Leeds will provide tough test for in-form West Ham
Leeds United come to Upton Park for a television showdown at Sunday lunchtime, with both teams having recorded thumping wins in midweek.
Growing up, as I did, in the seventies, I had something of a penchant for mighty Leeds United, writes Dave Evans.
Then, they were Don Revie’s no-nonsense, swashbuckling battlers, with the likes of Billy Bremner, Alan Clarke and my favourite Peter Lorimer.
My big chance to see them came as a birthday treat when they went to Upton Park on their unstoppable march to the 1973/74 league title.
They had hardly lost a game all season, but they managed to lose that one – 3-1 – thanks to goals from Clyde Best, Pop Robson and Trevor Brooking, and with that defeat my dreams were shattered.
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In more recent times, Upton Park has been a happier hunting ground for the Yorkshire outfit.
They haven’t lost there in six matches, though last time – back in 2002 – they had to rely on a last-minute David Healy penalty to salvage a point.
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They have won 5-1 and 4-3 at Upton Park, while the last time they were beaten by the Hammers in east London was way back in 1998 when John Hartson, Samassi Abou and Ian Pearce scored in a 3-0 win.
This campaign had been something of a nightmare for Simon Grayson’s boys until Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Hull City.
A 3-1 drubbing at Southampton on the opening day was followed by a narrow Carling Cup victory over deadly rivals Bradford City, while Saturday saw two sent off as they were beaten 1-0 at home by Middlesbrough.
Both red card men – Max Gradel and Jonathan Howson – could be back reinstated for Sunday’s clash, while they will also have Wolves striker Andy Keogh after he signed on loan until January.
With the likes of Luciano Becchio, Davide Somma and Billy Paynter injured, Keogh is likely to play and he could well be the one to watch.
They also have winger Robert Snodgrass in their ranks who scored on his Scotland debut last week, while they bounced back to form in style on Tuesday night with that win over hapless Hull City.
Let’s not get carried away after West Ham’s superb victory at Watford, perhaps a draw is the most obvious outcome.
Possible line-up: Lonergan, Kisnorbo, O’Dea, Bromby, Lees, Brown, Howson, Nunez, Snodgrass, Nunez, Keogh.
West Ham 1 Leeds United 1