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Opposition Scouting Report: Leeds hitting form ahead of Huddersfield Town clash

Steve Evans' side have turned their fortunes around since Brighton thrashing

LEEDS, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: A general view of Elland Road Stadium prior to kick off in the Sky Bet Championship League match between Leeds United and Bolton Wanderers, at Elland Road Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Leeds, United Kingdom. (Photo by Daniel Smith/Getty Images)

Can Huddersfield Town put an end to two Leeds winning steaks at Elland Road this weekend?

That's the challenge for David Wagner in his first West Yorkshire Derby. Given a watching brief the last time these two sides met before officially taking over as Town boss, he will now have a prime view from the dugout as he tries to guide his team to a first victory away at Leeds in three years.

The Whites have won the last four derbies, scoring 13 goals in the process - a run every Town fan is desperate to see abruptly curtailed. And Wagner also has a chance to end a second winning run for Steve Evans, who has overseen three consecutive victories since his side were hammered 4-0 by Brighton.

The last time Leeds won four on the bounce? December 2009.

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While the hosts are in better form, every Town player must see this as an opportunity to set right the wrongs of the 3-0 defeat at the John Smith's Stadium last November.

If a lot has changed since then for Town, under their new boss, Leeds have two new notable additions in the shape of Toumani Diagouraga and former Huddersfield loanee Mustapha Carayol.

Both signed in January, the former permanently from Brentford and the latter on loan from Boro, Diagouraga has had the better success - becoming a key cog in the engine room alongside Liam Bridcutt.

Carayol meanwhile hasn't had the same impact in Leeds as he did for Town - at least not yet. But he will surely be keen to prove a point to his former employers, who chose to send him back to the Riverside early to free up squad space.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: Leeds United FC celebrate after Mustafa Carayol of Leeds United FC scores the opening goal during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Leeds United and Rotherham United at Elland Road on January 9, 2016 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Daniel Smith/Getty Images)

Now talking of a a push for the Championship's top ten, the danger men for Leeds all lie at the top of the field. Mirco Antenucci is hitting form with four goals in his last three games, while Chris Wood is back from injury and will be pushing for a staring spot.

Stuart Dallas tops the club's assists charts with five so far this term, while Alex Mowatt, one behind on four, was one of the stars of the reverse fixture earlier this season.

Five points ahead of Town in the league, it won't surprise you to learn that Leeds are stronger defensively than the Terriers, conceding 11 fewer goals in the Championship.

However, interestingly, both clubs have chalked up eight clean sheets so far this term.

While Evans has drilled his side to be stronger in the duel and in the tackle, Town are superior in shooting accuracy and goal conversion - which explains exactly why the attack has netted an additional 12 goals.

And given Town haven't kept a shutout at Elland Road since March 1985, it would be a brave punter indeed to back a scoreless draw.

Traditionally, Leeds have had mixed fortunes on the wings this term - strong in the attack but weaker defensively, which could means a big day for James Husband in particular (43% of Leeds attacks have come down their right hand side).

However, the main worry for Town fans will be the strength that Evans' side show in intercepting the ball and launching quick counter offensives. Statistically, Leeds average 18.5 interceptions per Championship game compared with Town's 17, and as a result they've netted three goals on the counterattack (Town have none in the league this term) - per WhoScored.

There's plenty of reasons to be wary of an in form Leeds side who Town have struggled to match in recent years.

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However, it's also worth noting there are only five points between the sides, and Leeds have only pulled upwards in the last three games - while Town have been facing the likes of Derby County and Burnley.

There is certainly cause for optimism as well. It remains to be seen what David Wagner can do with his first trip to Elland Road.


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