Championship preview: Huddersfield to take derby spoils against Leeds United

Michael Holden of Best of the Bets picks out some of the weekend's key fixtures and offers his expert advice

It's been a stop-start season for hit-and-miss Huddersfield but we're backing them to bounce back from midweek disappointment at Middlesbrough by putting neighbours Leeds United to the sword in an eagerly-anticipated west Yorkshire derby at the John Smith's Stadium on Saturday.

The Terriers were dreadful in their 3-0 defeat at the Riverside, much to the obvious annoyance of manager Simon Grayson, but we've a sneaking suspicion that performance was nothing more than the standard pre-cursor to a monster effort in a fixture that's been lurking in the consciousness for a few weeks.

Grayson will be desperate to make a point to his former employers having been sacked somewhat unfairly by his boyhood club last February. And he won't have to say much, the players already know how much a win would please their gaffer, instantly putting them back in the good books after their rollicking on Teesside.

It only adds weight to the case that Leeds have been beaten two of the main promotion contenders in the past seven days because we now anticipate a shortfall in terms of energy from Neil Warnock's men on the back of dogged rearguard displays against Crystal Palace and Leicester. Our assumption is that this will be a bridge too far.

The Whites have an awful record in this fixture. They haven't won at Leeds Road or the new stadium since 1964 and Grayson knows the size of the obstacle Huddersfield provide from first-hand experience, having tasted three previous encounters from the opposition dugout. In the last five meetings going back to April 2008, the Terriers have won three and drawn two. 

Team news could be crucial and it would be a massive bonus if James Vaughan and Jermaine Beckford return to bolster the attack. We already know that Keith Southern will be suspended, which is a disappointment, but former Leeds midfielder Adam Clayton returns from a one-match ban and that's a positive. 

Either way, we believe Huddersfield will bring an intensity that their visitors will struggle to match. The Whites are playing a waiting game until January and though Warnock has already displayed his capacity to squeeze water from a dry sponge, his resources are becoming stretched and this is the last fixture he needs right now.

Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest were humbled by lowly Ipswich in midweek and while the result came as a surprise to many neutral observers, Sean O'Driscoll was fairly blunt in his assessment of the performance at Portman Road, insisting: "We're not as good as people think we are."

If O'Driscoll was the sort of character to indulge in mind games, we'd maybe smell a rat. But he's as honest as the day is long and though there's probably an element of him trying to lower expectations, we should take him at face value by backing Hull to triumph at the City Ground for the third successive season at 11/5.

The Tigers can be a bit Jekyll & Hyde themselves but we've been judging their peaks and troughs with some aplomb in recent weeks and we fancy pushing our luck further having copped on them beating Birmingham a fortnight ago only to change our tune by opposing them in their home game with Burnley last weekend.

Steve Bruce's men offer plenty of attacking verve and their success invariably depends on circumstantial factors surrounding games. With Forest striker Simon Cox now sidelined by an ankle injury for two months, they aren't as likely to get the best out of Billy Sharp and might soon run out of ideas should the visitors get a foothold.

Betting advice...

2pts Huddersfield to beat Leeds at 6/4 (Coral, Hills)

No ordinary game for the Terriers and Whites could struggle to match their intensity.

1pt Hull to beat Nottingham Forest at 11/5 (Boylesports, Sky Bet)

Tigers have an excellent record at the City Ground and should be the more relaxed. 

For more betting advice, visit Best of the Bets by clicking here.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor