WITH four points gained on their travels in the last week Leeds United are in good shape going into today’s Yorkshire derby with Barnsley at Elland Road, but after their misadventures with the Tykes in the last few years they will take nothing for granted, writes Tony Harber.
Memories of a couple of thrashings at Oakwell are still fresh for Whites fans and Leeds have fared little better at home to Barnsley in the last two years with a 2-1 defeat last term and a 3-3 draw the year before.
As a former Sheffield United boss and an ex-Barnsley player Neil Warnock needs no reminding of how the Tykes can get up for their derby games and he will be wary of a backlash from the visitors after they lost 2-0 to bottom of the table Peterborough on Tuesday night.
That came on top of a disappointing 1-1 draw with second from bottom Ipswich last Saturday with the results leaving the Reds down in 17th place in the Npower Championship.
In their last away game, however, they came up with the biggest win on their travels for 30 years when thrashing Birmingham with centre-forward Craig Davies scoring four goals.
Davies was on target in both games against Leeds last season and has the powerful game to cause the Whites back four problems, as Kevin Davies did for Bolton on Tuesday night when he struck twice.
United have not yet eradicated some of their defensive problems of recent years as they have conceded 16 goals from their first nine league games, but they have not had many problems putting the ball in the net themselves with Luciano Becchio leading the way with eight goals. The Argentine striker was on target with a penalty in the 2-2 draw at Bolton, the other goal being scored by the fast emerging teenager Sam Byram.
El Hadji Diouf, meanwhile, struck twice in Saturday’s 3-2 success at Bristol City with Michael Tonge also netting a cracker for his first goal in Leeds colours.
United boss Warnock still believes he needs to strengthen his squad, but he has plenty of grounds for being a happy manager right now with his side unbeaten in four games and aiming to climb into the play-off places with a further victory before the international break.