Preview

The feel good factor has gone since Chris Powell's appointment. Two disappointing results that contained some extruciating football to watch for the fans. One point and one goal at home doesn't seem good enough.

Added to that misery is that Town have now slipped into the relegation zone, albeit on goal difference from Bolton. Yet you sense that this is where we may well be for most of the season should performances and our luck not improve.

On the bright side Tuesday night saw a first clean sheet of the season, another good performance from new signing Mark Hudson and Alex Smithies was in top form.

Smithies will hope his performance can continue against Leeds, a side he always seems to make a mistake against. Perhaps the local lad wants it a bit too much?!

This isn't the most anticipated derby against Leeds for along time but three points and bragging rights may just end a season of misery for Town fans so far.


Likely Line-up

Surprisingly Chris Powell chose not to use 4-4-2 on Tuesday night adopting a 4-3-3 formation which didn't really work with Nahki Wells playing on the wing.

With Joel Lynch expected to be fit and Danny Ward only subbed due to a severe migraine, then changes to that side will be minimal.

Sean Scannell may well come in for Jon Stead who looked exhausted after being clattered by Wigan's centre backs for 90minutes on Tuesday. 4-2-3-1 is definitely our best formation with the players in our squad.


Prediction

Leeds 2 -0 Town

James Vaughan is a huge loss and without him Town seem to lack any sort of balance with Nahki Wells either up front on his own or forcing him to play out wide.

Under Powell we may now be solid at the back but going forward we look awful. Leeds on the other hand are coming into some form so I expect them to be comfortable winners.


Know Your Enemy

If you didn't know already, throughout this season, Thrice Champions will be getting the views of opposition fans, bloggers and podcasters so you know the story behind the club they know so much about.

Ahead of tomorrows West Yorkshire derby clash with Leeds United, we spoke to Dan Rahnavard, a White's fan, to get the low down on the opposition.

Here's what he had to say to our questions...


TC: After Tuesday nights victory down at Bournemouth, is the confidence now starting to grow in this set of players?

DR: To an extent, since the international break we’ve not lost, winning two and drawing one (two of those games coming away from home). Putting a small run together is always going to breed confidence so I’m sure the players are in a good place. It was always going to be a big test, particularly of the new foreign players, going a goal down to Bournemouth away on a Tuesday night hundreds of miles away from home.

They passed the test which will give them confidence and also us as fans but it was by no means a walkover and we could have easily been two or three down in the first half. Confidence will have grown on the back of the result yes however I would like to think the players know they still have a lot to work on.


TC: Would you say the transfer window has been a success after you've brought in 15 players?

DR: The problem with the 15 that have come in is the timing. It should have been done much earlier in the summer and perhaps we would have started the season better. Prior to Millwall away on the first day of the season 5/6 had come in but the fans knew it wasn’t enough. The manner of the defeat to Millwall spooked Cellino into putting his foot down in the transfer market and then the rest followed.

The players that have come in come with good pedigrees. It’s probably only now the squad is settled and finished and they’ve had the international break together that Leeds fans are starting to see what they can really do. So I would say now the squad is gelling its certainly looking more promising.


TC: Massimo Cellino, is he really the right man to lead Leeds forward given some of his bizarre decisions such as appointing Hockaday?

DR: In Italy Cellino had a habit of taking managers from the lower leagues and giving them a chance to prove themselves at a higher level (although he never delved into the fifth tier!) This came with mixed results, some crashed and burned a la Hockaday and some like Massimiliano Allegri were a success (current Juventus manager, formerly AC Milan manager) Cellino is learning about English football and Leeds United, and whilst such a method may work with Calglari, a small stable club where expectations are maybe lower and such gambles less noticeable when they go wrong, the formula wasn’t transferable to a club like Leeds, a polar opposite.

Again it’s a bit too early to say overall but I think the majority of fans are thinking so far so good and have a cautiously optimistic and even trusting view of Cellino. In his defence he puts his money where his mouth is. Leeds has always had ‘interested parties’ in the wings wanting to buy or invest in the club but for whatever reason (Bates, lack of capital etc.) it never really happened. He came in put £25m on the table and bought the club in the space of 10 days. It took GFH 6 months! He has submitted papers to buy back Elland Road which will cost £16m, gave the club a £15m transfer budget, bought a new squad and cleared the debts of £15m created by GFH. Leeds and Cellino are a perfect fit for all sorts of reasons, who better to run an asylum than a lunatic?

TC: What concerns do the fans have about such a renegade chairman and the state of the club?

DR: Cellino says the club is now debt free with £20m working capital plus the unbudgeted income from the McCormack sale. So the club is in a healthy state financially. That said Cellino’s past or rather one particular episode of the past is a lingering concern. He successfully appealed his failure to pass the Football League’s infamous Fit and Proper Persons Test on the basis that whilst he had received a conviction in an Italian court the court had not yet decided if he had acted dishonestly.

The Italian legal system is notoriously slow and the written judgement of the court isn’t expected anytime soon so this will linger on in the background for now. Interestingly the Italian court are on record as saying they’ve received no request from the Football League for a copy of the written judgement when indeed it is produced. If/when the court produces a written judgement, should it decide that Cellino had acted dishonestly the Football League can revisit the FPPT, fail Cellino and technically force him to sell the club. Unchartered territory that again would no doubt end up in in the courts.

 

TC: Who would you regard as the right man to step into the vacant manager/first team coach role?

DR: Given the expectations, pressure and constant limelight Leeds seem to find themselves in it has to be someone with experience. Cellino realises this now and got his fingers burnt badly by the Hockaday palaver. Cellino being the ‘hands on’ type shall we say demands control and wants a certain style of football played. Oh and experience of the championship and working with continental players would be helpful. Not sure who, if anyone, would fit all of the above, Garcia perhaps could have been a good fit with the way he got Brighton playing and his continental experience, Steve Clarke also has this from when he was assistant manager at Chelsea but I’m not sure he wants the job or would work for Cellino.

I think Zola would tick a lot of the boxes but unsurprisingly him and Cellino have fallen out. He would still be my choice though. Cellino is all about the ego and he was suitably embarrassed with the whole Hockaday affair so I’m not surprised he’s taking his time with the next appointment.


TC: Which Leeds player should Huddersfield fans worry about?

DR: Adryan, who’s represented Brazil U21s is  Cellino's marquee signing (£3m) and will likely make his debut on Saturday albeit from the bench I suspect. Silvestri (the keeper) has been the standout player since the beginning of the season with some real standout performances.

TC: Which Huddersfield player do you think Leeds fans should worry about?

DR: Leeds fans will be pleased if Vaughan doesn’t play, after him most will hope Nakhi Wells has a quiet afternoon!


TC: What is your prediction for Saturday?

DR: Really difficult to say because it’s the first real derby for the new players and how they react could be a factor.I know some say form goes out of the window in a derby game. I’m not sure that’s true entirely. Leeds come into it in good form whilst Huddersfield not so much and so I think the first goal is vital. I think if we score first I would fancy us to go on and win.

However if Huddersfield score first and have something to fight for then equally I could see them winning. Leeds have put a little bit form together but are by no means the finished article yet and despite winning against Bournemouth the other night we could have easily been 2 or 3 down in the first half!

If Leeds score first I think 3-1 Leeds. If Huddersfield score first I think 2-1 Huddersfield. Does that class as sitting on the fence?

Irrespective of the result, good luck for the rest of the season.


Leeds United fan Dan Rahnavard was speaking with Thrice Champions' Greg Marah.

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