Leeds United vs Cardiff City Preview: Leeds aim to close play-off gap against high-flying Bluebirds

The hosts know that a victory against 4th placed Cardiff could put them within touching distance of the top six

Leeds United vs Cardiff City Preview: Leeds aim to close play-off gap against high-flying Bluebirds
Neil Warnock returns to one of his former clubs, Leeds United, this weekend. | Photo: Getty/Harry Trump.

Leeds United face Cardiff City at Elland Road this weekend, with both teams firmly in the Championship play-off hunt following the January window.

Form

Despite their proximity to the top six, the hosts haven't won any of their previous five league games, and also succumbed to Newport County in the third round of the FA Cup

Their last victory came against Burton Albion on Boxing Day, and the Whites' last fixture culminated in a 0-0 draw against Hull City at the KCOM Stadium. 

Their poor run of form has coincided with the unveiling of a new crest, which has been widely ridiculed over social media. Following widespread criticism of the design and the creation of an online petition which amassed 70,000+ signatures, the club has reverted back to their well-known crest and have restarted the design process.

Manager Thomas Christiansen was able to make additions to his squad, bringing in Tyler Roberts from West Bromwich Albion, Adam Forshaw from Middlesbrough and Laurens De Bock from Club Brugge

Cardiff City have surprised many with their performances this season, and thus find themselves fourth with 51 points from their 28 matches played. 

Perhaps more importantly, they have a game on hand on the rest of the teams in the division (apart from Bolton Wanderers) due to their involvement in the FA Cup.

In what manager Neil Warnock described as "the best deadline day of his career", the Bluebirds recruited Gary Madine in a £6m deal from Bolton, Armand Traoré on a free and Jamie Ward from Nottingham Forest, with Lee Tomlin going in the other direction. 

Team News

New signing Tyler Roberts will miss out for Leeds with a slight knock but is expected to train next week. Matthew Pennington returns to the squad, but Kalvin Phillips, Eunan O'Kane and Samu Saiz are all still serving suspensions. 

For Cardiff, both Madine and Ward look set to make their debuts in West Yorkshire. Full-back Joe Bennett misses out through suspension. 

What they said

Thomas Christiansen told the local press what he expected from his team: "We need to perform at 120 percent if we are going to take the win".

He also suggested that his team will need to play with the ball on the floor due to the height of Cardiff's players.

Neil Warnock, who is returning to the club he once managed for 15 months, told Cardiff's website that he thinks Leeds are "a good passing side. They've got some really good players and we know we'll have to be on our game."

"It's always exciting and the atmosphere is so good," he continued. "It's a footballing place and I like going back to Yorkshire".