The Opposition View: Leeds

Last updated : 20 January 2011 By Jim Bonner

Leeds fan Ben Rowe answers the questions I put to him as Pompey take on Leeds for the second time in less than a month on Saturday.

Firstly, what was your reaction the 3-3 draw at Elland Road last month? Was it the most disappointing result of the season so far given you led twice and looked to have had the game won?

It was disappointing the way we threw the game away, yes. We looked in control at 2-0 and 3-1, and another goal at either scoreline for us could have led to a convincing victory. The style in which we conceded was pretty abysmal. Andy O'Brien typically having his worst game for us - that equaliser killed me inside!

Leeds are only two points from automatic promotion places, is finishing there now a very realistic ambition and would you be disappointed to see your club finish outside the top 6 now?

I think it is starting to become realistic. At the start of our good run of form, you feared a blip was just around the corner. However, we're looking more and more like an established promotion-challenging team. Hopefully our little dip in form came, drawing a few games over Christmas, and we can start picking up maximums again. We've played a lot of the top teams away from home, so yes, all in all I would be disappointed to see us finish outside the top 6.

Do you expect many comings and goings to and from
Elland Road during the January transfer window?

Not particularly. I do expect some activity - Grayson always loves to bring players in, often on loan. With Bradley Johnson's future up in the air, and Neil Kilkenny currently away at the Asian Cup, we are very light in central midfield. Even if Johnson stays, I think we'll see a face or two brought in. We look fairly well covered elsewhere, so unless players leave, I think our business will be limited to midfield.

Pompey have lost every game since the game at
Elland Road so are you confident that you can win at Fratton Park on Saturday?

Ah the Leeds United effect! Teams tend to dip in form after a heroic result in their cup final! In all seriousness, we've got to be confident. We've surpassed my expectations away from home this year, and on the back of a solid victory against
Scunthorpe, the players will have the confidence to go down to Fratton Park and pick up the points. Especially against a side struggling for form, and available players! A point wouldn't be the end of the world, though.

Will the midweek cup replay defeat to Arsenal have any effect on how
Leeds play come the weekend?

I certainly hope not. The players did put in a lot of effort, and Andy O'Brien picked up a knock, making him doubtful for the weekend. However, we've got a big squad which we can utilise, and there won't be any shattering in confidence after a respectable exit to a top-class side.

What sort of match are you expecting? Can we expect another 3-3 draw given the poor defensive records of both teams?

I was pretty good with this question last time! I must admit I fancy goals again! Especially if Andy O'Brien doesn't make it. We're now the joint top scorers in the division, so you'd hope we could find the net once or twice. Luciano Becchio is also doubtful, so our side will probably be weakened at both ends of the pitch. It should be exciting, again, anyway.

Predict the outcome of the game.

I really think this could go either way. I'll sit on the fence and say 2-2.