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Dec 5, 2015 at 3pm UK
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Preview: Leeds United vs. Hull City

:Headline: Preview: Leeds United vs. Hull City:
Sports Mole takes a closer look at both sides ahead of Saturday's Championship clash between Leeds United and Hull City.

Hull City will be hoping to keep the pressure on their promotion rivals when they visit the struggling Leeds United on Saturday afternoon.

Leeds currently sit just four points outside the Championship relegation zone, while their opponents are three points behind unbeaten leaders Brighton & Hove Albion.

Leeds United

Steve Evans has quickly learned that he took on one of the toughest challenges in the Championship when he agreed to replace Uwe Rosler at Elland Road.

Optimism had returned just a few weeks ago when Leeds celebrated back-to-back wins over Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town, but those morale-boosting displays have been followed by successive defeats.

After Evans watched former club Rotherham United claim a 1-0 win over his new side, there was more disappointment last weekend as Charlie Austin came off the bench to secure a win for Queens Park Rangers and condemn Leeds to defeat in West London.

In truth, it could have been a more emphatic loss last weekend had Marco Silvestri not made a number of impressive saves, but the result itself was certainly enough to suggest that tough times await Evans over the next few months.

Currently four points ahead of 22nd-placed Huddersfield, Evans will be fully aware that Leeds fans are fearing the worst ahead of a possible relegation scrap, but one of the more confident managers in the league must surely be expecting more from his first season at the club.

After recently suggesting that the January transfer window would be crucial for the club, Evans is under pressure to ensure that his side do not slip further down the table before the squad can be improved.

Recent form: DLWWLL


Steve Bruce faces a challenge as he looks to produce a response from his squad after disappointing results in the Championship and the League Cup in the past week.

A clinical display from Derby County last Friday was enough to earn the visitors a 2-0 win at the KC Stadium, and it ensured that Hull lost ground on their rivals at the top of the table.

The defeat moved them down to fourth, four points behind leaders Brighton, and Bruce will be aware that his side must step up in those games with fellow promotion chasers to remain in the hunt for a spot in the top two this season.

Bruce decided to rest many of his regulars in midweek for the 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in the League Cup quarter-final, and despite insisting that Hull were unfortunate to lose by such an emphatic scoreline, his team selection was a clear indication that the focus must be on the league.

Three of Hull's next four games come against sides in the bottom half of the table and anything other than an extended run of good form could see the Tigers slip further behind in the promotion race, but with so many games remaining in the season, Bruce will be reluctant to become overly confident at an early stage.

Recent form: WWWWDL
Recent form (all competitions): WWWDLL

Team News

Sol Bamba has missed the last two games after injuring his toe in the international break, and Evans has confirmed that a late decision will be made about whether the centre-back returns to the team.

Gaetano Berardi will miss out for the hosts due to suspension, but Sam Byram could be handed a recall after being named on the bench last weekend.

Hull boss Bruce is expected to make plenty of changes after deciding to rest players in midweek, with Shaun Maloney, Mohamed Diame and Tom Huddlestone all likely to return to the starting lineup.

Robert Snodgrass made his return from a knee injury against Man City after over a year out of action, but he is likely to be named on the bench once again.

Leeds possible starting lineup:
Silvestri; Byram, Bellusci, Cooper, Taylor; Bridcutt, Cook, Mowatt, Dallas; Antenucci, Wood

Hull possible starting lineup:
McGregor; Odubajo, Davies, Maguire, Elmohamady; Huddlestone, Livermore, Diame, Maloney, Robertson; Hernandez

Head To Head

These two teams have not met since December 2012, when goals from Corry Evans and David Meyler were enough to hand Hull a 2-0 victory.

Hull have lost just one of the last six games between the two clubs, with Snodgrass scoring to guide Leeds to a 4-1 victory over his current employers in August 2011.

We say: Leeds 1-2 Hull

Hull will be determined to bounce back after a disappointing week for the promotion hopefuls. Leeds supporters must also be expecting a response to successive defeats, and the hosts should be strong enough to make it a difficult afternoon for the Tigers. However, Bruce's side should be capable of halting a poor run by picking up all three points at Elland Road.

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21Hull City41129205672-1645
24Luton TownLuton41117234678-3240
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