Warnock relishing return to Palace

AFTER coming so close to beating one top five side in Leicester on Tuesday Leeds United now take on another when they go to Crystal Palace tomorrow looking to keep the pressure on the teams above them in the play-off race.

Friday, 8th March 2013, 11:00 am
Ross McCormack, in need of a goal after going six matches without one for Leeds United. Picture: IAN HARBER

With Palace still in the hunt for an automatic place in the Npower Championship there is plenty at stake for both sides and Leeds’ recent improved displays give them reasons to be more optimistic than they might have been travelling south a month ago.

Down the years Selhurst Park has not been a happy hunting ground for the Whites, but victory can earn them a rare double over Palace.

Leeds produced one of their best displays of the season when they beat the London side 2-1 at Elland Road in November and although they have to be wary of a Palace attack that carries a great threat they do go into the return game with a record of having only conceded one injury time goal in their last four matches.

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United boss Neil Warnock will also have them fired up as he returns to a ground where he was once home manager.

However, Leeds must overcome a poor record at the ground where they have not won since coming back up to the Championship and face hosts who are only two points behind second-placed Watford following victories in the last week against Derby and Hull City.

United have fielded the same line-up in each of their last four matches and the only substitutions have come late in each of the games so it is fair to say manager Neil Warnock is happy with the players.

He was unhappy at the chances missed against both Millwall and Leicester and may consider a change up front with Steve Morison managing only one goal in six-and-a-half matches for the club so far and Ross McCormack failing to score in the last six games, even seeing a penalty saved last Saturday.

But strikers El Hadji Diouf and Habib Habibou look like having to wait at least another game before they will be given their chance with Warnock admitting he hoped he could pick the same 11 again.

He said: “We had a few little worries and niggles before the game (at Leicester) but they all came through it.

“We’ve just got a few broken hearts and a few tired legs.

“We’re a little bit short to change too much, but I can’t fault any of the lads and we’ve got to go to Palace in good spirits and get another result.

“I’ve managed Palace and they get a fabulous atmosphere down there so it’ll be difficult. They’ve got some really good attacking players, but so have we.”