Leeds United’s quest for a return to the Premier League will get up and running again when they travel to Cardiff City this weekend.
The Yorkshire club have not been in England’s top flight since 2003/04, dropping as low as League One during a period of turmoil, but are on their way up. Leeds came close to a return last season, finishing third in the Championship but lost to Derby County in the play-off semi-finals.
This time around, Leeds are looking to avoid the play-offs altogether as they restart their Championship season second of the league and seven points clear of third-placed Fulham with nine games to go. A West Bromwich Albion dropped points against Birmingham City, a win will take them three points clear at the top of the league.
Standing in their way is Cardiff, who, following their relegation from the Premier League last season, are seeking an immediate return themselves. Although Cardiff are currently 11th in the table, they are just three points behind Preston North End, who occupy the final play-off spot, with tomorrow morning’s game in hand. To this end, it is shaping up to be a close-fought run-in for the Welsh side, with just six points separating sixth and 13th.
Cardiff City vs Leeds United kick-off time and details
- Competition: Championship
- Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
- Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
- Kick-off: 12:00 PM (UK time)
Where to watch Cardiff City vs Leeds United on TV
- TV coverage (UK): Sky Sports Football
- TV coverage (US): ESPN+
Cardiff City & Leeds United’s previous line-ups:
- Cardiff City (vs Barnsley): Smithies; Sanderson, Morrison, Nelson, Bennett; Vaulks, Bacuna; Adomah, Balls, Hoilett; Paterson.
- Leeds United (vs Huddersfield Town): Meslier; Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Dallas; Klich, White; Costa, Hernandez*, Harrison; Bamford.
Cardiff have no fresh absentees but Leeds are without Pablo Hernandez through injury, with the Spaniard joining Jean-Kevin Augustin and Adam Forshaw on the sidelines. However, Kalvin Phillips is back from an injury that kept him out going into the break.
Players to watch:
- Cardiff City: Lee Tomlin. Before the season started, there was uncertainly over whether Tomlin would still be a Cardiff player, having fallen out of Neil Warnock’s team in the Premier League (he was loaned to Peterborough United in the second half of the campaign). But after having to wait once more for his opportunity this season, Tomlin has become arguably Cardiff’s best player in the Championship, particularly since Neil Harris replaced Neil Warnock at the helm. In 24 Championship appearances this season, Tomlin has been directly involved in 14 goals, scoring seven and adding seven assists, with six of each coming during Harris’ reign. Tomlin himself felt he was being unfairly treated under Warnock, saying: “There was always an excuse against me. That’s fine, everyone has got their own opinions. It’s not for me to argue with people, I feel like people listen to the reasons why. Not fit, not this, not that. If that’s what people want to believe because that’s what the gaffer said then that’s fine. I know myself, you can’t get un-fitter by losing two stone. That’s a fact.” Tomlin’s good form was stopped in its tracks by a knee injury in February that ruled him out for at least eight weeks. But with the season being delayed, the 31-year-old is back fit and could be in line to start against Leeds.
- Leeds United: Kalvin Phillips. Leeds’ squad has been full of talent this season, but the one player receiving more attention than the rest (and deservedly so) is Phillips. The Englishman has been one of the best midfielders in the Championship this season, displaying all-round quality to contribute in both defence and attack. Sitting just in front of the defence, Phillips’ reading of the game allows him to be the transition of Leeds’ moves, flitting around the pitch to find the best position to advance. The 24-year-old has created 60 chances in the Championship this season, with only three Leeds players managing more, though they all play in more advanced positions. Phillips does, however, lead Leeds for tackles, with 87 in the Championship at an average of 2.9 per 90 minutes. It’s no surprise that the midfielder has been linked with a move to the Premier League and an England call-up. Expect to see Phillips in the Premier League next season, with or without Leeds.
Scoreline prediction: Cardiff City 1-3 Leeds United
Championship 2019/20 recent form:
- Cardiff City: DLLDW
- Leeds United: WWWWW