The Opposition View: Leeds

Leeds fan Ben Rowe gives his answers to the questions I put to him ahead of tomorrow's trip to Elland Road.

Leeds have had a fantastic season so far. Is automatic promotion now the aim?

I think most Leeds fans would tell you that we're always quite an optimistic bunch. Having started tremendously well, the expectations have been raised, though I think automatic promotion may be beyond us. There's no harm in aiming high though. We've exceeded my expectations beyond all belief really. Even a little way into the season we were naive and looking like a squad lacking in sufficient quality - but in the last 2 or 3 months things have changed for the better, and we've turned into a very dangerous team. I'd still snap your hand off for 6th, though.

What do
Leeds fans think of Simon Grayson?

Any Leeds manager that orchestrates a win at Old Trafford will not have to buy a drink in the city of Leeds for as long as they live! Grayson has done everything that could have been asked of him, doing a magnificent job under the weight of expectation. Two highly successive years in charge, taking us from a precarious position in League One on Boxing Day 2008 to 3rd in the Championship just two years later shows what a great job he has done. Add in the Manchester United win, and the fact he's a Leeds fan, just about tells you how popular he is at the club.

Luciano Becchio stands out as the main man for Leeds, but who are the other key players in the side?

Becchio is obviously the talismanic striker in our 4-5-1 formation, but our midfielders are probably the other 'ones to watch'. Max Gradel has been in great goalscoring form recently from the left wing. He's a bit hot-headed at times and can be frustrating but his pace and flair cause many defences problems.

Robert Snodgrass is arguably our best player: Hard-working right winger without a huge deal of pace but a lot of quality, he can score goals but also puts them on a plate for others. Oh, and Jonny Howson has been a revelation in his new position in central midfield which allows him more freedom than previously.

What are the biggest weaknesses in the team that Pompey could exploit?

Our defence is the weak point in the team. Andy O'Brien and George McCartney have plugged the gap somewhat - the former especially - but we still look vulnerable. Teams that attack directly with pace will get success against our pretty slow and immobile defence. It's definitely the way to go against us - long balls in the air suits our defence down to the ground.

Liam Lawrence and Michael Brown can't play against you on Tuesday, but are there any other players in the Pompey team that
Leeds fans are wary of?

Pompey have a lot of good players that will test us. David Nugent obviously stands out, having seen him damage us in the Championship before for Preston - including a mazy run and finish at Elland Road in the 2006 play-offs. Especially given his movement is likely to unnerve our defenders.

Dave Kitson is also proven at this level, though I'm not sure how much he's played in the last few weeks. Definitely a good thing not to have to worry about Brown, and Lawrence especially though.

What sort of match are you expecting at
Elland Road on Tuesday?

I anticipate a good game of football. We're obviously high in confidence at the moment, and come back to Elland Road where we comfortably saw off QPR last time out. We like to play football the so-called 'right' way and from what I've seen of Portsmouth, they do too. I think there will be goals - when isn't there with Leeds this season?! Hopefully we'll just nab one more than you!

Leeds have three ex-Pompey players in their ranks, so what do you think of Amdy Faye, Andy O'Brien and Jason Crowe?

Amdy Faye was brought in on a short-term deal given our lack of defensive midfielder, and teams were tearing our midfield to shreds prior to our change in formation. He's been rather indifferent in the appearances he's made. Had a great game at Middlesbrough but hasn't really followed that up. I expect him to leave in January when his contract expires.

Andy O'Brien has been pivotal in our change of fortunes in recent weeks. It's no coincidence that since he's come in, we're ten games unbeaten. A calm head at the back, and that little bit of Premier League quality is exactly what we need.

Jason Crowe hasn't featured this season, and appears to be on his way out of the club. Hasn't really made an impact at the club, though his iconic goal-line clearance at Old Trafford will be forever remembered by Leeds fans.

Predict the outcome of the match.

Got to be optimistic given our run of form at the moment, though I anticipate changes may be made given the quantity of games coming up. As I said, I think there will be goals, so I'll go for 2-1 Leeds.