Team news for Leeds v Carlisle Play Off Semi Final
Leeds v Carlisle (Mon)
Leeds v Carlisle (Mon) LEAGUE ONE PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINAL FIRST LEG
Venue: Elland Road Date: Monday, 12 May Kick-off: 1945 BST
Coverage: Live scores on BBC Sport website
Leeds hope to welcome back top scorer Jermaine Beckford (ankle), who returned to training on Thursday and may return to lead the attack.
Left-back Alan Sheehan is suspended, so Bradley Johnston may deputise again, as he did against Gillingham last week.
Carlisle's David Raven is suspended and could be replaced by Danny Livesey.
Skipper Paul Thirlwell may return after missing most of the season through injury, although the game may come too soon for midfielder Jeff Smith (ankle).
Leeds must win the play-offs, if this first ever sojourn into the third tier of English league football is to be a one-season stay. The one-time footballing giants were relegated from the Premier League in 2003-04.
Carlisle have their sights set on a return to the second tier for the first time since 1985-86. They last played in the top-flight in 1975.
Leeds finished the regular season in fifth place with 76 points, six points outside the top two automatic promotion spotes. Had they been given back the 15 points deduction at the start of the season, the Elland Road club would have been runners-up, one point behind champions Swansea.
Carlisle ended in fourth with 80 points, two points outside the top two.
Leeds won four more matches and scored eight more goals than Carlisle.
Lost one of the last 10 games, and kept clean sheets in six of nine.
Won six of seven, including the last three.
Undefeated in four at home.
Participated in the first ever play-offs in 1987, when Billy Bremner's side eventually lost to Charlton in a replay of the two-legged final, which means the Addicks maintained their top-flight status. There was disappointment again in the season before last, after Kevin Blackwell's team defeated Preston in the Championship semi-final, and then surprisingly lost 0-3 to Watford, at the Millennium Stadium.
This is the first time Gary McAllister has taken a side into the Football League play-offs.
The team finishing fifth in the third tier has gone on to reach the play-off final in seven of the last 19 years, and of those just four have won it (Huddersfield in 1995, Stoke in 2002, Sheffield Wednesday in 2005 and Barnsley in 2006)
Not won in five; picked up two points from a last possible 15.
The 2-1 home win over Yeovil on 5 April is their only victory in the last eight. The first of those eight games was also the last of a 12-match unbeaten sequence of nine wins and three draws.
Were holding a top-two automatic promotion spot, with two games remaining.
This is only their second taste of the play-offs. Wycombe blocked the path of Mick Wadsworth's team in the semi-finals of the Third Division play-offs in 1994.
John Ward took over in charge of the Cumbrians on 2 October and they will be the fourth club he has managed in the Football League play-offs. Ward has experienced differing fortunes. His Bristol City side lost to Brentford in the semi-finals of the Second Division competition in 1997. Two years earlier, Ward took Bristol Rovers to Wembley for the Second Division final, where they lost to Huddersfield. But his best result came in the season before last, when Cheltenham were promoted to the third tier, winning the League Two play-off final 1-0 over Grimsby at the Millennium Stadium.
The club finishing fourth in the third tier in the regular season has qualified for the play-off final in 13 of the last 19 years, but only three of those have gone on to win promotion (West Brom in 1993, Walsall in 2001 and Brighton in 2004).
HEAD to HEAD
Both this season's league meetings were home wins; Carlisle prevailed 3-1 at Brunton Park on 3 November when their third from Marc Bridge-Wilkinson was scored in the 90th minute, and Leeds won 3-2 at Elland Road, with a brace from Dougie Freedman.
The Cumbrians have only beaten Leeds twice in their 13 league and cup meetings.