MX23RW : Saturday, September 25 09:52:10| >> :120:64356:64356:
Jun 27, 2020 at 3pm UK at Elland Road
LeedsLeeds United
Bamford (10'), Alioski (56'), Harrison (71')
Alioski (50'), Phillips (89')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Knockaert (35'), Kebano (84'), Cavaleiro (90+3')

Preview: Leeds United vs. Fulham - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Leeds United and Fulham, including team news and predicted lineups.

Promotion-chasing rivals Leeds United and Fulham face off at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon in a huge clash at the top of the Championship.

Both teams lost on their return to action last weekend, meaning that Fulham remain seven points behind the side directly above them in the final automatic promotion spot.

Match preview

Leeds United's players celebrate Tyler Roberts' goal against Hull City on February 29, 2020© Reuters

There is no denying that Leeds have had a serious issue getting over the line in recent seasons, perhaps best epitomised in Marcelo Bielsa's maiden campaign in charge of the club.

Two wins in their last nine games of the regular season saw the Whites slip from second to third, having been well clear of the chasing pack at one point.

United then squandered a two-goal advantage in their playoff semi-final against Derby County as their promotion hopes faded in an almost comical fashion.

Despite being seven points clear of third place with eight games of 2019-20 to play, it is little wonder that Leeds supporters are not getting ahead of themselves just yet - especially on the back of last week's 2-0 loss to Cardiff, with Bielsa's men being punished for a lack of cutting edge in the final third and some sloppy decision making.

Losing to Cardiff is nothing new for United, having picked up just three wins against their bogey side in the last 25 encounters, but there is a worry that another wobble is imminent.

Fulham manager Scott Parker on February 15, 2020© Reuters

The momentum that was built up prior to the coronavirus-enforced shutdown, when winning five games in a row, has been completely lost in the space of one match.

Added importance has therefore been placed on Saturday's visit of third-place Fulham, who themselves slipped up in their first match back after three months off.

Said Benrahma and Emiliano Marcondes struck late on for Brentford to inflict a 2-0 defeat on their West London rivals and put a major dent in their promotion hopes.

This weekend's trip to Yorkshire may just be the best possible fixture for Scott Parker, knowing that victory will close the gap to four points with seven games to go.

A draw surely will not be enough for Fulham if they are to realistically close the gap on United, but that is the way each of their last three away matches have ended.

Furthermore, the last three Championship meetings between Leeds and Fulham at Elland Road have ended as draws, with Fulham taking the lead in two of those before drawing 1-1.

The onus is on Parker's men to pick up a win against their promotion rivals. If they do so, the battle for a top-two finish will well and truly be alive.

Leeds United's Championship form: WWWWWL

Fulham's Championship form: LDWWDL

Team News

Luke Ayling celebrates scoring for Leeds United on March 7, 2020© Reuters

The fitness of key man Pablo Hernandez is the biggest talking points from Leeds' perspective, with his absence keenly felt against Cardiff.

Patrick Bamford, who looked off the pace in South Wales, is expected to continue leading the line on Saturday, with Helder Costa and Jack Harrison providing support from wide.

Barry Douglas is another who is pushing for a recall after missing the first match back, but Adam Forshaw is still injured and Kiko Casilla is serving the fourth of an eight-match ban.

Fulham boss Parker is likely to recall Ivan Cavaleiro in place of Neeskens Kebano out wide after coming on as a second-half substitute against Brentford.

Alfie Mawson's return from injury means that the visitors have near enough a fully-fit squad to choose from, but Parker is not expected to make any other changes.

Despite firing a blank in his last three matches either side of lockdown, Aleksandar Mitrovic still leads the Championship scoring charts with 23 goals.

Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Ayling, Cooper, White, Alioski; Phillips; Costa, Dallas, Klich, Harrison; Bamford

Fulham possible starting lineup:
Rodak; Odoi, Hector, Ream, Bryan; Reed, Cairney; Knockaert, Reid, Cavaleiro; Mitrovic

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Leeds United 1-1 Fulham

Fulham need the win more than Leeds this weekend, but Bielsa will not set out his side to claim a point. The Cottagers are unbeaten in five on their travels but have drawn the last three of those, a run that we are expecting to see continue in this truly massive clash.

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Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla pictured in February 2020
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