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Stuart Dalgleish 13th May 2009 - 18:00

Record-breaking United can tame the Lions

Simon Grayson's Leeds United will have to equal a 40 year old club record if they're to reach a second successive League 1 Play-off final.

The Whites go into Thursday's massive game on the back of 11 consecutive victories at Elland Road, their best run since the late, great Don Revie's title winning team of 1969 which won 12 straight home matches.

In this incredible run of home wins United have already beaten their second leg opponents by exactly the margin required to get to Wembley without the drama of extra time - two goals. Jermaine Beckford, as ever, was the hero that night with a deadly double to defeat Kenny Jackett's side 2-0, although the number nine was lucky to stay on the pitch to claim the second, the referee failed to notice an elbow from the striker aimed at Millwall's goalkeeper David Forde.

United will need to get Beckford into the game more than they did at the New Den in the first leg, the Lions' defence kept the 34-goal striker relatively well contained thanks to some fine pressing on Leeds' wide men, stopping them getting balls into the box and some close marking from the centre-halves restricting Beckford mainly to shots from distance.

Millwall will be hoping their defence have one more big performance in them to try stifle Leeds once again but it certainly won't be easy - United at home are a dangerous proposition. In this sequence of 11 consecutive Elland Road wins the hosts have scored 26 goals averaging 2 or more per game, furthermore only two teams have stopped the Whites scoring on home turf all season from 27 league and cup games.

Because United are so impressive at home they understandably go into the game as odds on favourites at 8/11, with a repeat of the aforementioned 2-0 scoreline available at 11/2. The draw, which would suit Kenny Jackett down to the ground, is a 5/2 shot. Millwall are a big price of 4/1 to win the second leg at Elland Road, and the Lions are 8/11 to qualify for the final by any means - United even money to get to Wembley.

It's no surprise to see Jermaine Beckford heading the first goal scorer betting, the fiery front-man priced at 4/1 to break the deadlock on Thursday evening. From further afield Jonny Howson has chipped in with a few goals this season, four in his last 11 Elland Road appearances and he's a 10/1 chance to grab the first of the game.

For Millwall, legendary forward Neil Harris has already scored three against Leeds this season, including of course the first leg winner, he's available at 8/1 to notch the first of the game. Marc Laird hasn't been on the score sheet in 10 games but prior to that enjoyed a run of five goals from 11 league matches and could be worth a shout to get back on the goal trail with the first of the night at 16/1.

It promises to be a tense affair in West Yorkshire so make sure you join us when the action gets underway, we will be offering a great selection of in-running betting opportunities for you from kick off at 19:45 right up to the final whistle, which could of course include extra time.

Leeds v Millwall - Thursday 19:45

League 1 play-offs outright

 
 
 

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