Football – England – Championship
Saturday 29th December 2012 – Kickoff: 1230hrs
Second placed Hull City entertain a Leeds United outfit who have designs on a play-off place at the KC Stadium in one of the Championship’s early kick-offs at Saturday lunchtime.
Having lifted themselves into an automatic promotion spot, Hull were somewhat frustrated at playing out a 0-0 stalemate with fellow promotion hopefuls Leicester City at home on Boxing Day but I suspect Steve Bruce’s men won’t be too disappointed in sharing a point which consolidates their position at the top of the table.
Hull now find themselves five points behind league leaders Cardiff City though following that draw and they’ll be keen to take all three points against visitors Leeds to not only keep pace with Cardiff, but to open up a bit of a cushion over promotion rivals Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace. Hull’s home record stands at 7-2-3 18/11.
Hull’s overall record has been very good in recent weeks having put together a six match unbeaten run; draws against Crystal Palace and Leicester City, backed up with four straight wins over Nottingham Forest, Watford, Huddersfield Town and Derby County mean that they’re hitting their straps against some quality teams at just the right time. The Tigers have also recorded the most number of away wins so far in the Championship (7) which will stand them in good stead in the run-in.
Leeds United travel up to Humberside on the back of a 2-4 defeat at managerless Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day following Sean O’Driscoll’s recent sacking. Neil Warnock’s side found themselves on the receiving end of a Forest back-lash which provides a snapshot of his team’s inconsistency this season and also underlines their weakness of picking up points on their travels.
It’s just one away win for Leeds in their last eight Championship matches which was at Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town but this rare win is amongst the more familiar straight defeats as they’ve suffered defeats at Burnley, Millwall, Derby County and of course Nottingham Forest.
Leeds’ away record now stands at 3-3-6 19/23 with only Bolton (25), Burnley (26) and Ipswich Town (27) conceding more goals on their travels which indicates why they have struggled away from home in the last few weeks as they have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last fifteen away matches in the Championship.
To sum up then, Hull have undoubtedly the better momentum going into this match and given their strong record at home along with five clean sheets, whilst Leeds continue to struggle away from home and are likely to concede at least one goal, I’ll back Hull City for the straight win here with perhaps a 1-0 win.
Pick: Hull City straight win @ 2.00 Sportingbet looks decent value