Leeds United vs Sheffield United Preview: Out of character Whites offered chance to close gap on high-flying Blades

Fourth host third in the Championship on Friday with the two sides in very different runs of form.

Leeds United vs Sheffield United Preview: Out of character Whites offered chance to close gap on high-flying Blades
Leeds were in Carabao Cup action in midweek. (Photo: Matthew Lewis / Getty Images)

Leeds United play host to high-flying Sheffield United in the first game of the weekend in the Championship, with the two currently enduring very different runs of form.

The Whites have suffered a blip in form recently and are looking to rectify that with a win against the Blades, who have surprised more than a few with their current exploits this season.

Out of character Leeds looking for route back to winning ways

Leeds' form has certainly dipped in recent weeks, with four losses from their last five in all competitions leaving them in danger of dropping out of the play-off places as well as being dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Leicester City in midweek.

Thomas Christiansen's side did put in an improved performance in their last Championship outing however, beating fellow promotion hopefuls Bristol City 3-0 at Ashton Gate in a game that saw both Gaetano Berardi and Matty Taylor sent off after the pair clashed near the dugout.

Their three game losing streak prior to that had seen fans concerned however, with hefty defeats away to Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday followed up by a home defeat to struggling Reading seeing the Whites drop to sixth before their win at Bristol City propelled them back to fourth.

On-loan striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga has impressed for the club so far, netting four goals and recording four assists in seven Championship appearances while fellow forward Samuel Sáiz also has four goals to his name.

Christiansen told BBC Radio Leeds that he expects a "very tough game" against the Blades and added that "you should never underestimate a team who come from League One."

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Chris Wilder's Blades making the dream of back-to-back promotions reality?

Sheffield United have undoubtedly been the surprise package of the season so far as they sit third after 13 games, but the Championship is well-known for having sides who impress early on and fade away in the latter stages of the season, so Chris Wilder will need to ensure his side is not one of them.

Their form at Bramall Lane is what has fired them into the play-off places, with six wins from seven at home in the league meaning they have amassed a league-best 18 points at home.

That isn't to say they have been poor away from home however, winning three of their last five away games including their 4-2 win in the Steel City derby against Sheffield Wednesday.

Last season's top-scorer Billy Sharp has continued from where he left off with five goals in nine appearances, although he is yet to score away from Bramall Lane this season.

Wilder told BBC Radio Sheffield that he is expecting Leeds' "best game to the table" on Friday, adding "if they get off to a good start it's going to be a really tough night for us".

Team news

The hosts are without Berardi as he misses the second of three games after his sending off last weekend, while Cameron Borthwick-Jackson misses out due to an ankle injury. Stuart Dallas is back in contention after he was excused from the squad at Bristol City due to a bereavement.

Sheffield United meanwhile are without Richard Stearman, Ched Evans and Simon Moore for Friday's game due to various injuries.

Predicted line-ups

Leeds United (4-3-3): Lonergan; Ayling, Cooper. Jansson, Ayling; Phillips, Vieira, O'Kane; Sáiz, Lasogga, Alioski.

Sheffield United (3-5-2): Blackman; Carter-Vickers, Basham, O'Connell; Baldock, Coutts, Duffy, Fleck, Stevens; Donaldson, Sharp.