Leeds Utd 1 Blackburn Rovers 0
Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? That must be what Garry Monk and Pep Clotet are thinking this morning. It was always a difficult call to know whether to go for momentum by keeping the same side that played so well in the second half at Cardiff or to rest that side knowing that the league game with a fresh Ipswich side, who were not involved in the EFL Cup this week, was probably more important. In the end Monk tried to cover both options with seven changes, but with Blackburn in the same dilemma and going for nine changes Monk called it spot on.
Effectively therefore last night’s game was a battle of two second string sides but with the introduction of the rejuvenated Pablo Hernandez and Chris Wood late in the game we found enough to see us into the next round and hopefully we’ll get the reward of an exciting 4th round tie.
Once again therefore the game didn’t give us many clues as to the real progress we are making other than another virtuoso performance from Pablo Hernandez that shows he is the real deal and may well be the key to unlock a promotion challenge this season. The often maligned Chris Wood continues to get his name on the score sheet and now has six for the season so I guess his detractors (me amongst them) need to pipe down although I still winced when he hit his initial shot straight at the keeper before it kindly rebounded onto his head! At least he does always seem to be in the right place at the right time and, at the end of the day, it is far more productive to be lucky than talented!
Other than that it was good to see Kemar Roofe begin to show at least a glimpse of what he has to offer and I’m still certain that once his first goal goes in he will blossom. Liam O’Kane was also a good shout for man of the Match too so we are now seeing many of our players doing themselves justice.
A dire crowd of only 8,488 was more a comment on the status of the EFL Cup than any reflection of Leeds United’s current situation and poor crowds were seen up and down the country and will be again tonight. If clubs are not willing to put out their best players it is understandable that fans are not willing to shell out to watch them. QPR are charging adults only £6-70 tonight but still only expect 13,000 for the visit of Premier League Sunderland. It is a difficult problem to solve.
We now move on to a home game with Ipswich on Saturday and this immediately becomes another milestone for us, another step on the ladder towards a promotion challenge. A positive result and another decent performance and it will be confirmation that we are at long last in with a chance of achieving something with the current squad. Ipswich are always a tough nut to crack although they are struggling in front of goal this season – they have not scored more than a single in their previous eight games! Over to you Mr Bartley and you Mr Jansson to maintain that trend and then you Mr Wood to put one in off yer arse!
Leeds U Blackburn R
Possession 54% 46%
Shots 9 8
On Target 5 1
Corners 4 6
Fouls 9 9