Leeds United take on Stoke City on Thursday as they aim to continue their bid to win automatic promotion to the Premier League.

By the time Leeds kickoff at Elland Road, Marcelo Bielsa’s side could be second in the table and only three points clear of third as West Brom and Brentford play their respective fixtures a day or two earlier.

Ahead of the fixture in West Yorkshire, the EFL have decided who will referee the match – and we think that could hand a disadvantage to Leeds already.

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Stoke have said on their website that Darren Bond will officiate the Potters’ showdown at Elland Road.

Bond has refereed three matches for Leeds already this season and Bielsa’s men have won just one of them.

Leeds lost 1-0 to Swansea in August, won 1-0 at Reading in November and drew 1-1 with Preston in December with Bond as the man in the middle.

None of those matches were good performances by the Whites and the Preston game could have easily ended in a defeat.

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Go back to the 2017/18 season and Bond was in charge of Leeds’ Carabao Cup match against Burnley.

Chris Wood scored a late equaliser for Burnley in regular time and once the match went to penalties, Bond ordered the shoot-out to take place in front of the home fans, rather than letting the flip of a coin decide which end to play at.

After Bond made that decision, the EFL had to come out and back him up saying that “due to general safety concerns” the shoot-out would not be held in front of Leeds fans.

Fortunately, Thomas Christiansen’s side managed to win against Burnley but it was clearly something that riled up the Leeds supporters at the time.

And, guess what? Bond is from Lancashire.

In other Leeds United news, David Prutton has predicted Leeds’ clash with Stoke.

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