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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's FA Cup clash between Crawley Town and Leeds United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

League Two side Crawley Town will be looking to pull off an upset in the third round of the FA Cup when they face Premier League opposition in the shape of Leeds United on Sunday afternoon.

Crawley have beaten Torquay United and AFC Wimbledon in the first two rounds of this season's competition and will be facing a Leeds side that have not won an FA Cup fixture since January 2017.

Match preview

General view of Crawley Town's Broadfield Stadium from March 2019© Reuters

There is no question that Crawley will enter Sunday's match as the underdogs, but they have been in strong form in recent weeks, winning three of their last four matches.

Back-to-back victories over Forest Green Rovers and Bolton Wanderers in League Two have moved John Yems's side into sixth position in the table, just five points behind leaders Carlisle United.

Crawley have already played twice in this season's FA Cup, beating Torquay 6-5 after extra time at the start of November before recording a 2-1 victory away to AFC Wimbledon in round two.

The Reds actually beat Norwich City at home in the EFL Cup last season, and the team's recent form will have left them in a confident mood, with head coach Yems recently insisting that his side have nothing to lose when they host the Premier League outfit in the third round of England's old cup competition.

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa pictured on January 2, 2021© Reuters

Leeds, meanwhile, will enter Sunday's clash off the back of a 3-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on January 2, but a successful campaign to date has left them in 12th spot in the Premier League table.

The Whites have been the great entertainers in England's top flight this term, recently beating Newcastle United 5-2 and West Bromwich Albion 5-0 but also losing 6-2 at Manchester United.

As mentioned, Leeds have not actually won an FA Cup match since beating Cambridge United 2-1 in 2017, losing their last four matches against Sutton United, Newport County, Queens Park Rangers and Arsenal.

Marcelo Bielsa's side will, of course, be aiming to advance to round four, but it would probably be fair to say that next weekend's Premier League clash with Brighton & Hove Albion will be viewed as a bigger game, with managers across England set to rest key individuals in the FA Cup.

Crawley Town FA Cup form: DLWLWW
Crawley Town form (all competitions): WDWDWW

Leeds United FA Cup form: LWLLLL
Leeds United form (all competitions): LWLWWL

Team News

Leeds United's Pablo Hernandez pictured in February 2020© Reuters

Crawley's XI is expected to have a similar look to the one that started against Wimbledon in the last round, meaning that there are likely to be changes from the side that featured against Bolton in the league on January 2.

Ashley Nadesan should get the nod in the final third of the field, while Dannie Bulman and David Sesay, who were both on the bench against Bolton, are likely to earn spots in the side.

As for Leeds, Gaetano Berardi, Adam Forshaw and Robin Koch remain unavailable through injury, while Liam Cooper and Diego Llorente are also expected to be absent this weekend.

Bielsa will make wholesale changes from his usual Premier League XI, with Jamie Shackleton, Pablo Hernandez, Kiko Casilla and Helder Costa all expected to come into the starting side.

Meanwhile, there are also likely to be a spots in the team for youngsters Ian Carlo Poveda, Niall Huggins, Oliver Casey and Leif Davis.

Crawley Town possible starting lineup:
Morris; Sesay, Tunnicliffe, Craig, Dallison, Tsaroulla; Hassenthaler, Bulman, Powell; Watters, Nadesan

Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Casilla; Casey, Davis, Struijk, Ayling; Shackleton, Klich; Costa, Hernandez, Poveda; Huggins

SM words green background

We say: Crawley Town 1-2 Leeds United

Crawley are certainly capable of making it a difficult afternoon for Leeds, who have lost to the likes of Sutton United and Newport County in recent seasons. The Whites should have enough quality to advance to the fourth round, but they might have to suffer for long stages of the match.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data

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Leeds United players celebrate winning the Championship trophy with an open-top bis parade on July 22, 2020
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