Can Leeds end the season on a high?
31 Mar 2015 11:05am, by YorkshireSquare
Yet another turbulent season at Elland Road could be set to have a happy ending, with Leeds putting together a good run of form that has lifted spirits around the club. The aftermath of Massimo Cellino’s controversial ownership may unfortunately have a long-lasting ripple effect off the pitch, but Neil Redfearn has injected belief and confidence throughout the team who have shown the sort of passion and work rate from any player who puts on the famous white shirt. Although the 1-1 draw at Blackpool has been considered as hugely disappointing considering the incredible plight that the Tangerines are going through at the bottom of the table, it is clear that the players have been given a new lease of life. Leeds may be safely placed in mid-table, but the upcoming home game against Blackburn provides a good opportunity to move up the table and enjoy a strong finish to the campaign that could give everyone renewed hope ahead of the 2015/2016 season. The Yorkshire club will go into the match as favourites which highlights the recent upturn in form they have experienced of late.
Heading in the right direction
Victories over Ipswich, Wigan and Fulham are a clear indication that Leeds are heading in the right direction under Redfearn, but there is still plenty of work to be done before the team can be competitive further up the table next season. Mirko Antenucci spared Leeds’ blushes at Bloomfield Road on a pitch that is not befitting of professional football, but it is easy to feel sympathy with Blackpool fans who have seen their club crumble in front of their eyes. However, Redfearn will undoubtedly demand a much improved performance against Blackburn who will likely prove much tougher opposition, particularly as they possess one of the best striking partnerships in the Championship. Leeds may need their strikers, in particular Billy Sharp and Steve Morison, to come up with the goods, but it could come down to Senegalese powerhouse Sol Bamba and goalkeeper Marco Silvestri, arguably Leeds’ best player this season, to keep Blackburn out in the hope they leapfrog their opponents in the table by securing all three points.
Play-off hopes ended
Blackburn were one of several teams who had a realistic chance of making a late push for the play-offs, but consecutive defeats against Brentford and Brighton may have ended their hopes. The results have left Gary Bowyer’s side thirteen points adrift of Ipswich, who currently occupy the final play-off spot, and with just seven games remaining, they are unlikely to make up the deficit. They are set to finish safely alongside Leeds in mid-table, but although Blackburn may want to finish the season on a high note, the upcoming FA Cup quarter final replay against Liverpool may take precedent. It could see Blackburn field a considerably weakened team at Elland Road, with the likes of Josh King and Chris Brown potentially given a chance in the first team in place of top-scorer Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede. Their absence would be a major boost for Leeds, but Blackburn do possess enough quality throughout their squad to make it a good game between two teams who are set for another season in the Championship.