MX23RW : Thursday, June 17 14:47:19| >> :600:98402:98402:
Dec 26, 2019 at 5.15pm UK at Elland Road
Attendance: 35,638
LeedsLeeds United
PrestonPreston North End
Dallas (89')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Browne (22')

Preview: Leeds United vs. Preston North End - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Championship clash between Leeds United and Preston North End, including team news and predicted lineups.

Second will welcome fifth in the Championship on Thursday afternoon as Preston North End prepare to travel to Elland Road to take on fellow promotion hopefuls Leeds United.

Leeds will be looking to bounce back from their 2-1 loss at Fulham on Saturday afternoon, while Preston will enter the match off the back of a goalless draw at Cardiff City.

Match preview

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa on December 7, 2019© Reuters

There is no question that Leeds would have been disappointed by their 2-1 loss at Fulham on Saturday, but Marcelo Bielsa's side are still in a strong position at the mid-point of the 2019-20 campaign.

A total of 47 points from 23 matches has left them second in the table, just three points behind leaders West Bromwich Albion and eight clear of third-placed Sheffield Wednesday.

The Leeds supporters will not be getting too ahead of themselves, but it does appear that the Whites are in a strong position to earn automatic promotion come the end of the season.

Only West Brom (1) have lost fewer league games than Leeds (4) this term, while no side has won more (14). They have won six of their last seven Championship matches in front of their own supporters, although they did draw 3-3 against Cardiff City in their last clash at Elland Road.

The former Champions League club have also won three of their last four home league matches against Preston, not conceding a single goal in the process.

Preston's Paul Gallagher celebrates scoring their first goal against Charlton on November 3, 2019© Reuters

Preston have won just one of their last 10 league games against Leeds, but the visitors will enter this match off the back of an impressive run, taking seven points from their last three Championship matches.

Indeed, back-to-back wins over Fulham and Luton Town were followed by a goalless draw at Cardiff on Saturday. A return of 38 points has left them fifth in the table, nine points off their opponents on Thursday.

There are just four points between 10th-placed Nottingham Forest and Fulham in fourth, though, which is an indication of the type of season that it has been thus far in England's second tier.

Daniel Johnson has been Preston's main source of goals in the Championship this season with eight, although a number of players have chipped in due to the lack of a regular goalscorer at centre-forward.

Leeds United Championship form: WWWWDL

Preston Championship form form: LLLWWD

Team News

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa on December 7, 2019© Reuters

Leeds will be without the services of experienced midfielder Pablo Hernandez due to a hamstring problem, while full-back Barry Douglas and midfielder Adam Forshaw remain on the sidelines.

The Whites will be boosted by the return of both Tyler Roberts and Jamie Shackleton to fitness, though, and the latter could start in the middle of the park.

Both Eddie Nketiah and Ezgjan Alioski are pushing for spots in the XI, although the pair could again start on the bench with Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison expected to keep their positions.

As for Preston, Joe Rafferty and Darnell Fisher are still suspended, but club captain Tom Clarke came through the clash with Cardiff following a long spell on the sidelines and should retain his spot.

There are not expected to be many changes from the side that lined up against Cardiff, meaning that Tom Barkhuizen should again feature in the final third.

Leeds possible starting lineup:
Casilla; Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips; Costa, Klich, Shackleton, Harrison; Bamford

Preston possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Clarke, Bauer, Huntington, Hughes; Gallagher, Pearson; Bodin, Browne, Maguire; Barkhuizen

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Leeds 1-0 Preston

The Leeds fans will be expecting a response following the defeat at Fulham, and we fancy the Whites to pick up all three points on their return to Elland Road courtesy of a narrow success.

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Kalvin Phillips in action for Leeds United on October 23, 2019
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