Preview: Leeds United vs. Blackburn Rovers

Sports Mole provides the lowdown on Thursday night's Championship match between two struggling sides, Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers.

Two struggling bottom-half Championship sides meet in a Thursday-night affair at Elland Road this week.

Blackburn Rovers are the visitors to Leeds United, with both sides looking to end winless runs that have seen them drop to within touching distance of the drop zone.


Leeds

Steve Evans, manager of Rotherham United, looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Rotherham United at Loftus Road on August 22, 2015© Getty Images

Uwe Rosler was sacked as Leeds manager just over a week ago and former Rotherham United boss Steve Evans was quickly installed to turn things around.

The Scot has had two games at the helm, but Thursday's match will be his first at home after back-to-back draws on the road at Fulham and Bolton Wanderers.

The Whites impressed last midweek but could not get past Fulham at Craven Cottage before they failed to beat 10-man, bottom-of-the-table Bolton in the closing stages on Saturday.

Evans said afterwards that it was two points dropped against the Trotters and it leaves Leeds 17th in the table, three points above the bottom three.

The new manager is understandably desperate for a first win, and the players will be feeling the pressure given that Leeds have not won at Elland Road since March, a run of 11 matches in which they have not scored more than once in any game and only five times in total.

It is the worst ever run at home in the club's history. Home and away, Leeds are without a win in five, but they did end their three-game losing streak with the two draws in Evans's first two matches in charge.

Recent form: WLLLDD


Blackburn

Gary Bowyer the manager of Blackburn Rovers looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers at Ewood park on August 28, 2015© Getty Images

Leeds are enduring a historically bad run at home and while it is not quite so bad for Blackburn, Gary Bowyer's side are without a goal in three games.

On Saturday lunchtime they locked horns with Cotton Mills rivals Burnley and more than matched a team who were in the Premier League last season and are challenging at the right end of the table this term.

Tom Lawrence and Jordan Rhodes both spurned glaring opportunities before Scott Arfield curled home to ensure that the Clarets kept the bragging rights in East Lancashire.

It could have easily been three points, not zero, for Rovers, but gaining nothing means that they have 12 points from 13 matches and are in real danger of dropping into the relegation zone if they don't start finding the net soon.

As well as their struggles in front of goal, Blackburn are without a win in nine away league games dating back to early April, drawing six of those.

They will hope that Leeds's dreadful form at home can help them end their away hoodoo and a win would be a big boost ahead of their next two fixtures against high-flying Birmingham City and in-form Brentford.

Recent form: WDWLDL


Team News

Leeds United's Lewis Cook in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Fulham at Elland Road on December 13, 2014© Getty Images

Evans has no new injury worries, but he could make a change in midfield with Jordan Botaka pushing for a start.

Lewis Cook started on the left in the recent trips to Fulham and Bolton, but is likely revert to his normal central position if Botaka comes in for Luke Murphy.

Bowyer only made one substitution against Burnley and seems content with his starting XI at the moment, so multiple alterations appear unlikely.

Adam Henley is pushing for a recall at right-back and if he is brought back, Ben Marshall could move up to his usual spot on the wing, with Nathan Delfouneso dropping to the bench.

Leeds possible starting lineup:
Silvestri; Byram, Cooper, Bamba, Berardi; Dallas, Adeyemi, Cook, Botaka; Antenucci, Wood

Blackburn possible starting lineup:
Steele; Henley, Duffy, Hanley, Olsson; Marshall, Akpan, Evans, Conway; Lawrence; Rhodes


Head To Head

Blackburn are six unbeaten and have won the last four matches between the two. The most recent clash was in April when Leeds conceded three times in the final half-hour to be comfortably beaten.

Leeds have also conceded in each of their last six at home to Blackburn, after keeping a clean sheet in the four matches prior to this run.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Leeds 2-2 Blackburn

A night-time affair should help the atmosphere at Elland Road and Leeds fans will be desperate to see their side win under Evans. However, it is a terrible home record against an awful away one and that points to a draw.


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Who will come out on top, Leeds or Blackburn?

Leeds
Draw
Blackburn
Leeds
53.2%
Draw
19.9%
Blackburn
26.9%
Manager of Blackburn Rovers Gary Bowyer looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Blackburn Rovers and Derby County at Ewood Park on September 17, 2014
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