Leeds have the small matter of Marcelo Bielsa’s first ever cup game in England tomorrow. There will be a host of changes but after the start we’ve made it’s a game we want to be winning, momentum is key. Bolton are a pretty solid team, four points from a trip to West Brom and home game against Bristol City suggest that.
GK – Jamal Blackman – Almost certainly a starter tomorrow as he looks to take the place of Baily Peacock-Farrell. The young academy graduate has looked good so far but did make a big mistake in the Derby game. Blackman will want to impress.
RB – Luke Ayling (c) – Ayling is one of the fittest players in the side and has often played in both the league and cup games in recent seasons. Give him the captaincy for the game and let him do his thing.
CB – Gaetano Berardi – With Conor Shaughnessy starting for the under 23’s tonight he surely won’t start tomorrow. Berardi can probably handle the games, has been brilliant so far this season.
CB – Pontus Jansson – It seems inevitable that, at some stage he will be the number one choice again. His issue is simply that he wasn’t there for any of pre-season and Bielsa won’t play him until he’s fully fit. The other issue is that Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi have been excellent in the first two games.
LB – Tom Pearce – There are two ways you can look at the Tom Pearce situation and for me you have to look at the positives. This is a player who is being coached by Marcelo Bielsa and is learning from the best attacking left-back in the division. Should start tomorrow.
DM – Kalvin Phillips – Assuming that Bielsa sticks to the same system, which he might not, we have an issue that only Phillips can solve, the defensive midfield role. Oriol Rey and Conor Shaughnessy could possibly play, but Phillips looks extremely fit and we need a few players who have played the first two games to start.
CM – Jamie Shackleton – I must admit that although I knew of Jamie Shackleton and that he was very talented I didn’t expect him to be the one that Marcelo Bielsa would fast-track into the first-team. A big role to play this season, and hopefully a chance for him to play in central midfield tomorrow. A new three-year-deal signed today.
CAM – Lewis Baker – The form of Samu Saiz is back to where it was at the start of last season and that’s a big issue for Lewis Baker. Eventually the fitness side will catch up with Saiz so there will be game-time this season, but cup games and off the bench for the time being. A very talented player.
RW – Jack Harrison – I can’t wait to see what Harrison can offer from the wide areas. His pace and tricks are well-known having watched clips and listened to fans, pushing Hernandez or Alioski out is a tough ask as it stands though.
LW – Tyler Roberts – Another player I’m excited to watch develop. We all thought he was a striker but it seems like he’ll be used in the wide areas. Direct and extremely fast, could be a crowd favourite. A full debut for the player tomorrow.
ST – Patrick Bamford – It was a tough situation for him on Saturday night, coming on at 1-4 up and the players happy to keep the ball off Derby, more goals weren’t really on the agenda. A full debut tomorrow and a chance to really show what he’s all about.