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Preview: Blues v Leeds United

That  doesn't mean we're not going to make it very difficult for them because we want to secure the three points.

Pep Clotet.

Our full match preview ahead of Sunday's Sky Bet Championship fixture between Blues and Leeds United at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium (3pm kick-off).

Pep Clotet on picking up a deserved point against Blackburn in the last game...
"Blackburn had only lost two games at home and were really strong, so we knew it was going to be difficult. I thought the team did a very good defensive job. We had to focus a lot on what Blackburn are good at, so we had to tweak a few details. But we still finished the game with 13 shots compared to Blackburn's 11 so that's very positive."

Pep Clotet on Gary Gardner's involvement at Blackburn Rovers, after tweaking the line-up deliberately...
"We needed to make sure we had a good screen, him and David Davis, every time they went long to Gallagher. Gary played an important part. We had to make sure we got on the second balls, the basics. I think we did that part very well. He had a very difficult job because, at the same time, I was asking him to step into the opposition box. He did both things very well. He managed to play the 90 minutes with intensity. And when we put Ivan Sunjic back in the centre of the park he did a very good job on the side (wing). It is very good for me to see that he came in and played like that, with a point to prove, because he is a fantastic player, a fantastic character and he feels this Club."

Pep Clotet on altering the style and approach on Boxing Day, like he did against West Bromwich Albion...
"I value what we all try to do here - build something. That takes time. A change in philosophy doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes you have to assess the situation and act accordingly. With the schedule of games, our side being young and we were a yard off it at Hull, it all influences selection. When you see the players understanding how important it was to get something from the game at Blackburn, and how organised we were and how solid, and still have 13 shots on goal and a lot of attacks - clear chances as well - then that's what you take. We wanted to have quicker attacks, stretch the backline and have numbers in the box, more physicality. It was more important (the line-up) for what was required here."

Pep Clotet on Leeds United...
"I know Leeds very well. They are a team I love to see playing because it's a style of football that I identify myself to. Some of the way that they work and the way that they play, I extracted a lot of things from Marcelo (Bielsa), I stole really. For me it's a pleasure to see him in his second season getting his group playing that kind of football and making a massive difference in the Championship. I think he deserves that and more, and it is a pleasure to see a team like that doing well. That  doesn't mean we're not going to make it very difficult for them because we want to secure the three points."

Pep Clotet asked if he was looking forward to games like this over the Christmas period...
"Absolutely. I think it's a pleasure that we've got Leeds United during the Christmas period at home. We want to have a fantastic atmosphere and I'm sure our fans and their fans will give it. I'm sure the quality of the football will be there. They are a team that can always cause you a lot of problems. But I have belief that we can cause them problems as we caused problems to West Brom."

Blues team news...
Jake Clarke-Salter (shoulder), Marc Roberts (ankle) and Maikel Kieftenbeld (knee) remain sidelined.

Leeds team news...
Pablo Hernandez (hamstring) and Adam Forshaw (hip) are missing for The Whites.

Last five meetings between Blues and Leeds...
Championship 19 Oct 2019 Leeds 1 Blues 0
Championship 06 Apr 2019 Blues 1 Leeds 0
Championship 22 Sep 2018 Leeds 1 Blues 2
Championship 30 Dec 2017 Blues 1 Leeds 0
Championship 12 Sep 2017 Leeds 2 Blues 0

Total meetings between Blues and Leeds...
Blues wins: 41
Draws: 26
Leeds wins: 40

Form guide last five games...
Blues: WLLLD
Leeds: WWDLD

Line-ups last league game...
Blackburn Rovers v Blues (4-2-3-1): Trueman, Colin, Pedersen, Harding, Dean, Davis, Gary Gardner, Maghoma (Sunjic 88), Mrabti (Gimenez 83), Bela (Bellingham 77), Jutkiewicz.
Subs (not used): Camp, Crowley, Montero, McEachran

Leeds (4-1-4-1) v Preston : Casilla, Ayling, White, Cooper, Bamford (Nketiah, 64), Alioski, Dallas, Costa, Harrison, Phillips, Klich.
Subs (not used): Meslier, Douglas, Berardi, Struijk, Gotts, Stevens.

BluesTV...
This game will be available to watch live in the UK on BluesTV for just £10. International BluesTV subscribers will be able to watch it as part of their existing package. For details, click here.

Match officials...
Referee Keith Stroud will take charge of Sunday's game. So far this season the Hampshire-based official has refereed 17 games, where he has produced a total of 54 yellow cards, two reds, and awarded three penalties. The last Blues game he refereed was our Sky Bet Championship away fixture at Huddersfield Town in November. That game ended in a 1-1 draw and there were two players cautioned; including Jake Clarke-Salter for Blues. He has refereed 18 Blues game to date; with Blues winning five of them, drawing seven and losing six. The last Leeds game that he refereed was their Sky Bet Championship home fixture against Middlesbrough in November. Leeds won that game 4-0 and there were five players booked in all; including Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford for the hosts. He has refereed 28 Leeds games to date, with Leeds winning 13 of them, drawing six and losing nine. Mr Stroud will be assisted on Sunday by Mark Pottage and Nik Barnard, with Peter Wright acting as the fourth official.

Tickets...
Tickets are on general sale. For prices and purchasing details, please click here.

Supporter message...
The Club urges all supporters to be responsible in their behaviour and actions. Birmingham City knows that the overwhelming majority of our supporters do not indulge in anti-social activities and are passionate about the players and the Club. We appreciate this. We adopt a zero-tolerance stance on anti-social behaviour and spectator misconduct. This includes - amongst other things - drunkenness, throwing of missiles and use and carrying of pyrotechnics (flares, smoke bombs), racist and/or homophobic chanting. Pitch encroachment is forbidden and against the law. Please DO NOT encroach onto the pitch. Any person found to be encroaching on the pitch will automatically be served with a banning order - regardless of the circumstances. It is important that bottles, coins, flares and other items not thrown at our matches. Again, we would like to thank the overwhelming majority of supporters for their backing and their understanding.=

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