The Local Lowdown: Leeds United


We asked opposition expert Beren Cross, Leeds United club writer for Leeds Live, to preview the final game of the SkyBet Championship regular season from the hosts’ point of view…

Ipswich picked up a big win at Coventry on Tuesday night to move into the top two. Where does that leave Leeds going into the final day?

They need a miracle to win automatic promotion, to the extent everyone has virtually accepted the play-offs since Tuesday.

Their task is at least simple in needing to beat Southampton for any chance if Huddersfield somehow change the habit of a season and beat Ipswich.

A win would also be the right way to go into the play-offs with some degree of confidence and, possibly, a psychological edge over the Saints at Wembley if they meet there.

With only one win in the last five, Leeds have lost form at the worst possible time. What’s gone wrong in recent weeks?

The international break stuffed them; injuries to players like Wilfried Gnonto, Ilia Gruev and Connor Roberts really hurt them, while surgery for Georginio Rutter harmed his momentum too.

Junior Firpo did not return injured, but he travelled so far and so late before the Good Friday return to action, he was taken out of the team. That misshapen performance at Watford, as a result of those problems, set the tone for what followed.

That fortnight off sucked all of the momentum out of an unbeaten run which began on New Year's Day.

Leeds' form has faltered of late.

If it is to be the play-offs, what sort of mindset will Leeds be in for that, and what do you make of their potential semi-final match-ups?

Saturday's result and, more importantly, performance will go a long way to determining the mood ahead of the play-offs. If they play poorly against Southampton, the already pessimistic outlook on a team that froze last week will not get any brighter.

Play well, even in losing, and everyone will feel more reassured this group of players has some fight in them.

West Brom would be my preferred opponent for Leeds a week on Sunday because of their own fading finish to the season, whilst Hull and Norwich seem to have a lot more momentum and confidence.

Crysencio Summerville was crowned the Championship Player of the Year at the EFL awards. What has made him so influential to Leeds’ promotion bid?

Staying fit is always the most important foundation to a successful season, Summerville has been available so frequently, which has been massive for Leeds.

Beyond making it to the pitch more often than not, his agility, dribbling, flair, pace, composure and finishing have been outstanding. Dozens of right-backs have found it so hard to stop him cutting in off that left flank before finding the far corner of the net.

Summerville is understandably one of Leeds' key men.

Who else are the key figures in this team?

Ethan Ampadu is one of only six outfield players in the entire Championship to start every match up to this point. Playing in midfield and defence, Ampadu has been a cornerstone of this team.

Georginio Rutter is one of the league's best creators, while Joe Rodon has been my player of the year at Elland Road in central defence.

How do you see Leeds approaching the game on Saturday, and what sort of atmosphere should the travelling Saints fans expect?

They have to win for any miracle to take place, so they will be as professional and motivated as the previous 45 games - they won't necessarily go gung ho, but they will look to be progressive and on the front foot at home.

Saints can expect a hostile, vociferous and pumped-up atmosphere in the early stages, but if Leeds start committing errors or fail to look threatening on the attack or, God forbid, concede early, it could fall flat quite swiftly.

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