This week The Scratching Shed is delighted to welcome Chris Sumpter, the Deputy Sports Editor of The Scunthorpe Telegraph to give us his thoughts ahead of Leeds v Scunthorpe at Elland Road tomorrow.

Ryan – Hi, thanks for joining us, are you looking forward to Saturday’s game at Elland Road?

Chris – Not really no. Our record at Elland Road is poor and it’s never the most welcoming of venues for visiting sides. Still, if we go there expecting little then we can only come away happy and surprised if we do get something out of the game.

Ryan – The last time we met, back in October, Leeds were 4-1 winners. Has much changed for Scunthorpe since then?

Chris – Again, not really, sadly. We’ve still not picked up another point at home, yet we’ve looked capable of getting a result at most teams, Doncaster being the exception, on our travels.

Ryan – What have you made of Ian Baraclough since he took over from Nigel Adkins at Glanford Park?

Chris – He’s done okay, no better, no worse. Really the jury is still out. He’s his own man so looking for similarities between him and Adkins is unfair, even though he was a key part of the former manager’s backroom staff. Given time, which is one thing he will get at Scunthorpe, we’ll be in a better position to judge. Show me any other manager though who has a tougher job than he does and I’ll call you a liar. It’s worth remembering he’s in his first managerial job, at a side that was already starting to show signs of a slide, in a division in which he’s got by far and away the lowest budget to work with. We couldn’t even afford to pay Yakubu’s win bonus, let alone sign him on loan for the season, ala Leicester City.

Ryan – You’re currently 23rd in the league but despite poor home form, you’ve had some good results away from home. What do you put this down to? Where do you realistically expect to finish at the end of the season?

Chris – Despite being rocky defensively, we seem to play much better against teams who have a go against us, something you’re expected to when you’re a home side, which is why playing away has worked better for us. Glanford Park was something of  an unknown quantity last year, so when teams turned up expecting to roll the Iron over, they got a shock to learn they could actually play. This year a lot of sides have put five across the middle of the park and stifled Scunthorpe’s game, which has asked questions they have so far struggled to answer. The big thing now for me though is confidence. The players seem to have lost that ability of how to win when they’re at home.

Ryan – Are there any Scunthorpe players inparticular that we should be looking out for on Saturday?

Chris – The Iron have signed Manchester City midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim on loan today, so all eyes from this side will be on him. He’s likened to a young Vieira by City, so he’s clearly been brought in to try to offer a leaky back four a bit of protection. He ran the middle of the park when United played the Blues last season in the FA Cup. Otherwise, Pontefract’s favourite son, Martyn Woolford, has been our best player, though can impress and disappoint in equal measure.

Ryan – If you could sign one current Leeds player for Scunthorpe, who would it be?

Chris – Luciano Becchio. The Iron lack anyone with his presence and finishing ability up front, which is one reason why they’re in the mess they currently are.

Ryan – The Championship 2010/11, 3 up, 3 down?

Chris – The title is QPR’s to lose, which I can’t see happening. Then it’s between about four clubs for automatic, of which Leeds are one. Personally, I think the feel-good factor at Elland Road will see your lot go a long way, so I’ll say Leeds and Forest. In the opposite direction, Preston and Crystal Palace are pretty much certainties to go down and Scunthorpe look likely to go the same way unless they buck their ideas up. Despite Sheff United and Middlesbrough having poor seasons, I think they’ve enough about them to keep their noses just out of trouble, which means Ipswich are the side Scunthorpe should be targeting to catch.

Ryan – Finally, whats your prediction for the game? I’m going for a 2-0 Leeds win.

Chris – I’d love to predict an away victory, but I think everyone at United would settle for a point. We’ve a nasty habit of shooting ourselves in the foot by conceding sloppy, early goals and if we do that at Elland Road, we might as well call it a day and go home early. Would be better for our goal difference!

Ryan – Enjoy the game, thanks for taking part!

Chris – I will try. If you want to know my take on what’s going on, you can follow me on Twitter @chrissumpter80