Charlton goalkeeper Ben Hamer is depicted as encased in a suit of armour as he prepares for tonight's game at Elland Road. He might as well be as Leeds have scored eighteen goals in their last eight home matches.
The New York Addick is always reminding us that football is a game of thin margins and so it has proved so far this season with all our defeats being by one goal. This confirms my view that we are just a couple of players short of a truly competitive side.
The Leeds fan who assaulted Chris Kirkland at Hillsborough on Friday has been now been dealt with by the courts: Moron
Leeds are not a popular club in some quarters, something that dates back to the 1980s, but I have a lot of sympathy with any fans who have to put up with England's Mr Football, cuddly Ken Bates, as chairman. Let's hope he doesn't turn up at The Valley once the takeover at Leeds is completed. However, the Leeds fan writing in Four Four Two says that he deserves credit for keeping the club afloat.
The takeover by Islamic finance outfit Gulf Finance House has proved to be very protracted, the latest development being difficulties over compliance with Sharia law given that the club sells bacon rolls, dispenses alcohol and offers opportunities for gambling. However, it is thought that a way can be found to get round this and obtain the necessary fatwa. Leeds should then be able to strengthen the team in the January transfer window (they are one of my promotion picks).
I have a good friend who is a Leeds supporter. Born and growing up in Guernsey, he did not take the conventional route of following Southampton and then went to university in Leeds so that he could support his team. A little more difficult now that he lives in Malmo from where he commutes to his job in Copenhagen.
I think he is likely to have bragging rights tonight. With Fuller and Kermorgant now both injured, we will probably revert to the 4-4-1-1, although there has been a lot of debate among the Addickted among the merits or otherwise of Razak. Wright-Phillips has also come in for some criticism and I don't think that he really flourishes as a lone striker. He works better with a partner.
Leeds fans would probably admit that their current team is not perfect. Last season they finished 14th, but Four Four Two predicted a 2nd place finish. The Football League Paper had them 5th, but The Times thought that a top six finish would be difficult given a turbulent summer during which manager Neil Warnock came close to resignation. Leeds are currently 9th, but the table is closely packed and a win tonight could move them up quite a way.
I have a lot of reservations about Paddy Kenny in the Leeds goal and against the Owls he nearly let in a howler from a speculative shot from Boothroyd. Against Wednesday, Tom Lees was good in patches but often looked out of control and was beaten too easily. Aiden White did his job defensively, but offered very little going forward. Sam Byram offered a performance below his usual standard. Rodolph Austin was fresh from playing Jamaica and looked laboured and tired, but Michael Brown got stuck in and galvanised the team. It was a superb piece of individual skill by Michael Tonge that got the point for Leeds. Becchio offered very little up front, but charm merchant El-Hadji Diouf was always a threat.
Given that he is facing Charlton and it is one of three games in a week, manager Neil Warnock intends to rest any players with the hint of a problem: Warnock
Leeds are not invincible and Charlton did bounce back from the home defeat against Watford to secure a surprise win against Blackpool, but I think that the Seasiders are a more erratic team than Leeds. The Addicks do tend to play better away from home, but I think this looks like a home win for Leeds by at least 2-0. I still remember the 1-6 home defeat by Leeds in the Premiership when the Covered End did a conga. Odds (Coral) are home win 17/20, draw 5/2, Charlton 27/10. All the officials are from the north, so we can expect no quarter for southern softies. Away reporter Paul May will be covering the game.