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?
Arts and Entertainment
Smart phones, dumb reading: Rebecca and Harry from ‘Teens’
tv
News
people
News
Amazon's drones were unveiled last year.
business
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Life and Style
Worth shelling out for: Atlantic lobsters are especially meaty
food + drink
Sport
Gareth Bale
footballPaul Scholes on how Real Madrid's Welsh winger would be a perfect fit at Old Trafford if he leaves Spain
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss