Garry Monk on the trip over the Pennines to face Preston North End on Boxing Day: Both Chris Wood and Charlie Taylor are fit for the Preston game, O'Kane misses out again but could be fit for the home game with Rotherham in the New Year, "Woody's injury wasn't as serious as we first thought which is great news."
Taking games as they come, three points is all that matters, on Taylor, needs 'wrapping in cotton wool' and that Leeds won't loose players but will hopefully add to the squad, Hernandez is also fit to be in contention for the game on Boxing Day, made a good point saying "I don't agree that Christmas is a defining point of the season, not at all." and ended with a message for the fans "Keep coming to the games, you have been great"
A Merry Christmas Monk.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL 🍾
Head to Head
Preston 23 wins
Leeds wins 18
Last Five games
Preston 1 Leeds 1 Champ 16
Leeds 1 Preston 0 Champ 15
Preston 1 Leeds 2 Champ 11
Leeds 4 Preston 6 Champ 10
Leeds 2 Preston 1 Champ 07
Leeds will want to continue their impressive pre Christmas run results when they travel 'over the border' to Preston, buoyed by over five thousand travelling fans they have a excellent chance against their old manager's team. Like most games in this league Preston, on their day are a good side.
With a multitude of links through playing, managerial and boardroom they will want to put one over their former employers.
I see a close game with Leeds edging it by the odd goal in three. Leeds 2-1.
Preston v Leeds
Team news: Two changes, Bridcutt and Berardi replace Vieira and Taylor. Hernandez and Wood on the bench.
Team: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, Bridcutt(c), Phillips, Sacko, Roofe, Dallas, Doukara.
Leeds without doubt were 'up for this', three goals in less than ten minutes made for a entertaining first period, firstly Roofe made sure that Pontus Jansson's header was a goal, then he superbly set up Hadi Sacko for Leeds' second goal.
There was a moment of uncertainty in the usually resolute back line to let the home side back in the game, before 'Sully' Doukara's splendid finish restored the two goal lead. Preston in the second half tested Green and he repelled them in style.
The game's big talking point came when Beckford lashed out at Bartley after a clash on the touch line, the striker had just come back into their squad after a three match ban for fighting with one of his teammates. Hernandez finished the home team off late on with a splendid finish, following a flowing Leeds move.
A superb win.
Celebration time, Roofe grabs his second of the season.
Garry Monk: Thought Leeds could have scored more, disappointed with their first goal, Bartley was 'concussed' but carried on and will be fit for Villa on Thursday. "He had a bit of treatment but it was nothing more than that."
He ended by saying "I thought it was good all round performance against a team that had been doing well lately".
A well satisfied Monk.
Simon Grayson on the Beckford red card: "He's probably going to get a 4 match ban....sometimes heat of moment you do things you shouldn't"
New and Old
Heidi's observation of the fantastic Boxing Day win at Deepdale
Thanks Heidi. Superb piece on a brilliant win and appreciate the links so far this season.
Hope you have a superb New Year.
A very positive reaction to the Preston victory, Head Coach, Ayling, Bartley/Jansson pairing and Bridcutt, Hernandez all getting good reviews.
Andrew Butterwick's review of the Preston game and his reaction to a certain Mr Beckford's dismissal.
Thank you so much Andrew for letting me use your superb observations thus far in what could become a very interesting season.
Have a great New Year.
Aston Villa have the best home record in the last six games: Five wins and a draw, scoring ten, conceding four.
Leeds confirm over 27,000 tickets have already been sold for the Rotherham game and a decision has now been taken to open the East Stand upper. Terrific support!
Luke Ayling, who has been very impressive in recent games was in the EFL team of the week for his display in the 4-1 victory at Preston.
Garry Monk on tomorrow's trip to Aston Villa: "Everybody should be enjoying what is happening, fans have suffered for a number of years", whatever happens in the future happens but is 'focused' on getting the club back to the Premiership, expects a different game against Villa than the previous game at Elland Road.
On the injury front, both O'Kane and Taylor, (Charlie will be assessed after training) expected to miss the game in the Midlands, but both expected to travel with the squad.
A determined Monk.
Last five games at Villa Park
Aston Villa 2 Leeds 0 Prem 2004
Aston Villa 0 Leeds 0 Prem 2002
Aston Villa 0 Leeds 1 Prem 2002
Aston Villa 1 Leeds 2 Prem 2001
Aston Villa 1 Leeds 0 Prem 2000
Aston Villa v Leeds
Team: One change, Liam Cooper comes in for Kyle Bartley.
Green, Ayling, Bartkey, Jansson, Berardi, Phillips, Bridcutt(c), Sacko, Roofe, Dallas, Doukara.
Leeds will feel that it was two points dropped as they played well enough in the second half to claim the three points, Jansson's opener from a corner was followed by the same player hitting the bar minutes later.
The inspiring substitution of Dallas for Hernandez made Leeds even better in the engine room, the Spaniard's double 'nutmeg' of a Villa player will long live in the memory and he so nearly doubled Leeds' lead with a chip shot from inside the penalty area. I thought Wood's introduction might seal the victory but the New Zealander's efforts were not rewarded with a goal.
Villa equalised when Cooper was adjudged to have handled in the area, on replays it clearly showed him using his arm, the debatable incident was confusing because prior to giving the penalty the referee it looked as he would be giving Leeds a free kick but his attention was caught by his assistant, Kodjia sent Green the wrong way, his penalty nestling in the opposite corner of the net.
Both teams could have won it, Green pulling of a superb save to deny Villa and Sacko's determination getting him a clear sight of goal but his effort was deflected onto the bar and cleared, Wood was unmarked if the winger had played him in.
A great game.
Jansson and teammates celebrate the opener.
Man of Match: Rob Green, superb when called upon.
Garry Monk: thought Leeds played on the front foot and aggressive football throughout the second half, needed the second goal and had two or three chances that should have been taken, didn't see the penalty incident but players were aggrieved that the game wasn't 'put to bed' before it happened, Hernandez to be signed permanent and the player will be available for the game with Rotherham.
He ended with "It shows how far we’ve come that we’re disappointed with a draw against a team who’ve got a fantastic record at home."
A very satisfied if disappointed Monk.
Steve Bruce: "They're the best Leeds team I've seen in a few years. They're confident and they're playing well. Serious contenders? Yes."
A year in the life ... of Leeds United
Many Thanks as usual to the YEP
Superb articles throughout 2016 by Phil Hay and his team.
May I wish all contributors and readers a very Happy New Year.
The next five months could be really, really special.
Editors note - over a fantastic year in which we have reached over 1.2million views in the 14 months we have had the site I'd like to say a massive thank you to our readers. May it continue into 2017 as we look at fresh ideas for you to enjoy.