With the Championship being so competitive these days, clubs who may have started the season with aspirations of promotion can quickly end up struggling in the bottom of the table, a situation that Leeds and Blackpool now find themselves in.
For Leeds United, their recent slump in form is part of general upheaval at the club that they have had to endure this season. However some sense of stability may now have come over the club with the presence of new owner Massimo Cellino.
The Italian millionaire has finally succeeded in completing his takeover at Elland Road, having won his appeal against the football league blocking this takeover. He is now committed to the club starting fresh with his presence at Elland Road. Speaking of the change this week Cellino said:
Now I’m driving the bus. Now the bus is ours and we have to run the bus. The other driver [before] is not my problem – he can sit on the bench, he can go fishing.”
Despite making progress off the pitch, they must now look to address the problems on it as Leeds look to turn around form which has produced eight defeats from their previous 9 Championship games.
However with Brian McDermott’s position being extremely fragile as manager of the club, it will be interesting to see if he can still manage to motivate his squad to climb higher than their current 16th position by the season’s end.
However for Blackpool, they find themselves in a worse and considerably more precarious position. They have only two league wins from their previous 22 league games, form that has left them a mere three points clear of the relegation zone.
Worryingly for them ahead of their trip to Yorkshire this weekend is their away form this season, as Blackpool have not won away from Bloomfield Road since the 2nd of November.
What may be in their favour is that Leeds have a long list of injuries coming into this game to add to their long-term sidelined players Paddy Kenny and El Hadji Diouf. Their short-term absentees for this game look to be Sam Byram, Jimmy Kebe, Rudy Austin and Luke Murphy which cause squad selection problems that McDermott could do without.
Blackpool though are in much better shape in terms of squad selection with only two missing on squad selection, those being Ricardo Fuller and Kirk Broadfood. Player/Manager Barry Ferguson could also make himself available for selection having recovered from an ankle injury.
With both sides slipping towards the wrong end of the table three points, particularly for relegation threatened Blackpool will be a welcome tonic. Much of this result though will depend on how Leeds begin to perform with Massimo Cellino now steering things at the club.
The previous meeting of these sides this season was a draw and given each sides form, a similar result this weekend can be expected.
[button color=”light” link=”” target=””]Leeds[/button] Blackpool: Butland, Lees, Zaliukas, Pearce, Wootton, Brown, Tonge, Murphy, Warnock, McCormack, Smith.
[button color=”black” link=”” target=””]Blackpool[/button] Gilks, McMahon, MacKenzie, Cathcart, Robinson, Ferguson, Perkins, Basham, Bishop, Halliday, Goodwillie