    Phase 2.
    Beckford is dropped and the team start playing better, start scoring and winning games. With Beckford on the bench, Leeds rise again to the automatic promotion places. Beckford’s form from the bench improves and he is returned to the starting line-up for the final 2 games of the season (he is the team’s top goalscorer, after all…).
    Beckford fails to find the net (as he so often has in crunch matches) and Leeds drop points. At the end of the season Leeds finish in 3rd place and are facing a play-off once again.
    Leeds’ second chance of automatic promotion has been blown.

    Phase 3.
    Grayson decides that to drop your top goalscorer for the play-offs would be career suicide and decides to keep faith with him. After all, the law of averages says that he must score in a crunch game some time. Doesn’t it?!?? Again, Beckford fails to score and Leeds fall in the semi-final against Huddersfield or in the final against Swindon (3-0, predictably enough).
    Leeds’ third and final chance at promotion blown.

    Do you (anyone out there) think that Beckford’s time at Leeds will be remembered as anything other than ‘there goes the guy that screwed our promotion 3 times’ if this scenario happens…
    I’ve been a big fan of Beckford’s goalscoring prowess (but not his work-rate, attitude, etc.), but I must admit to being nervous recently whenever I’ve see his name on the teamsheet.
    I think Grayson should stick to what works. Luca and Max have looked like a real handful for opposition defences since Beckford was dropped, and a pacy Beckford coming off the bench (with a point to prove) is looking like good business.

    Thoughts anyone?

    BTW – I don’t necessarily think the above scenario will happen, and I hope to Frel that it doesn’t…

    • TheReaper08

      I don’t want to dwell on the Beckford scenario as that has been done to death on here before, in the end we all end up agreeing to disagree on his weaknesses/merits.

      What I will say is the last time I played football and I have played at a decent level it was a team sport. To suggest Beckford alone is responsible for any failure is at best ludicrous at worst outrageous.

      • Lee B

        I’m not suggesting anything, just putting a scenario out there for discussion.
        What is known is that when Beckford plays, most lines of attack go through him. When he scores, we win, when he doesn’t we don’t (mostly, but not always – we have been known as a one-man team for the last couple of years). We are mostly one-dimensional when Beckford plays and are very much reliant on him scoring the goals (of course, I have no problem with that as long as the goals are scored and we win). What is also known is that he has rarely produces ‘the goods’ in crunch games. Continuing with that theme, I don’t think my post is far from being a realistic possibility (although I state again that I hope to Frel that it doesn’t happen – I hope that he scores a hatful in each of his next games).
        When Beckford is not in the team, the players look for different lines of attack and we seem to play more fluently, and I hope that Grayson has the nuts to stick with what has been working in recent games.
        Also, just to clarify, I’ve been a big admirer of Beckford’s goalscoring ability over the past couple of years and hope that he bangs them in in his last few games for us, but even you can’t deny that Beckford’s ills have contributed significantly to Leeds’ ills over the past few months…

        • TheReaper08

          Ok, well I will answer your question then. No I don’t think his time will be remembered as the guy who screwed our promotion three times, despite his failings I don’t know anyone that thinks that way.

          You could broaden the argument to be more accurate, for instance I would like to know what impact we all think Beckford has on a leaky defence that can’t defend from set pieces or perhaps what he did to ensure we have one of the poorest goal scoring midfields.

          • TSS

            What irritates me is that despite Becchio skying twenty shots last weekend, no one (other than myself) has mentioned it. Even the FL named him in team of the week. Beckford would have had a hattrick had he played from start, but there would still be criticism.

            More to the point, it’s easy to point to a revival in fortunes since Beckford was dropped to the bench (even though we started winning before that) but few are mentioning the fact he’s been our only goalscorer for much of the season. The best teams have top goalscorers. Without Beckford we’d be midtable.

            The transfer request wasn’t the best timing, but the teams heads dropped at that point – not Beckford’s. The problem is more that the team didn’t believe they could win without Beckford than it was Beckford’s request.

          • Lee B

            Fair point on the leaky defence – I completely agree…
            I think the lack of goals from midfield is perhaps part of the same issue – give the ball to Beckford and he’ll score for us. It certainly worked in the 1st half of the season, but hasn’t in the 2nd.
            The leaky defence is probably due (to a large extent) on the loss of Paddy. Without him, we seem to have leaked a lot more goals than with him (although I’m sure somebody will find a stat to prove me wrong).

          • TheReaper08

            I wasn’t at the game to see any of the Becchio missed chances TSS, whilst I trust your judgement I don’t like to comment on things I haven’t witnessed myself.

          • timm

            A striker can’t score if you don’t give him the ball. Beckfords goal drought started when the team decided to lump it up the pitch from Casper or the back four instead of playing through the middle or up the flanks like we had been doing prior to New Year. Our poor run can be put down to pointless inaccurate long balls which are picked off all day long by opposition centre halves. If you then add the fact that we have quite possibly the worst midfield in our recent history which neither creates anything nor protects our already fragile back four & i think we have the real reason for our decline. Im not just blindly defending Beckford here, i think that what he did before the Man Utd game was ill advised & not helpful, but even Thierry Henry looks dreadful when he’s not getting the service. I actually feel sorry for Beckford, we need to stop crucifying him just because he wants to move on for big money, whilst pretending that Becchio & Howson can do no wrong just because they appear devoted to the club. When TSS highlights Becchios misses, he’s not saying he doesn’t like the bloke,he’s just making the point that some of our team are forgiven their mistakes while for some reason certain others aren’t.

        • Craig

          “hope to Frel”???

          Thought it was a misprint in the previous post but obviously not. If its is clean, please explain.

          • Lee B

            Frel is an expletive used in the series ‘Farscape’, meaning – well, I think you know…
            It is also used interchangeably with your particular choice of deity.

            Examples include ‘what the fuck’, and ‘I hope to God’…

            (sorry for swearing, but I was asked to clarify…)

          • Craig

            Well, that’s my lesson for the day. Thanks.

        • Craig

          I do wonder whether there’s something in the argument that we’ve become predictable when Beckford plays. I say ‘become predictable’ because it wasn’t the case earlier in the season.

          • TheReaper08

            There is nothing in the argument providing we play football. By that I mean neat incisive football played on the ground allowing our top scorer to play off the shoulder of the last defender. It’s almost impossible to play against if employed with the correct personnel.

            The problem we had is we reverted to hoof ball which is totally predictable and 100% ineffective when playing a Beckford style of striker. If you are going to play that way then I accept Beckford is not the man for the job, you would be better off deploying Kandol and Becchio.

          • Pete

            If we’d known we were going to revert to a Wimbledon style of play, we should have kept old Eeyore Showumni…

    • Craig

      There are almost as many ‘ifs and buts’ here as in the article in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner (via NewsNow) that explores the unlikely combination of events that would see them promoted automatically.

      Its too nail-biting dealing with the ‘what is’ scenario without imagining what the horror story might look like!

      • TSS

        I read that. I’d call it clutching at straws, but it’s so far beyond that I really can’t think of a term. It’d take some kind of Houdini magic to get automatic for them.

  • les

    all the regulars on here dont need me to tell em we (leeds)dont ever doing owt the easy way we must win thats it the only saving grace is that the adicks have more debt than a small country and may as they have nothing really left to play for think that the playoffs should they get to the final, be a chalice filled with revenue monies (dosh).
    i know i would if was a charlton manager ,board member .i would put all my energy into the play offs now to win the final .i have often heard it said “the playoffs should you win em are the best way to go up” true enough i feel although im not willing to take the chance this season
    millwall have a tricky game tmoz they have a tranmere side fighting to avoid the drop and are not an easy side to beat if i was a betting man i would say 2 draws really .we should be looking to beat bristol last game and they have a hard swindon town .
    as we are on same goal difference and if we finish on same points they would go up as they have beaten us twice
    i agree with reaper i am a little queazy

    • Sammy Becchio

      Queezy?? Tell us about it, i’ve been checking Charltons team new since 9am this morning praying that half of the first team have been hit with some sort of illness, and unable to play tomorrow (not a serious illness though, wouldnt wish that upon anyone).
      Seriously though, why do we do this to ourselves, and why is it always our beloved team that gets in these sort of situations!

      Roll on 4.50 tomorrow.
      mot

      • Pete

        Can’t we just go up the a13 and ‘convince’ Scott Parker and Carlton Cole to pretend to be Michael Doyle and Tresor Kandol for the day? would be easier than relying on an outbreak of norovirus localised to Charlton Athletic’s home team canteen. Plus it’s not like we’ve got anyone a few miles away who could slip some unscented soap onto their cutlery…

  • Lee

    Please, please, please DON’T BOTTLE IT Leeds!! MOT

  • dennis

    RICHARDSON TO GIVE US A PENALTY ON 90 MINS ;)
    MOT

  • mikelufc

    There will be bottling!
    By 5 oclock tomorrow we will have been promoted due to beating Charlton and Millwall having to settle for a draw.
    I I were Bates I would be offering 50,000 a goal to every scorer and 10 grand apiece to the rest of the team IF WE WIN.

    Thats only fair anyway as Millwall have a far better chance of winning the playoffs than we do.

    • Hotshotlorimer

      Bonus shouldn’t be more for goalscorers than others – especially if big. Team sport – plus last thing we need is someone going for it when not best option.

      Anyway, I feel sick. Have done for weeks. No make that months as bewilderment since January slips into worry, panic, horror and now cruel, cruel thread of hope that I’m sure will snap at the last. I’m sorry. I can’t help it. 56 points at half way point of season and 27 since. Even if win last two (which I can’t make myself believe will happen) that must be the record for the ‘season of two halves’.

    • Craig

      Nooooo… that’d mean Johnson trying his luck from the halfway line!

      • Craig

        … every time he gets the ball!

  • Sammy Becchio

    I hear you Hotshotlorimer.

    Its awful, im making myself sick thinking if we are going to get these 6 points or not. I just want to pick up the paper on Sunday/Monday this week (or next if we have to), with a headline about us getting promoted, instead of “Leeds blow it again” etc. Im just hoping we turn up tomorrow, recent form has been good, but you just never know with us at the moment. MOT

    • TheReaper08

      Everybody’s worst nightmare that Sammy, let’s pray together shall we ?

      • Sammy Becchio

        Im praying now Reaper, i hope you’re on you knees as we speak

  • Si

    been on mine all week…. i am terrified

    • phil

      come on the mighty whites
      please put us out of our misery/hell

      I am worried that we always do things the hard way…
      ie all decided on last match , hoping millwall will lose.

      please dont let us start like at Gillingham

      worry that just about every ball into our box ends up as a goal !

  • Lewis g

    im going to say this… lose tommorow and were in the play offs, win and were up!

    • phil

      in that case we will draw !
      hahaha …you know what we are like…
      nothing is ever straighforward

  • Mikelufc

    Praying only works when it is combined with a deeply held belief that they will be answered.
    Tomorrow we will be promoted.

  • AussieWhite

    It’s that big a deal that Fox are showing it live here in Australia (We’re not famous any more). So I’ll be in a bar in Adelaide city at 11.30pm on Saturday night praying and hoping along with a few hundred other Aussie Whites. MOT

    • Craig

      Keep a lookout for Frank Lowy.

  • Craig

    It looks like the following site may be streaming the match live:

    http://www.firstrow.net/

    The last time this site featured a Leeds match was the Norwich game and the pictures were a bit broken but watchable.

    • Timmo

      Thanks for the link. Worked great

  • Si

    Brilliant Mike, Bloody brilliant

  • EYLeeds

    In my opinion the Beckford ‘will he / won’t he’ play quandry is secondary to how the midfield handle the pressure of the game. If the players bottle it and hide from the responsibility of putting their foot on the ball we will end up lumping it forward and lower ourselves to league one standards.

    The only player I’ve never seen resort to this is Kilkenny and I reckon his importance to our team is underestimated. He rarely gives the ball away and is one player that never panics under pressure.

    Thinking about this season, we all know that being a Leeds fan is never easy which is why we are so passionate. Whilst brainwashing my son to become a Leeds fan instead of Chelsea et al, I tell myself that it is character building!

    Would anyone swap our position for Norwich’s and sacrifice our bragging rights over the scum? We would all be bored if promotion had been secured with 5 games remaining.

    If Millwall edge us out, none of the teams in the playoffs scare me and this roller coaster season seems fated to end with a trip to Wembley.

  • Timmo

    I for one would have taken a hammerin from scum to be promoted right now. But a win against Bristol would work. We slip an my moneys on Charlton goin up in 2nd

  • Will

    Well, watching that was truly disturbing. How much longer can we stomach this tosh?

    No guts or balls from the team whilst a cluleless tactical performance from Grayson once again highlights his many limitations.

    The man’s post match comments were more politician than those of a manager who actaully knows what he is doing and confident that what he decides will actaully work.

    I already fear for next season, whatever the division. Promotion will be a smokescreen over Grayson’s incompetence.

    A vote of no confidence from this fan and no promotion next weekend will change my view of him.

  • spanish white

    I watched the game via video link. That was not football from Leeds it was hoof and take your chance.I’m really annoyed!

    • Mikelufc

      Your annoyed
      I am depressed.
      This result has only strengthened my belief that Larry is not up to the job.
      Why is Naylor even in the squad let alone Captain?
      I have tried desperately over the last couple of weeks to be positive but
      now find it impossible, sorry Larry but bugger off please, thanks for falsely raising
      our hopes but you hVe been found out
      would it have been different if we had kept the players who’s faces didn’t fit and not filled the
      side with borrowings? I think so.

  • Timmo

    Quote Leeds fans have that hunger that an old chairman once talked of – but do their team?
    Oh and cheers fatbastard.

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