Leeds United go for glory in Spurs cup tie
Many of the Whites’ best displays have come in cup matches this season and they have already claimed the scalp of Premiership sides Everton and Southampton in the Capital One Cup to add to memorable FA Cup results against Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester United in recent years.
They were also leading at half-time against Chelsea in last month’s Capital One Cup quarter-final before the European champions eventually exposed the limitations of Neil Warnock’s men.
The new owners are hoping for a repeat of the atmosphere that night and a similar big attendance. In many ways it will be the first real test of how fans are prepared to back the post Bates board as they have kept admission prices below that for many league games and have stated their desire to see a full house.
On the pitch, Leeds will have to play a few levels above their recent league displays if they are to have any chance against a Tottenham side going well in fourth in the Premier.
Spurs come into the tie on the back of an injury time goal that earned them a point against Manchester United. Former Leeds favourite Aaron Lennon is one of their players in prime form and they could also call on two who had loan spells at Elland Road in winger Andros Townsend and midfielder Jake Livermore.
They will face a United side that has now won its last six home games in the Npower Championship, although they were only narrow 1-0 winners over bottom club Bristol City last Saturday when Ross McCormack scored the only goal of the game in the second half.
Leeds have failed to fire on all cylinders in any of their last five league games, but they showed they were capable of raising their game for the cup in the second half of last week’s third round replay when they came from behind to beat Birmingham 2-1 to earn their big date with Spurs.
Manager Warnock stuck with the defence that finished the tie at St Andrews and was particularly pleased with centre-back pairing Tom Lees and Lee Peltier, who look likely to continue their partnership now against Spurs, especially with Alan Tate sent back to Swansea with his loan spell at Elland Road over.
A change will be necessary in midfield after Everton refused United permission to field loan man Ross Barkley, even though it is possible the Merseyside club could be out of the competition before Leeds kick-off with their tie against Bolton taking place today.
Michael Tonge is the most likely candidate to step in after finding himself on the bench last Saturday, but Paul Green and Luke Varney offer further options as players capable of playing in wide positions.