Should Palace fear Leeds?
Ben Cullen continues his assessment of Crystal Palace's potential playoff opponents. Do they want to face the team from Elland Road?'
P 45 W 21 D 15 L 9 Pts 78
Top Scorer: David Healy 14
Form: WDDDLD (7pts)
Kevin Blackwell has achieved amazing things at Leeds, first stabilising them, then pushing for automatic promotion. Despite only ending up in the playoffs the quality throughout the Leeds team is clear and they will be bolstered by the return of Steve Stone who has been out all season. The pressure is on Leeds though and the fans expect nothing less than promotion following their big spending in Championship terms. Recent form has been terrible and has seen automatic promotion slip away. Their last league win before Saturday’s victory over Crewe came against Palace at the start of March. Kevin Blackwell has even received death threats from some “fans”.
The trio of Healy, Hulse and Blake up front have done the job for Leeds this season and with ex-Palace man Shaun Derry holding the midfield the squad look strong heading into the final games of the season. A virus that affected a number of players seems to have passed and the Elland Road crowd could help to swing Leeds back into promotion contention. Victory against relegated Crewe could prove to be a vital boost before Leeds travel to Preston for their final regular season game.
With their win against Crewe Leeds have the chance to go into the playoffs back on track, especially if they manage a win away at Preston. A Leeds-Palace semi final looks unlikely and I rate them as the best team, apart from Palace, of the four.
This article was written by Ben Cullen (firstname.lastname@example.org)