EFL Championship

Leeds v Southampton: Whites backed to bounce back

Daniel Farke - Leeds
Daniel Farke has demanded a response from his Leeds side

Leeds and Southampton meet on the final day of the regular Championship season. Betfair writer Mark O'Haire is backing the Whites to flex their muscles ahead of the play-offs...

Leeds v Southampton
Saturday, 12:30
Live on Sky Sports

Leeds 1.625/8 head into the final day of regular Championship action with their automatic promotion hopes dangling by a very thin thread following a 4-0 pasting at QPR last time out.

With Ipswich requiring just a point at home to beleaguered Huddersfield, even victory for the Whites when welcoming high-flying Southampton to Elland Road might not be enough.

Head coach Daniel Farke has been working overtime to ensure his players are ready for the upcoming challenge, though the abject display at Loftus Road has raised questions from supporters over the ability of the Leeds squad to handle the pressure situations despite having the quality to beat any second-tier side on their day.

Speaking after the QPR reverse, Farke said: "In the first 20 minutes we didn't do the basics and QPR used this in an effective way. We are disappointed and critical with ourselves. It's easy to be in a good mood and win all the awards when the sun is shining. Real character is now in the tough days and there are not many tough days in this season with 90 points."

Dan James remains sidelined while late calls will be made on Connor Roberts and Patrick Bamford who are considered major doubts ahead of Saturday's showdown.

Match Preview

Leeds - Southampton
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Full Stats Powered by Opta

Southampton 5.805/1 are already assured of a place in the play-offs but Saints fans are understandably concerned about the team's form following a disastrous conclusion to the season.

Any feint hopes of gaining automatic promotion were ended by a 96th-minute sucker punch at Cardiff a fortnight ago and Russell Martin's men have struggled to recover.

Southampton put in a lifeless showing during a 5-0 shellacking at Leicester before turning in a below-par effort at home to Stoke last time out - the Potters secured a 1-0 success at St Mary's against a rotated home side on the south coast. Nevertheless, Martin is already looking ahead and is eager to ensure his squad are ready for the challenge of the play-offs.

Martin said, "It's been a busy week and a tough week, I'm disappointed its ended like that at home. We have another game to prepare for before the two biggest games of the season. It's not about what has gone on previously. Of course, you want to go into the play-offs with a nice feeling, but I think ultimately, it's about who is the bravest team on the day."

Leeds difficult to dismiss at Elland Road

Leeds suffered a shock first home Championship loss of the season in their last Elland Road outing against Blackburn, but the Whites should be backed to at least avoid defeat against Southampton on Saturday. Daniel Farke's troops have posted W16-D5-L1 here across the campaign, and comfortably top all the major performance data indicators on home soil.

In contrast, Southampton have collected only 10 triumphs in 22 road trips, including defeats at top-two teams Leicester and Ipswich. Saints have tabled just two victories on their travels against top-half opposition, whilst picking up a solitary point in their most recent four games as guests since early March. Russell Martin's men have managed three clean sheets in 16.

Back Leeds to win and Over 1.5 Goals @ 8/111.73

Bet here

I'm therefore happy to oppose a Southampton side that's shipping an average of 1.50 goals per-game outside of St Mary's and so backing Leeds to win and Over 1.5 Goals at 8/111.73 stands-out. This approach has paid dividends in six of Leeds' seven home wins against fellow top-half teams with the Whites averaging an exceptional 2.02 Expected Goals (xG) as hosts.

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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.