Saturday, 12 March 2011

Leeds v Ipswich time for Revenge

For the first time since the day they sent Leeds United down, Ipswich Town return to the scene of the crime at Elland Road, where the Whites will surely be plotting their revenge.Few fans of either Town or Leeds are likely to forget their last meeting at Elland Road in April 2007. Alan Lee's 88th-minute equaliser was infamously followed by scenes of angry chaos when a pitch invasion by home fans left players and officials dashing for the dressing rooms. When the match did finish half an hour late, the draw pretty much condemned Leeds to the third tier of English football for the first time in their history. How remarkable therefore that nearly four years later, the two meet at Elland Road again with the Championship's top scoring side potentially marching their way towards a second successive promotion into the top flight.
Ipswich come up against former  defenders Richard Naylor and Alex Bruce for the second time this season with the latter hoping for a rather better day than he had at Portman Road, where he was tormented by Andros Townsend until he eventually got himself sent off. It's also a reunion for new Town boss Paul Jewell and Leeds manager Simon Grayson, whose playing days saw him signed by Jewell at Sheffield Wednesday. However, the biggest blast from the past will surely be Kieron Dyer, who could make his second debut for Ipswich having made a surprise return to his hometown club on Friday after 12 years away.
More than just a few subplots for this encounter then, and there could be plenty of twists and turns yet as the story of the season edges closer and closer to its conclusion.
Ipswich manager Paul Jewell insists that his team still need to focus on picking up enough points to secure their Championship status before they can start thinking of next season. The Blues boss was disappointed with his team's display against Reading on Tuesday and will be looking for a major improvement from his players at Leeds on Saturday, especially when they are not in possession.

'We just want to consolidate this season, put it behind us and start building for next year, but we have got to make sure we get the points on the board first," Jewell told local reporters on Friday. 'When we were winning games, people were getting excited. Yet I was trying to keep a top hat on it.'

'Three wins will give us 54 points. That`s not being negative, that`s just being realistic. We were in a bit trouble when I first came here, and we are still not out of it."

One asset in securing those points could well be Kieron Dyer, who shocked Ipswich fans on Friday after returning on a one month loan deal. The West Ham United midfielder has long been considering coming back to Town and is now keen to make the most of his time back with his hometown club.

'They say 'never go back' but I've been getting itchy feet about coming here the last few years and when the opportunity came up to come back on loan, it was the perfect time,' Kieron told the Ipswich Town Official Website. 'I'm here for a month to play football, help the team move up the table and hopefully help the younger players as well.

'I've not played much football over the last few weeks so I'm not 100 per cent match fit yet but general fitness has never really been a problem for me and I'm looking forward to my time here

Leeds' success this season has relied upon attacking football . One of the major contributors to that approach has been winger Max Gradel, whose pace and trickery has proven a pest for any number of Championship defences. Since joining from Leicester City in 2009, the Ivorian international has notched up 20 goals and 10 assists in 63 league appearances. He seems to like scoring at Elland Road too, having netted a brace in each of Leeds' last two home matches.Leeds United manager Simon Grayson has no new injury problems for the visit of the Blues. Defender Paul Connolly has been sidelined with a hamstring injury sustained against Coventry City a month ago but may be included in the squad, whilst striker Luciano Becchio could be brought back into the starting lineup at the expense of Billy Paynter. There may also be a home debut for midfielder Barry Bannan, who joined the Whites on loan from Aston Villa earlier in the week

 Kieron Dyer looks set to go straight into the Ipswich Town lineup for the trip to Leeds after joining on loan on Friday. Paul Jewell was keen to add a midfielder to his squad ahead of the trip with several key players set to miss out. Jimmy Bullard is a doubt with the hamstring injury that kept him out of the midweek game against Reading whilst David Norris will serve the first game of a two match suspension after receiving his 10th booking of the season in that match. Colin Healy may also miss out again with the stomach tear he picked up against QPR, whilst Darren O'Dea will probably continue at left-back with Mark Kennedy not likely to return from his hamstring injury yet. Brian Murphy is still short of a return and there is still no news on midfielder Alan Quinn, who has been out all season with a groin problem.

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