Sunday 10th January 1:30pm | Broadfield Stadium
3rd Round of the FA Cup
Leeds face a potential banana skin in the 3rd round of the FA Cup as the Whites travel down West Sussex for a Sunday lunchtime clash against Crawley Town. This is the first time that the Reds have reached the 3rd round since the 2012-13 season. Leeds on the other hand have been eliminated at this stage for the last three seasons, their worst run since 2006-07. Sunday will be the first two times the clubs have ever met!
Kiko Casilla looks set to replace Meslier between the sticks with Leif Davis and Dallas operating as wing backs. Jamie Shackleton, Ian Poveda, Pablo Hernandez and Helder Costa are all predicted to receive game time. Cody Drameh, Jack Jenkins, Joe Gelhardt and Sam Greenwood are all knocking on the door, wanting to play some part in proceedings. Captain Liam Cooper is available after almost three weeks out with an abdominal injury, could this be a chance for him to get some game time under his belt? Fellow centre-back Diego Llorente is also available but Marcelo Bielsa says they are being "cautious" with the Spaniard. Tyler Roberts is unavailable with rumours of a loan move to Derby on the cards.
Crawley will make a late decision on top scorer Max Watters who has scored `16 goals in 17 games who is said to have a hamstring injury. But the real reason he could miss out is because big money offers are expected from Championship clubs this window. Crawley manager John Yems has called for Leeds to donate their FA Cup prize money to his club. The West Sussex side cannot fully capitalise on the financial benefits of facing Premier League opposition due to the current nationwide lockdown preventing fans from attending. Winners of the televised tie at Broadfield Stadium are set to pocket £61,500 from the Football Association, while the losers will collect £20,500.
I just hope Leeds donate their money back to us, which would be a very good gesture, so we can start paying for a few things. You wouldn’t get as much as you would normally because of no crowd. But in the current climate, big clubs, it would be nice like they used to in the old days that some clubs might donate a little bit back to you. But who knows?
There are a lot of clubs that have got their backs to the wall – I’m not saying we have – but (my priority is to) make sure all the players are healthy and we’ve got a football club at the end of it all. “That’s what’s important to me.
Crawley have lost all of their FA Cup matches against Premier League opposition; in 2010-11 vs Man Utd, 2011-12 vs Stoke and 2012-13 vs Reading. Leeds have lost two of their last three third-round matches as a Premier League side, most recently against Arsenal in 2003-04. Having amassed 23 points in their first 17 games of the season, 12 points off the relegation zone, could this be a real opportunity for Leeds United to have a crack at the FA Cup?
Leeds Starting XI
Casilla, Davis, Struijk, Cooper, Alioski, Phillips, Shackleton, Hernandez, Poveda, Costa, Rodrigo
Subs: Caprile, Huggins, Jenkins, Casey, Harrison, Raphinha, Greenwood