Hull v Leeds
Saturday February 29, 12:30
Hull sliding down the standings
Hull's chances of Championship survival suffered a major dent on Wednesday night as the Tigers were well beaten 1-0 at home by struggling Barnsley. Cauley Woodrow pounced on goalkeeper George Long's mistake shortly before half-time to settle matters at the KCOM Stadium as City's winless league run extended to nine league games (W0-D2-L7).
After beating Sheffield Wednesday on New Year's Day, Hull enjoyed a 16-point cushion over the bottom-three. However, Grant McCann's men are now only four points above the drop-zone after being outplayed and outclassed in midweek. The result flattered the hosts, who were saved twice by the defending of Matthew Pennington as they were out-shot 22-12.
The Tigers welcomed back Kevin Stewart to the fold for the first time since November as McCann reverted to the 4-3-3 formation on display at the start of this season. But with Jordy de Wijs and Jon Toral both forced off during the game, plus Tom Eaves and Reece Burke also joining an extensive treatment table last week, options are severely limited.
Leeds back on track
Leeds recorded a third successive 1-0 Championship victory on Wednesday night as the Championship favourites overcame lowly Middlesbrough at the Riverside through Mateusz Klich's strike right on half-time. The Polish international guided a fine shot in off the far post moments after Pablo Hernandez's low effort came back off the upright to open the scoring.
The Whites came under pressure from a resolute Boro side, although it was Marcelo Bielsa's troops that showed the greater fluency and quality in an often frenetic match. Leeds carved out the better chances throughout the contest with Patrick Bamford, Stuart Dallas and Hernandez all denied by home keeper Aynsley Pears as United flexed their muscles.
Leeds stopper Kiko Casilla played through the pain of a broken finger but defensive midfielder failed to recover from injury in time with Ben White stepping into the all-important anchoring role here. Kalvin Phillips is expected to be involved on Saturday, although January loan signing Jean-Kevin Augustin will again be absent after picking up a knock.
Whites firm favourites on Humberside
Leeds have enjoyed the upper hand in recent skirmishes with their Yorkshire rivals Hull. The Whites have returned W4-D2-L1 since the Tigers returned to this level for the start of 2015/16 with the visitors unbeaten in each of their three trips to the KCOM Stadium during that same sample (W1-D2-L0). That includes a 1-0 success here in October last season.
Hull 7.206/1 were just a point off the play-offs after triumphing on New Year's Day but following the sales of dynamic duo Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicky, plus a crippling injury crisis, the Humbersiders have nosedived. City have earned two points from a possible 27 of late and returned W0-D1-L5 from their last six home outings since before Christmas.
Confidence has been restored in the Leeds 1.491/2 camp following a series of commanding displays. The Whites continue to cough up a few too many goalscoring opportunities but United's sheer dominance of the data - racking up a 74% Expected Goals (xG) from open play share - makes the guests hard to oppose. Leeds have W8-D0-L2 at the bottom-half.
Bielsa's boys to enjoy narrow away success
The past five fixtures between Hull and Leeds have featured Under 2.5 Goals 2.206/5 and there's an argument to suggest Saturday's showdown could follow a familiar theme. Hull have been nilled in half of their last six encounters at the KCOM Stadium with Grant McCann's men lacking fit and available bodies in the final-third following sales and injuries.
Leeds have delivered Under 2.5 Goals in nine of their most recent 10 tussles, whilst 12/18 (67%) of away days have also landed for Under 2.5 Goals backers. Just two of those road trips produced four goals or more and so supporting the Whites alongside Under 3.5 Goals holds plenty of appeal at much more appetising 2.20 quotes via the Same Game Multi.