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Leeds logo
Championship | Gameweek 43
Apr 13, 2024 at 12.30pm UK
Elland Road
Blackburn logo

0 - 1

Fernandez (90+7')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Szmodics (82')
Carter (28'), Dolan (42'), Tronstad (47'), Pears (85')

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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Aiming to move back into the top two in the Championship table with the run-in rapidly heating up, Leeds United will welcome Blackburn Rovers to Elland Road on Saturday for a key contest at both ends of the division.

A disappointing midweek draw saw the hosts remain a point outside the automatic promotion places with four games to go, while the visitors have seen their lead over the relegation zone reduced to just three points.

Match preview

Leeds United manager Daniel Farke reacts after the match on March 29, 2024© Reuters

Leeds United return to Elland Road on Saturday with their sights set on the Championship's automatic promotion spots in the final run-in, having failed to gain ground in their last two outings in their bid to climb back to the Premier League at the first time of asking under Daniel Farke's tutelage.

Sitting well behind the top two at the end of 2024, the Yorkshire outfit were able to move into pole position with an eye-catching run after the turn of the year, winning 12 of their first 13 league games in 2024 and drawing the other to move onto 82 points from 38 outings.

Their momentum appears to have slowed since the return from the March international break, though, having put just five more points on the board in their last four attempts, despite firstly taking a point from a 2-2 draw away at Watford and all three in a 3-1 triumph at home to Yorkshire rivals and playoff-chasers Hull City, with Sam Byram, Crysencio Summerville and Daniel James getting on the scoresheet.

The Whites then travelled to Coventry City on Saturday for another tough test, and they saw a 15-game unbeaten run in England's second tier brought to an end in a 2-1 defeat, with Joel Piroe's 76th-minute goal not enough to spark a turnaround, before they most recently hosted Sunderland on Tuesday and failed to bounce back to winning ways, instead settling for a point as neither side broke the deadlock at Elland Road.

While they will be left disappointed by the last two results, Leeds United do remain just one point behind second-placed Ipswich Town and leaders Leicester City, thanks to the top two also faltering in recent weeks, and they will go in search of a 27th league win of the campaign on Saturday to capitalise on any further slips from the leading teams.

Blackburn Rovers' Sammie Szmodics celebrates scoring their first goal with Callum Brittain on February 27, 2024© Reuters

Their visitors travel to Elland Road with the need for a victory of their own in the fight at the other end of England's second tier, having not yet moved clear of the threat of relegation this season.

After only narrowly missing out on the playoffs last year, Blackburn Rovers have endured a difficult campaign this time around, having only amassed 46 points from their 42 games thus far, with 13 of those coming from John Eustace's first 13 league games at the helm following his February arrival.

Returning to action in the midst of a relegation dogfight following the March international break, Rovers' cause was harmed by a 1-0 defeat to second-placed Ipswich Town, but they would then go on to build a crucial lead over the bottom three, firstly thrashing Sunderland 5-1 away from home thanks to Sammie Szmodics's brace and goals from Ryan Hedges, Tyrhys Dolan and Andrew Moran before hosting fourth-placed Southampton last weekend and standing strong to take a share of the points from a goalless draw.

Aiming to further build on that cushion ahead of the final weeks of the season, Eustace's men most recently travelled to Ashton Gate to take on Bristol City on Wednesday, but they saw the lead reduced and found themselves on the wrong end of a heavy beating as Tommy Conway and Nahki Wells hit braces alongside an Anis Mehmeti goal in a rampant 5-0 home win.

With their confidence bound to have taken a knock and their lead over 22nd-placed Sheffield Wednesday reduced to just three points with four games remaining, Blackburn Rovers will know they are far from safe and will be desperate to bounce back and add crucial points to their tally on Saturday.

Leeds United Championship form:

Blackburn Rovers Championship form:

Team News

Leeds United's Crysencio Summerville celebrates scoring their first goal with Georginio Rutter on March 29, 2024© Reuters

Leeds United will remain without centre-back Pascal Struijk due to a long-term injury on Saturday, while Stuart Dallas announced his retirement on Wednesday due to his ongoing fitness issues.

Daniel Farke is unlikely to make many changes to their starting XI from the recent meeting with Sunderland, despite the disappointing goalless stalemate, with Joe Rodon and Ethan Ampadu bound to continue their partnership at the heart of the defence while Ilia Gruev and Glen Kamara will keep their places in midfield in the Whites' 4-2-3-1 shape.

There is plenty of competition in the attacking areas of that setup, with Patrick Bamford and Joel Piroe fighting to lead the line, while Willy Gnonto will hope to come in and displace Daniel James on the wing with Georginio Rutter and Crysencio Summerville bound to play key roles in a supporting trio, given the former boasts 16 league assists this term and the latter has notched up 17 goals and eight assists of his own in 39 Championship games.

Blackburn Rovers continue to deal with several injury issues ahead of their trip to Elland Road, with Harry Leonard, Yasin Ayari, John Fleck and Arnor Sigurdsson remaining confined to the treatment room while winger Ryan Hedges also missed their trip to Bristol City in midweek.

Eustace may still make several changes to the starting XI from the thrashing at Ashton Gate, though, with Kyle McFadzean likely to come into the heart of a back four and John Buckley and Andrew Moran pushing to start in the midfield.

Despite having only netted three league goals so far this season, Sam Gallagher should spearhead their attack in a 4-2-3-1 shape, while it is Sammie Szmodics who will again be relied upon to star behind the front man, having kept his side above the drop zone with a league-high tally of 23 Championship goals this term.

Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Gray, Rodon, Ampadu, Firpo; Gruev, Kamara; James, Rutter, Summerville; Piroe

Blackburn Rovers possible starting lineup:
Pears; Brittain, Hyam, McFadzean, Pickering; Tronstad, Moran; Markanday, Szmodics, Dolan; Gallagher

SM words green background

We say: Leeds United 3-0 Blackburn Rovers

While Leeds United have faltered slightly in their automatic promotion bid in recent weeks, they should have far too much quality on home turf for a Blackburn Rovers side lacking confidence at the wrong end of the division after a 5-0 thrashing, and we can only envisage a dominant victory for Farke's men in Yorkshire.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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CLeicester CityLeicester463141189414897
3Leeds UnitedLeeds462791081433890
5West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom4621121370472375
6Norwich CityNorwich4621101579641573
7Hull City461913146860870
9Coventry CityCoventry4617131670591164
10Preston North EndPreston46189195667-1163
11Bristol City461711185351262
12Cardiff CityCardiff46195225370-1762
14Swansea CitySwansea461512195965-657
17Stoke CityStoke461511204960-1156
18Queens Park RangersQPR461511204758-1156
19Blackburn RoversBlackburn461411216074-1453
20Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds46158234468-2453
21Plymouth ArgylePlymouth461312215970-1151
RBirmingham CityBirmingham461311225065-1550
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield46918194877-2945
RRotherham UnitedRotherham46512293789-5227

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