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.

Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
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

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test