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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Ruben Neves ban gives Leeds chance to dog Wolves

Leaders' recent wobbles may continue at Elland Road

Kemar Roofe of Leeds United
1 of 1

Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football & Main Event, 7.45pm Wednesday

Long-term Sky Bet Championship leaders Wolves have gone three league games without a win for the first time this season and their mini-slump could continue with a failure to beat mid-table Leeds at Elland Road.

The second-tier title race has looked a procession for much of the season but it has got a little bit more interesting in recent weeks with Wolves being held to draws away to Preston (1-1) and at home to Norwich (2-2) before losing 2-0 at Fulham.

There was no disgrace in defeat against the Cottagers, who have been outstanding since the turn of the year, but the manner of the loss may have been a little concerning to Wolves gaffer Nuno Espirito Santo.

Without suspended playmaker Ruben Neves, Wolves lacked their usual fluency in midfield and mustered just two shots on target.

Neves completes his two-game ban at Elland Road and his absence should give encouragement to Leeds, who have had a mixed start under their new manager Paul Heckingbottom.

Leeds were not at the races in Friday's televised 3-0 loss at Middlesbrough and finished the last round of fixtures eight points adrift of the playoff places.

They are unlikely to break into the top six but Heckingbottom will be looking his the team to make progress before the end of the season and he should be encouraged by recent home results against Bristol City (2-2) and Brentford (1-0).

Leeds's promotion push and FA Cup ambitions faltered during a ten-match winless run between late December and mid-February, when they were often hit hard by injuries and suspensions.

More recently they have been getting closer to a first-choice line-up and have been boosted this week by the return to training of key attacker Pablo Hernandez, who has missed the last two games with a groin injury.

It has been another tough season for the Leeds fans, who have not seen their team play top-flight football since 2004.

But there should be a decent atmosphere for the visit of the leaders and Leeds can play well enough to secure at least a share of the points.

Leeds +0.5 on Asian handicap
2pts 13-15 188Bet

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Team news
Kemar Roofe (calf) and Andy Lonergan (neck) are ruled out and Luke Ayling, Tyler Roberts and Conor Shaughnessy are long-term absentees but Pablo Hernandez (groin) is available.

Ruben Neves completes a two-match ban but no fresh injuries are reported.

Key stat
Leeds have scored in ten of their last 11 home fixtures.

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Without suspended playmaker Ruben Neves, Wolves lacked their usual fluency in midfield and mustered just two shots on target
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