Matters off the field have distracted from the football against Hull already, with what has been dubbed ‘pie tax’ proving to be a controversial introduction. The issue surrounds the purchase of tickets in the South Stand of Elland Road, where a large and vocal following has situated in the last 2 seasons, and the introduction of a mandatory £5 ‘deal’. The ‘deal’ is an extra £5 charge on top of ticket prices that can be exchanged for a Pie and a drink, but there is no option on the deal, it is a mandatory charge, even if you don’t want a pie. Or a drink. It’s two fingers to the Leeds fans once again, the last thought in a long process of increasingly strange decisions. Fans have arranged a walk out protest to the decision, and to Massimo Cellino’s continued ownership of the club in the 17th minute, for 17 minutes to display their dismay at the ownership situation.

In footballing terms, Leeds’ poor form coming into this match makes for a pretty negative outlook on the game against Hull City. Back to back losses against Rotherham and QPR, two sides who Steve Evans would have been looking to take points from, have dented the confidence of an under-performing side. In sharp contrast, Hull lie in 4th place, in a tightly contested battle at the top, where only 4 points separate 1st and 5th position, although they too have lost back to back games, though it was against Derby and Man City in the League Cup.

Steve Bruce has the welcome addition of former Whites captain Robert Snodgrass to his squad, with the Scottish international midfielder being out of action with a knee injury he sustained on his debut for the Tigers back in August 2014. While Kalvin Phillips could be set to return to the match-day squad for Leeds, while Sol Bamba will face a late fitness test and is unlikely to start.

Leeds currently lie in 17th, 4 points ahead of Huddersfield Town, who occupy the last relegation place, but already 9 points away from 6th place Birmingham City. Leeds face a number of problems, notably scoring goals, scoring just 16 in 18 this season, and particularly in tight games, United have struggled to find the finishing product, as was evident against both Rotherham and QPR, though they rarely threatened at Loftus Road. Hull have hit 27 goals in their 18 games, conceding just 11, and Abel Hernandez is their top scorer with 7, but their goals come from a variety of goalscorers.

Hull’s squad boasts an array of former Premier League talent, including Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, David Meyler and Mohammed Diame, some of their midfield enforcers. Leeds struggled to cope with the strength of Sandro at Loftus Road, and the impact of Bridcutt and Cook will be key against a midfield with plenty of pedigree and strength. The midfield is a battle that United have lost several times this season, with no combination of central midfielders pinning down a place, and Alex Mowatt out on the left of midfield. Luke Murphy’s poor form, injuries to Phillips and Bianchi, and the disappearance of Casper Sloth have compiled the problems for Steve Evans.

Hull have 3 former Leeds players in their squad; the aforementioned Snodgrass, Alex Bruce and Jake Livermore, who spent a forgettable period on loan back when Simon Grayson was manager. Snodgrass will likely get a good reception after a 4 year spell at Elland Road, in which he captained the side before he left for Norwich in summer 2012. While Leeds defender Liam Cooper is a former Hull player, playing for the TIgers before moving to Chesterfield.

The two sides last met in 2012/13, when Hull were promoted from the Championship, and Hull won both meetings that season, including a 3-2 win at Elland Road. Leeds last win against the Tigers came in August 2011, when goals from Ross McCormack, Tom Lees, Robert Snodgrass and Ramon Nunez secured a win for the Whites. The two sides have met 44 times in total, with Leeds winning 20 compared to Hull’s 14, although many of these matches were played in the 1920’s and 50’s. Leeds are actually without a win in 3 against Hull, although the fact that the sides haven’t met almost 3 years, since a convincing 2-0 victory for Hull, is obviously a factor. Since the two sides last played, Leeds have had 7 managers (the manager at the time was Neil Warnock), while Hull’s manager is still Steve Bruce.

Hull are generally 1/1 favourites for the clash, with Leeds at around 3/1 to take maximum points in the Yorkshire derby.

  • Matthew

    Increasing prices now, based on the current form of the team is lunacy.

    • Scally Lad

      Spot on, Matthew, but if Cellino is unable to invest more in the club, where else is the money to come from?

  • Chris supporter for 54 years

    You couldn’t make it up but yet another lunatic decision by Cellino he doesn’t give any thought to the long suffering Leeds supporters. To charge an extra £5 for something even if you don’t want it beggars belief but that the mad man that Cellino is. Having said that and led to understand the South stand is sold out tomorrow I have to say that walking out for 17 minutes does nothing whatsoever to help the team that is struggling enough as it is. I ask those sitting in the South stand to reconsider this pointless move. Team before self.

  • John Brown

    Did the price of a ticket noticeably go up £5 at the same time the “Free Pie and Drink” deal was introduced? Then they’re not free, obviously. A deal would be a pie and a drink for an extra 1 penny. That would be a real inducement to sell more tickets.