Leeds United come into Saturday’s clash with 5th placed Birmingham City after a dismal outing at Middlesbrough, where individual mistakes cost the Whites in a 3-0 loss, despite Boro having just 2 shots on target.

Birmingham won last time out, away at Brentford 2-0, who have recently sacked their manager and appointed Lee Carsley for the remainder of the season. Leeds have a poor record at Elland Road recently, and haven’t won in 9 fixtures at home since a 2-1 win over Ipswich Town back in March, and will be aiming to stop the rot and avoid making it 10 winless games at home.

Birmingham City have yet to lose away from home, and have suffered defeat just once in the league, against Nottingham Forest, but they haven’t beaten Leeds in the last 4 meetings. Both fixtures last season ended in 1-1 draws, United falling behind in both before Alex Mowatt equalised in Neil Redfearn’s caretaker tenure, and in the reverse fixture Luke Murphy equalised late on as Leeds discovered the form to drag them away from the bottom 3.

However, Leeds have only beaten the Blues once in the last 4 Elland Road meetings, a 4-0 win back when Brian McDermott was manager, with Matt Smith scoring a brace. Uwe Rosler will see this as a good opportunity to kick start the season against a team riding high under Gary Rowett, who has overseen a dramatic change in fortunes during his time as manager. Leeds have struggled in the past few games, taking just 4 points from the last 4 games, and will be looking to respond after a demoralising defeat at the Riverside.

Chris Wood is still a doubt for Leeds and Rosler kept his cards close to his chest on his fitness, while Will Buckley is expected to make his debut. Jordan Botaka will be hoping to start again, as competition in the wide positions becomes fierce, though Sam Byram is expected to remain on the bench. Mirco Antenucci is likely to start if Wood is unfit, while Cook, Mowatt, Adeyemi and Murphy all compete for the midfield places. Liam Cooper is pushing for a starting place once again after Guiseppe Bellusci’s horror show last week, they are competing to partner United captain Sol Bamba, who has made the most clearances in the league (40).

Andrew Shinnie is set to miss out after missing the midweek clash at Brentford with a hamstring tear, while Jonathan Spector and Paul Robinson are fighting for a starting place at centre back. Robinson is a former United loanee and is now Birmingham City captain, and is fit again after missing the start of the season.

Danger Men:

Leeds – Stuart Dallas. The Northern Irish winger has been Leeds main creative outlet so far, and has the ability to create openings. With Dallas, Buckley, Botaka and Byram in the squad, we now have competition for places and different options, and he has looked threatening playing on the right of midfield when played there. Dallas will be key if Wood isn’t fit as it means Antenucci will play, taking away the long ball and increasing the need for link up play, with Antenucci’s movement, Dallas has the potential to be a match winner.

Birmingham – Clayton Donaldson. Briefly linked with a move to Elland Road before the Whites moved for Wood, he has been involved in 8 of their 14 goals this season, and will ensure Sol Bamba has a busy day. The former Brentford striker is a big physical presence and with the pace of Demarai Gray, it could be a busy day for the Leeds defence. Charlie Taylor and Gaetano Berardi will be vital in preventing Cotterill and Gray from delivering crosses into Donaldson, while they possess strength in depth with Maghoma and Toral fighting for a first team place.

  • Mike

    i think the key will be keep the mistakes to a minimum, honestly outplayed Middlesborough last weekend and came out big losers mainly due to shambolic mistakes. I’ve backed Bellusci over Cooper in the past but I honestly cant anymore after his recent performances. Cooper has to go back in the starting lineup.

  • Scally Lad

    Dominated and clean-sheeted again at home. Time for Uwe to go. He’s had his chance. The Mighty Whites need a gaffer with some creativity in charge.

  • henrymouni

    Groundhog day!!
    Uwe saying we have to get back to basics!!
    I was in the minority before the season started when I said we have a poor squad & our close seasons signings were inadequate.
    I even got vile abuse from a few!!
    We have a poor defence still, with an ineffective midfield, and a toothless attack.
    Once Brum got the first goal it was all over for us.
    Uwe got sucked into the belief that the players he wanted were not needed.
    Rely on the youngsters!
    Byram and Mowatt have faded and Lewis is now tightly marked.
    We are passing round in circles.
    Our free kicks and corners (which we have been working on all week) are dreadful.
    We are no better and maybe worse than last year!!!
    I think we are 16th now, and way off the pace, and heading down.