Ahead of our vital clash with Wigan on this Good Friday, we spoke to Jake, an avid Latins fan.
How long have you supported Wigan Athletic and why did you choose them as your team?
I have been following Wigan athletic home and away games for the past 10 years. I was originally born In Liverpool and followed them for my early years but since moving to Wigan and going to a few a games I instantly fell in love with them as every game was a challenge. Cheap season tickets and watching top footballers in the premier league was amazing. Wigan seem to be a team that will always surprise you and that’s why I follow them.
What’s your favourite moment as a fan. Season, game or anything other occasion.
I have to say the FA cup final against Man City in 2013 was just a day I’ll never forget. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. I can remember exactly what happened... the tannoy announced there was 3 minutes of added time, as that happened Shaun Maloney whipped in a corner and up stepped what Wigan fans called God... Ben Watson with a header into the top corner. That feeling will live with every Wigan fan for the rest of our lives. I don’t see us ever doing that again, we were told we could never do it and that Man City were to strong. Little Wigan proved everyone wrong.
Monday 8/4 continued
Leeds captain Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips were selected in the EFL Championship team of the season. The most surprising omission was Pablo Hernandez. Looks like the lads enjoyed their evening out.
Liam Cooper, Victor Orta and Kalvin Phillips with their awards.
Marcelo Bielsa on the game with Preston North End and Hernandez doubt: “The desire to be first or second is a very high motivation because it’s the aim and objective of one year of work, in the last part of the season, we want to solve this situation and our motivation is higher.In all of the games that are going to play from now until the end of the season, they have the same conditions- we have to win every game.”
“Preston North End are a different team in the Championship, they play with a different style and the players that they are using to develop this style are different to normal players for this.”
On Hernandez: “Pablo received a hit in the last minute of the previous game. His evolution today is a positive evolution, but we are not going to take any risks.There are possibilities that Pablo cannot play the game, Kemar Roofe will go in his position if Pablo cannot play.”
Kalvin Phillips: “It goes to show that we’ve done really well this season,as a team we’ve been absolutely brilliant. I don’t think anybody expected to do as well as we have before the start of the season and it goes to show the hard work that everyone’s put in. There’s six more big games to go but hopefully after tomorrow night, we can have a little chill, relax and watch Sheffield United get beat!”
“You win some and lose some. We didn’t play particularly well against Birmingham but we played really well against Sheffield United and lost. We take that as having to play better and if we play better, we’ll win. I think at a club like Leeds United there will always be pressure. There's no reason why we can't go on and win promotion. If we keep playing like we are there's every chance, I think it's going to go right to the wire."
Ipswich Town have altered the way you have to apply for tickets for their last game of the season against Leeds.
You have to have been a resident in Ipswich for at least three generations and have a minimum of six fingers! This is what they really said "Tickets will only be sold to Town fans who are on the database with purchase history prior to this season.“
The entire allocation of 2,000 tickets for the Leeds section is sold out. Ipswich went further by saying that: “Home supporters found to be passing their ticket allocation to any away supporter will face a ban from purchasing match tickets at Portman Road.”
Luke Ayling and Pablo Hernandez have been named in the PFA Player of the Month for the month of March.
Alex Neil on Leeds United: “Leeds are going to be a different proposition than Sheffield United were due to the way they play. I'd say that Leeds have been the most impressive team over the course of the season, even though they are sitting in third.”
Leeds United under 23’s beat Ipswich Town under 23’s 3-0 at Elland Road. Goals from Odour, Berardi, Edmundson.
Berardi nets number two.
Preston v Leeds
Team News: Leeds unchanged, Stevens replaces Clarke on the bench. One change for Preston, Johnson comes in for Gallagher
Team: Casilla, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper(c), Alioski, Phillips, Klich, Hernandez, Roberts, Harrison, Bamford.
Thanks to Leedsunited.com
Bamford ‘hammers’ his first goal.
Man of the Match: Patrick Bamford two goals, should have had three. Much better from the striker.
Marcelo Bielsa: “In the first half we deserved to win the game because we created four or five chances. They created one or two. The red card prevented one very clear chance and if you analyse the game 11 versus 11, we were the better team. I don’t want to say that we won the game because we played with one player more.”
“For a long time we’ve been playing well. Against Birmingham we went down in performance, especially the last 30 minutes, but the team tonight played like we’ve played all season. I’m proud of the performance because all of the players played at a high level.”
“I thought Patrick Bamford adapted very well after one very difficult game. He didn't play well against Millwall, against Birmingham he increased his level and performance. Having three chances is something positive for a striker. He improved his performance again today with two goals and he put in a lot of work for the team.”
Alex Neil: "I thought we matched them tonight and then the sending off has changed the game. They are not a team that you want to play against with 10 men and it was always going to be a very difficult game from that point.”
“The sending-off really put us on the back foot and we had to sit back. Leeds are not easy to stop, they are probably the hardest team in the league to stop and I think we found a way to do that up until the crucial error that determined the game."
Carnage after Bamford’s second.
Leeds are now guaranteed a top-six finish in the Championship for the first time since the 2005/06 season.
They have also recorded their highest points total(79)since winning Division Two in the 1989/90(85)season and the most wins in the second tier(24).
David Watkins and Heidi Haigh review the much needed win at Deepdale.
Thanks to David and Heidi.
Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on the real ‘King of the North’
“In Bielsa we Trust”
Sheffield United draw with Birmingham City 1-1 at St Andrews so stay third, Norwich draw 2-2 with Reading at Carrow Road, Villa win 2-1 at Rotherham and manu lose 1-0 to Barcelona in the Champs League Q/Final.
Pablo Hernandez is nominated for EFL player of the month for March.
Other nominees are
Semi Ajayi (Rotherham)
Emiliano Buendia (Norwich)
Jack O’Connell (Sheffield United)
Marcelo Bielsa looks ahead to Sheffield Wednesday: “From the change of the coach, Sheffield Wednesday have taken good results, they use less players and they keep to their style of play during the games. For us we have to win the five games left. When you have less points to win because you are in the last games of the league, the gap or space for mistakes is reduced.”
“In football anything can happen in one game, the game that Norwich played on Wednesday is a summary of this. The results of our opponents make us play with more responsibilities, but despite any result they can get, we have to win our games.”
“For us to play the games with the obligation to win is something that is not new for us. I don’t remember one game this season where we haven’t played to win the game. It is no good to make any analysis until this objective is complete, the only important thing is if we get promotion.”
“We play with obligation to win promotion, not to make the best season. We have to win the five games left. When you have few points left to win because you’re in the last few games of the league, the gap or the space for mistakes reduces. Anything can happen in one football game.”
“Any of the results of our opponents could make us play more freely or play with more responsibility but with any result they (Sheffield United) get, we still need to win the games.”
“For us, to play the games with an obligation to win is nothing new. I don’t remember playing one game without thinking we had to win it.”
The Head Coach also said that Leeds will keep the same starting eleven for the weekend clash with Wednesday. Marcelo Bielsa has picked the same outfield players for the ninth consecutive game. The only game where the starting eleven have changed is Millwall when Bailey Peacock-Farrell replaced Kiko Casilla who was suspended.
Tyler Roberts: “Of late I have been playing the 10 role, I prefer it in the centre of the pitch definitely. In training it has been different for me learning different positions but I have enjoyed it and it has been a positive for me. It has given me a boost in confidence.
I like to get on the ball and trying to beat players so I can do that here. 9 or 10 are my prefered positions, I tried it at 7 and it didn't work out that well but I am enjoying that position. I would like to get a few more goals and assists of course but the main thing is promotion.”
On the pressure of being second: “I wouldn't say we feel pressure, more positivity flowing through the camp. I didn't watch the game last night, I watched Barca, I just checked the result at the end! I was flicking over they channels and stuff but it's more a case of that we have got five games to go and we have got to win all five of them.”
We’ve met before
Leeds 1-2 Sheffield Wednesday March 2017
Leeds 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday February 2017
Leeds 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday August 2015
Leeds 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday October 2014
Leeds 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday August 2013
All Championship games.
Leeds face Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday tea time and by the time the teams come out of the tunnel they will know if they are third in the table as their main rival Sheffield United for an automatic place will have already played their game.
Sheffield Wednesday have improved under Steve Bruce and sit just below the top six in the Championship. They had an impressive 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest in midweek. Bruce has an impressive squad to pick from, with plenty of experience in it.
Marcelo Bielsa will stick with the eleven that beat Preston 2-0 and the starting eleven has changed only once in nine games. Patrick Bamford will be hopeful of continuing where he left off on Tuesday, the striker had gone four games without a goal before Preston but proved he will be an asset in the last five games of the season. His ratio of goals in games is as good as anybody in the Championship.
It’s a game Leeds need to win, but it may me a nervy affair with only a goal separating the two teams. Leeds 2-1.
Rotherham United’s Semi Ajayi is the EFL Championship Player of the Month for March. Manager of the Month was Dean Smith.
Leeds v Sheffield Wednesday
Team News: Gaetano Berardi comes in as a late replacement for Liam Cooper who was injured in the pre match warm up. Luke Ayling takes the captains armband. Three changes for Sheffield Wednesday.
Team: Casilla, Ayling(c), Jansson, Berardi, Alioski, Phillips, Klich, Hernandez, Roberts, Harrison, Bamford.
Ryan Ingham reviews the game
Jack Harrison scores and celebrates.
Commentary from BBC Radio Leeds
Man of the Match: Tyler Roberts, impressive throughout and one of his best games in the white shirt.
Marcelo Bielsa: “There are 12 points to play for and we only have three points over them. We have to make analysis of this difference and think about what the numbers say. It's not a big difference. We played a good game because we defended well and attacked well too. We created chances to score but we only scored one goal.”
“When you’re winning by only one goal, you have to be focused because they created one chance in the last minute of the game. You always have to stay focused. We need to create a lot of chances to score a goal. It's important to create danger close to the opponent's goal but my objective is to improve our level of efficiency. The work in defence today was good. We didn’t suffer a lot of danger and we reacted well to the different skills of their strikers.”
Steve Bruce: “We didn't do enough but sometimes you have to credit the opposition. That's the third time I've seen them and they look a very good bet to go up. The transformation with similar players to where they were 12 months ago is remarkable. The intensity they played at, we found it a struggle and overall if I'm being brutally honest the better team won.”
“They look a totally different team to where they were 12 months ago. We found it very difficult to play against. They were very good today, I have to say that.”
David Watkins on high jinks in the Centenary Pavilion(following the Millwall equaliser)and another major step towards the Premiership.
Thank you David, hope the post match Malt tasted even sweeter.
Golf caddie Billy Foster showing his colours at the Masters in Augusta. The 52 year old is originally from Keighley, West Yorkshire. The tournament was won by ‘Tiger’ Woods, his first victory since 2005 and his fifth overall.
Wigan so nearly ‘clip’ the Canaries wings, only a linesman’s flag denies them a much needed victory over the Championship leaders. The game ended 1-1. Liverpool beat Chelski 2-0 at Anfield so top of the Premiership. Norwich head the Championship by four points.
Leeds captain Liam Cooper will have a scan on the injury he sustained during the warm up before the game with Sheffield Wednesday, he has a glute muscle injury. Marcelo Bielsa said this of his captain “He felt a pain like a strained muscle and usually the players don’t suffer an injury in this muscle but with the pain, he couldn’t play. Losing Cooper was an uncomfortable situation but Berardi adapted to the game very fast.”
“He(Cooper)leads with the way he plays, he’s always motivating the team, he’s a great team player and he has talent. He plays such an important role within the side.”
Heidi Haigh on a busy week, meeting fans and a stray ball plus her superb blog on the win over Sheffield Wednesday.
Thank you Heidi and hope your husband is ‘on the mend’. My best.
Saturday may be key to achieving the dream of promotion to the Premiership. Coupled with another poor result for Sheffield United it may be this weekend that we look back on as what made it possible. Can any of our nerves take the strain. Four games to go!
Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy. Still the families of the 96 people who lost loved ones still await JUSTICE.
You shall never be forgotten
I dedicate this diary to them.
Never give up your fight!
By Keith Ingham
Leeds United continued their winning run with a stellar performance against their Yorkshire Rivals.
A goal from Jack Harrison gave the three points to the home side but score could have been very different as Leeds dominated the game.
Sheffield Wednesday: WWDLW
Against Wednesday: WWLLD
At Home vs Wednesday: DDDWL
Leeds: Casilla Ayling Jansson Berardi Alioski Phillips, Klich, Hernandez, Roberts, Harrison, Bamford Subs: BPF, Davis, Shackleton, Dallas, Forshaw, Clarke Roofe
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Palmer, Lees, Hector, Fox, Boyd, Bannan, Hutchinson, Reach, Fletcher, Hooper Subs: Dawson, Lazaar, Matias Pelupessy, Forestieri, Winnall, Nuhiu
The game started with the news skipper Liam Cooper was replaced Gaetano Berardi after a minor injury during the warm up.
Within minutes Leeds were nearly ahead after a clever lobbed ball found Bamford but former White Tom Lees upended the striker and got a booking for his efforts.
Roberts was then the recipient of a beautiful cross from Alioski but his header was only just pushed away by Westwood.
Kiko Casilla was then called into action from a beautifully curled shot from Barry Bannan with a fingertip saved.
The game continued to fall into Leeds’ favour but the home side could not convert their chances, even when the ball had pinballed around the box giving them four bites at the Apple in quick concession.
The final chance of the half fell to Patrick Bamford who decided to square the ball through on goal to Tyler Roberts, with Westwood stopping his first effort before his second flew past the entire goal line.
Leeds continued to press into the second half with chances for both Pablo Hernandez and Alioski but it wasn’t until the 65th minute when the home side were able to convert a chance.
After some tricky play around the box, Pablo Hernandez was their to pick up his 11th assist of the season, squaring the ball to Jack Harrison who flicked the ball into the far corner.
The ground erupted as Leeds took the lead, the pensive atmosphere had dissipated and Leeds were pushing to go three points clear of third placed Sheffield United.
How the run in looks;
Man of the Match: Tyler Roberts, this young lad has the grace and presence of three Samu Saiz’s and is now showing the reason he’s moved to midfield. Positive on the ball and a constant handful.
By Ryan Ingham
Mick Hewitt is back again to keep your Spring busy with another programme fair. This time it’s been moved to the following;
Billy’s Bar, Elland Road
Sunday 14th April 10:30am to 1:30pm
Whilst most stands will have large amounts of Leeds related items, collectors from other clubs, League, Non-League & International will be well catered for.
Fun for all the family and a good day out!
Ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Sheffield Wednesday, we interviewed Wendie fan Dave about all things Owls.
How long have you supported Sheffield Wednesday and why did you choose them as your team?
I have supported them for as long as I can remember. Having two older brothers who were both Owls fans kind of made my mind up for me. Resistance
is, as they say, futile.
What's your favourite moment as a fan? Season, game or any other occasion.
The 1990 / 1991 season. Although we had been relegated the previous season,
this was the year we won automatic promotion back to the top flight and beat Manchester United in the League cup final at Wembley. Apart from the
success, the influence of Big Ron Atkinson and a team that included David Hirst, John Sheridan, Nigel Pearson, Danny Wilson and Carlton Palmer playing
the best free-flowing football I have ever seen at Hillsborough and probably ever will.
Tell us about a player that you were proud to have on the back of a shirt, if you didn't is there one you wished you would have?
Never had one. But if I wish, there is only one name - Eric Cantona. Prior to signing for Leeds, our then manager Trevor Francis had him on trial. Due to snow, training that week took place in the gym, and Trevor did not want to offer a contract until he had seen him play on grass. The next morning, he signed for Leeds and the rest is history. If only.
What's your most memorable match playing Leeds?
Saturday 30th October 1993. A 3-3 draw and a classic ding dong match that was up and down like a barmaids knickers. However, the real reason it is the most memorable is it was the match that was the first date with my now wife. There was also an altercation with some Leeds fans that didn’t end well for them, they didn’t return to their seats.
Are you happy with your dealings in this summer's transfer market?
Being under a self-imposed embargo for Profit and Sustainability part of Financial Fair Play rules rather put a kybosh on any major investment. With hindsight, I am happy that we have loaned Jordan Rhodes to Norwich rather than cash in as I feel that next season, under Steve Bruce, he will flourish and play an important part of the push for promotion.
What's your realistic aim for the season?
At the beginning of the season, and up until Christmas, it was avoiding relegation. Since Steve Bruce came, it is finish as high as possible. All the talk of sneaking into the playoffs is ludicrous given our run in, mostly against the top 6.
Your thoughts on #spygate / EFL Championship this season?
My only thought on Spygate was that I was shocked teams did not spy on the opposition. I mean, if you were a boxer, you would have your opponent watched to see strengths and weaknesses. I was astounded that this was not the case in football. I think this year's championship is the weakest for years. Poor teams came down from the Premier League. Nobody is dominating and the bunching of those with ambitions of the playoffs - down to about 14th place, shows that everyone is beating anyone.
Who are your three to be promoted this season? Two automatic places and playoff winners.
Promoted - Norwich and Sheffield United. Play-offs: West Brom. Sorry.
Can you name three for relegation this year.
Bolton, Rotherham, Ipswich
Who's your danger man?
For goals, Steven Fletcher has been on fire under Steve Bruce. Adam Reach has the potential to be absent or win the game with a piece of brilliance
Can you tell us about a rising star in the youth ranks?
Jordan Thorniley came through the youth setup which is starting to yield good results. Under Jos, he made several first team appearances and never
appeared phased or out of his depth.
Prediction and scorers for the game
0-0 I'm afraid. Steve Bruce has really tightened our defence although I cannot see that we will have the attacking instinct unless we go behind.
We’d like to thank Dave for answering all our questions and wish him the best of luck for the remainder of the season.
By Keith Ingham
The departure of Samu Saiz in the winter ended on a bad note.
The diminutive magician departed Elland Road due to complex family issues that forced him to return home to Spain to support his wife.
However, when the dust had settled, there had been some choose words said from Adam Forshaw and the playing staff to say the dressing room may had lost an ‘individual’ on Saiz’s departure.
However, several fixtures over the past month or so have not gone Leeds’ way, not for the want of trying. But it’s hard not to think the influx of a skilful and brave midfielder could have made a difference.
Saiz was always known for his abrasive runs from midfield and his ability to commit midfielders and defenders alike was renowned for giving players like Hernandez and Roofe space to create chances.
Although Tyler Roberts has shown some promise in this role, a player I do believe will adapt to Bielsa’s teachings and become an Oxlade-Chamberlain type of player.
For the first time all season, Marcelo Bielsa could have a severe selection headache heading into tomorrow’s clash with Preston.
Leeds are lacking goals and this was apparent when they were unable to apply the finishing touches to four key chances against an out of form Birmingham City at the weekend.
The focus now turns to a Preston North End side that are challenging for the playoffs and deadly on a good day. A loss over the Pennines could be lethal in giving Sheffield United the perfect opportunity to strike a fatal blow in our promotion hopes with a win against Birmingham City.
Leeds’ fate is now out of their hands, but the pendulum could swing again at any moment and they need to be ready to strike.
The Whites now have a somewhat fit Kemar Roofe and a somewhat out of form Patrick Bamford.
With Roofe, it may be too soon for him to start a game, the point is that if he’s now ready for action, we’re in need of a player who can get the crucial goals and the ‘Man on Fire’ has shown it time and time again over the past 18 months.
Bamford had shown the season had ended when Roofe was crocked and expected to miss most of the close to the season. However, it has shown in recent weeks that he can be isolated up front by himself and needs some clinical support.
In steps Roofe, but not as an auxiliary midfielder or in the Pablo role, but a partner in crime to get the goals we need.
This may mean that Bielsa has to deviate from his preferred formation and push toward a more dangerous 4-1-3-2, but if that is the case, the fitness the players have in getting back to defend should make this a non-issue.
If we allow Pablo the space in the middle along with the support of Phillips, Clarke and Harrison getting back, the ball is likely to drop to one of Roofe or Bamford in perfect space to make it count.
These six cup finals are everything we’ve waited fifteen years for, now if the time to get that kitchen sink and throw it as hard as we can.
What’s your opinion? Should there be a Roofe/Bamford partnership or who would you start tomorrow? Have your say in the comments below.
By Ryan Ingham
Leeds United look set to capture another young star as they set up a £400k deal in the summer, according to Football Insider.
The deal to take Stuart McKinstry to Elland Road could be rapped up before Leeds United know their fate in this years promotion merry-go-round.
Even though the club are battling for automatic promotion, the club are still focussed on bolstering their youth ranks with acquisitions and the latest could be the young Scot.
The 16-year old is currently contracted to Motherwell where he is yet to make a senior appearance, although has been named as a sub for the Scottish side.
However, his glowing performances in the youth ranks has gifted him the opportunity to star for Scotland Under 17’s where he has recently been called up for their bout of European Qualifiers.
A natural wide midfielder, it would be very easy to compare McKinstry with former Leeds Scot Robert Snodgrass, who joined from Livingston 10 years ago. However, with his skillset and knowledge on and off the ball, it would be more precise to compare him to current Motherwell loanee and former Leeds striker Ross McCormack.
Contracted until 2020, Leeds are set to complete a £400k deal in which the club pay in instalments along with additional bonuses which could include a friendly akin to the Jordan Stevens deal with Forest Green.
Likely another signing to join the development squad like Kun Temenezkhov and Matesuz Bogusz, with Leeds’ small squad and Bielsa’s faith in youth, it might not be long before we see the young Scot handed a chance at Leeds.
By Ryan Ingham