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Apr 12, 2014 at 3.07pm UK at Elland Road
LeedsLeeds United
Murphy (21', 73')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Leeds United vs. Blackpool

Sports Mole previews the Championship clash between two clubs who are struggling for form and managing off-field issues as Leeds host Blackpool at Elland Road.

The Massimo Cellino era at Leeds United officially starts on Saturday when they host Blackpool, another club who have boardroom issues, at Elland Road.

Cellino has begun work as United owner this week after completing his protracted takeover, paying a tax bill of over £500,000 to quash a winding-up petition.

Reports have suggested that the Italian, whose purchase of the Whites was originally blocked by the Football Association, is also poised to settle outstanding player and staff wages.

While off-the-field matters begin to take rosier shape, speculation still persists over the future of manager Brian McDermott, who has lost eight of his last nine Championship games as Tykes boss.

Cellino has previously hinted that the former Reading boss would be axed upon his arrival, but went on record this week to insist that the two of them can work together to take the club forward.

There seems to be no sign of such unity at Blackpool, where fans protested against the regime of chairman Karl Oyston during the second half of the 3-1 home defeat to Derby County on Tuesday.

It has gone horribly wrong for the Tangerines since they stood at the top of the table at the close of August, with Paul Ince sacked and player-manager Barry Ferguson failing to halt their alarming slide.

They have won just two of their last 22 games to drop to within three points of the relegation zone with five games remaining, and Oyston admitted this week that he is to blame for their plight.

Some good news for the Seasiders is that they visit one of only three clubs below them in the Championship form guide on Saturday, and have just one senior fitness worry ahead of their trip North.

Ricardo Fuller is unlikely to shake off a knock to feature, but Chris Basham and Neal Bishop could both be recalled in midfield after coming on as second-half substitutes against the Rams.

Leeds have a longer injury list, with Paddy Kenny and El Hadji Diouf likely to miss the rest of the campaign, and Jimmy Kebe, Rodolph Austin and Luke Murphy all doubts to make the 18-man squad.

Having seen his team shoot blanks in their last three matches and struggle to score since the separation of the Connor Wickham and Ross McCormack partnership, McDermott has some thinking to do.

Matt Smith, Noel Hunt and Dominic Poleon are all fighting for one forward position, and the United manager may want to increase his attacking options further by recalling Cameron Stewart on the wing.

Leeds, who lost 3-0 to Watford last time out, are currently five points above Blackpool in the table

Recent form


Blackpool: LLDLWL

Possible starting lineups

Leeds: Butland; Byram, Pearce, Lees, Warnock; Brown, Pugh, Tonge, Stewart; Smith, McCormack

Blackpool: Gilks; McMahon, Mackenzie, Cathcart, Robinson; Basham, Bishop, Perkins, Keogh, Halliday; Goodwillie

Sports Mole says: 1-0

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Almen Abdi of Watford celebrates with his manager Beppe Sannino after opening the scoring during the Sky Bet Championship match between Watford and Leeds United at Vicarage Road on April 8, 2014
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