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Leeds’ 1-0 victory over Cardiff was the club’s first win at Elland Road since the 4th March and also one which gave new manager Steve Evans his opening victory since taking over in October.
There will be lots of positives for Evans to take away from the game. His side were solid at the back and were able to complete their first clean sheet since early August when they held Reading to a goalless draw at the Madejski Stadium.
Alex Mowatt was back on the scoresheet against the Bluebirds with an outstanding 25-yard strike and, as a result, ending Cardiff’s stretch of 475 minutes without conceding a goal. That was the longest run in the Football League.
Evans, in particular, spoke about how fantastic the Leeds crowd were at Elland Road for the 90 minutes. They got right behind their side and made him emotional to pick up his first win at the club.
Ultimately, though, the most important thing was to get three points on the board which helps Leeds take a huge stride away from the drop zone as reflected in the relegation betting with 32Red where Leeds have drifted out to 4/1 at the time of writing.
Before the victory over Cardiff, Leeds were falling dangerously close to the bottom three currently occupied by Bolton, Charlton and Rotherham. A moderate start to their Championship campaign was turning into a really poor opening 14 games which had yielded less than one point per game.
Evans will be fully aware that a run of positive results in the Championship can help a club climb up the table rapidly so he will be hoping his side can build on the victory.
Their next game is on the road to Huddersfield. The Terriers have had their own problems this season and have recently sacked manager Chris Powell.
Leeds should be able to go into this Yorkshire derby with some confidence behind them and they will be hoping to take advantage of a side who are likely to be lacking in any leadership, unless they appoint their new boss before Saturday’s game.
Huddersfield have had just one win in their last seven games and were beaten 2-1 by Derby the last time they played at the John Smith’s Stadium. This fixture is always a hugely important game in Yorkshire for bragging rights alone, however, with both teams in the wrong half of the table, even more is riding on this game before the international break.
Leeds are now into 50-1 with 32Red, Unibet and 888Sport amongst others to be promoted this season. But if they can record their second straight win, their deficit from the play-offs, which currently stands at nine points, could start to reduce and so would their odds on making it back into the Premier League.
At the top of the Championship table, Hull, Burnley, Brighton, Middlesbrough and Derby all look to be fighting for the two automatic promotion spots and then, beyond that, there are around 12 clubs tightly congested and they could all be vying for the final play-off spot.
Once the Championship resumes from the international break, Leeds will host Evans’ former side Rotherham who are currently rooted to the bottom of the league table on just nine points. Leeds will start as odds-on to win that tie and add further misery onto the Millers.
Rotherham have lost their last three consecutive games, with their latest defeat coming at the hands of Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium, where they avoided being embarrassed by the promotion hopefuls.
Neil Redfearn’s men have only picked up one point in their last six games and have not tasted a win since September. As a former Leeds manager who was well liked, Redfearn is likely to get a good reception on his return to Elland Road but he has a real job on his hands if he is to keep Rotherham in the Championship at the end of the season.
Once the Huddersfield and Rotherham games are out of the way, the fixtures become a lot tougher at the back end of 2015 so it is vital Leeds take as many points as they can from these two games.