Leeds United will be looking to put the disappointment of a controversial draw behind them when they travel to Championship leaders Ipswich Town on Saturday.

The Whites managed to salvage a point against West Brom at Elland Road last Friday in a match marred by serious controversy. Luke Ayling’s strike cancelled out a Baggies opener that shouldn’t have been allowed to stand.

Brandon Thomas-Asante clearly deflected the ball into the net with his arm, but the incident was missed by the referee. With VAR not in use, the Baggies got the rub of the green much to the home fans’ chagrin.

The philosophical view is that unfair decisions even themselves out during the course of the season. There is therefore no point dwelling on the disappointment. Focus is now firmly trained on the next assignment at Portman Road.

Contrasting fortunes

Ipswich have made a dream start to the campaign on their return to the Championship. The Tractor Boys will be hoping to preserve their 100% record in this battle between Championship new-boys and Premier League dropouts.

Kieran McKenna’s side has taken a maximum haul from three matches to date to set the pace at the top with Leicester City, the only other side yet to drop points going into this weekend’s round of fixtures.

It’s early days and no-one at Ipswich will be getting carried away. However, there is no doubt the Blues will be determined to keep their purple patch going for as long as possible.

Ipswich’s dealings in the transfer market also suggest they are not in the Championship just to make up the numbers, but to give a good account of themselves. The signing of Manchester United left-back Brandon Williams on a season-long loan, for example, is a declaration of ambition. The 22-year-old, who will offer Ipswich more selection options in defence, could make his debut on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Leeds United, installed among the pre-season promotion favourites, have had a rather frustrating and inauspicious start to life in the second tier, managing just two points from a possible nine.

However, there are signs the dark clouds covering Elland Road are steadily beginning to dissipate.

Shoring up the squad

The transfer bulletins from the club are a lot more encouraging than they were a couple of weeks ago, with some good news around player recruitment and retention. Not only are Leeds United being linked with a host of transfer targets, they are also firming up interest and tabling bids for quite a few of them.

The mood ahead of the trip to Ipswich is in stark contrast to last week when Leeds United had to make do without several players who had either ruled themselves out of the match against West Brom as they waited for their futures to be resolved, or missing through injury.

Since then there have been some positive developments, with Wilfried Gnonto and Luis Sinisterra now tipped to stay. Both players are expected to be back in the squad for the trip to Ipswich.

In addition, Leeds United completed the signing of Joel Piroe from Swansea City on Thursday. It remains to be seen whether the striker’s work permit and international clearance will arrive in time for him to feature on Saturday.

Piroe’s arrival is a massive boost for Daniel Farke’s side, especially with Patrick Bamford sidelined through injury. The Dutch striker is a proven goal scorer, having scored more that twenty goals in each of his last two seasons with Swansea.

Portman Road hoodoo

On Saturday Leeds United will be bidding to end a 10-year wait for a win at Portman Road. The Whites last beat Ipswich on their own patch on 24 August 2013, with Luke Varney and Ross McCormack on target.

The last meeting between the two sides was in the Championship in May 2019 when Ipswich edged the contest 3-2 to extend their unbeaten home record against Leeds United to five matches.

Spurred on by the passionate home crowd, the Tractor Boys will be revved up for this contest. On their part Leeds United will be buoyed by the reintegration of a couple of prodigals back into the squad, auguring for a fierce contest at Portman Road.


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

Write A Comment