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Stuart Dalgleish 17th Sep 2010 - 7:42

Can United salvage some Yorkshire pride back?

Just when Leeds were starting to look the part in the Championship, they were given a harsh reminder on Tuesday night that it's going to be a tough season back in the second tier of English football.

United (11/5) were soundly beaten 5-2 by a rampant Barnsley side in the first of three local derbies in a row, the second is tonight's live game at Doncaster (5/4, the draw is 9/4) before Sheffield United are entertained at Elland Road.

It's fair to say that both sets of fans have very differing memories of the last time Rovers faced United, with 'little' Doncaster defeating 'mighty' Leeds in the League 1 play-off final in 2008.

Hordes of Leeds fans packed out Wembley that day in the hope that they would see their heroes return to the Championship.

There were even several thousand fans sat in with the Donny supporters such was the demand for tickets at Elland Road, but as was proved against Barnsley where a near-7,000 Whites fans made the trip to Oakwell, it's the players on the pitch and not the support from the stands that determine the outcome of a football match.

Rovers fully deserved their 1-0 victory that day, and would've had a much more comfortable scoreline were it not for Leeds' now-departed goalkeeper Casper Ankergren's performance where he single-handedly kept United in the game with a string of fine saves.

A lot has changed at both clubs since that day though, not least at Elland Road where Simon Grayson is now in charge.

The former Blackpool manager has hinted that he'll make several changes for the trip to the Keepmoat, with two players, Robert Snodgrass (9/1 first goal) and Billy Paynter (13/2) set to be involved for the first time this campaign after both came through a warm-up match recently.

Kasper Schmeichel could return too after missing the last couple of games with injury, the Danish stopper was outstanding before his lay-off and Leeds are certainly more solid at the back with him between the sticks.

What has not helped United in defence has been the inconsistent form of their captain Richard Naylor, the centre-back has been at fault for several goals this season and Grayson must surely be considering bringing in recent signing Alex Bruce for the game at Donny, although it's always a brave call to drop your skipper.

Rovers have injury concerns also, with long-term absentees James Hayter (who scored the play-off final winner when the sides last met), James Chambers and Wayne Thomas still no nearer to a return, James O'Connor should be fine though after picking up a niggle against Norwich during the week.

That victory over Norwich was Doncaster's second home win in a row and helped extend their excellent start of just one defeat from their opening six league games.

While Sean O'Driscoll won't be getting carried away, the Keepmoat regulars might start to get some lofty aspirations for the rest of the year, especially after two mid-table finishes in the last couple of seasons, just staying in the division surely isn't the objective for Rovers now.
It's a sign of how good a job the gaffer has done, and this is emphasised in the odds of 5/4 for them to get the three points tonight.

The remarkable thing also about Donny's start is that they're winning games without star-striker Billy Sharp (5/1 first goal) finding his best form.

The ex Sheffield United frontman hasn't scored from open-play this season and would love to change that in front of a packed house with the Sky cameras present.

James Coppinger (13/2) certainly isn't struggling for form and hit a sensational hat-trick in Rovers' win over Norwich, he's a 40/1 shot to repeat that trick against Leeds.

You would say it's unlikely that he'll bag consecutive trebles, but there could easily be plenty of goals on show for the watching public.

I think not only is the price on Leeds at 11/5 big, but also over 2.5 goals in the game at evens is generous - Donny have had exactly four goals in each of their last four games while United's recent games have had the over's come in from four of the last five, including the Carling Cup defeat to Leicester.

This makes one option in particular from our Stats Trebles look extremely tempting; you can get 25/1 on over 2.5 goals, over 12 corners and over 6 cards.

With the Whites likely to attack down the wings you can imagine plenty of corners will be forced, and the West Yorkshire side aren't known as 'Dirty Leeds' without reason as they've already stacked up 13 yellow cards in the league this season!

This promises to be a fiercely contested derby, make sure you join us for In-Play betting when the action gets underway at 19:45.




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