Behind Enemy Lines: Leeds United

MILLWALL start a potentially season-defining period tonight with the first of two trips to Yorkshire this week.

The Lions travel to Hillsborough to take on Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday afternoon, after Tuesday’s clash against Leeds at Elland Road.

Victory for the Lions would see them enter the top six and close the gap to Leeds in second to just five points.

Alex Grace spoke to Oscar Marriott from All Leeds TV this week.

Why do you support Leeds?

Mainly because of my old man, I’m not actually from anywhere near Leeds but once I went to my first game it was the club for me.

What has been your favourite season following the Whites?

The best was 2009-10, a great season for both us and Millwall. Promotion on the last day in dramatic circumstances.

We also won at Old Trafford and drew at White Hart Lane.

And the worst?

Worst? Wow, this is difficult with so many contenders over the years. It would have to be the 2006-07 relegation to League One; administration and the club being run by Ken Bates with Dennis Wise as manager was a real low point. Leeds fans having ex-Chelsea running the club…

Your form has dipped lately – are Leeds fans worried that what happened last season could be happening again?

Yes, it’s a real worry. The recent signings have given us a boost but it’s so competitive at the top at the moment.

We need to be more ruthless in our team selection, there far too many players who are not performing to their usual levels.

Tactically I don’t think we are doing much wrong, but individuals are making big mistakes at the back and we aren’t finishing our big chances at the other end.

The transfer window is still open – do you think Leeds need to strengthen and if so where?

We definitely need a central midfielder with the injuries to Adam Forshaw and Tyler Roberts.

Jean-Kevin Augustin from Leipzig, who arrived this week, could be a massive signing for us.

Kalvin Phillips is suspended for the game – how much of a blow is that to Leeds and who will replace him?

Huge. The only player in the squad who can play that position, he is the specialist defensive midfielder. We have our Sergio Busquets, if you like.

Mateusz Klich will probably play in that role, he has all the ability you could want on the ball but probably too lightweight off it. It is a real worry, that one, and gives Millwall a huge physical advantage.

(*Marcelo Bielsa has since said centre-back Ben White will replace Phillips.)

What are your thoughts on Millwall manager Gary Rowett?

Good manager. I find it bizarre people don’t acknowledge this. Stoke aside he does a job everywhere he goes.

Defensively his sides are always spot on. They might not play tiki taka football but more often than not he gets the maximum from individual players.

What have you made of Millwall’s season to date?

Very impressive. An inconsistent start but since Rowett arrived he seems to have got another level out of the squad.

The form since Rowett took over speaks for itself. I think Millwall have given themselves a huge chance of the top six.

If you could sign one Millwall player, who would it be and why?

I have to admit I was jealous when you signed Ryan Woods, always been a big fan of his and he would be exactly what we need. He’s a quality passer and can run with the ball.

Jed Wallace is a very impressive player, too, but we have plenty of other options in his position.

Who will be your key men on Tuesday?

Ben White and Luke Ayling hold the defence together and have been let down too often by the rest of the defence in recent weeks.

Jack Harrison will be key as he will probably be tasked with following Jed Wallace when we are out of possession.

All eyes will be on Helder Costa and Patrick Bamford whose places are under threat at the moment.

Will you be at the game?

Yes, I’m a season-ticket holder so get to all home games and as many aways as I can.

What is your predicted Leeds starting line-up and formation?

With Millwall playing a 4-4-2 mostly, I would anticipate a switch to three at the back as Bielsa always likes to have one extra centre-back against the other team’s striker/strikers. It will be a 3-3-1-3 system:

Casilla; Ayling, White, Cooper; Dallas, Klich, Douglas; Hernandez; Costa, Bamford, Harrison.

Finally, a score prediction?

1-1. Being totally honest our form is poor recently and performances have dropped. Millwall are in good form, too.

Graphic: @ShedCreative