Leeds United must hold off the threat of Southampton on Tuesday evening in order to stop the Saints from leapfrogging them in the Premier League table.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side sit 12th, having slumped to a harsh 1-0 defeat to Wolves last time out, and will want that winless run to end before it reaches three games as they approach the final stretch of the season.
For all the criticism regarding their apparent lack of pragmatism and refusal to change things up when needed, luck hasn’t been on United’s side at all in recent weeks with both injuries and on-pitch happenings. They love a goal, though, and face a side who have conceded nine in one game twice.
With whoever they have fit, here’s how the Whites should line up against Southampton.
Illan Meslier (GK) – The poor lad cannot catch a break at the minute. Off the back of a bad night at the office against Arsenal, a freak own goal he could do nothing about was what gave Wolves the 1-0 win.
Luke Ayling (RB) – If Leeds were as good as Luke Ayling’s man bun, they’d be flying high at the top of the league. Solid effort – take notes, Gareth Bale.
Diego Llorente (CB) – Llorente returned to the bench in the defeat to Wolves. Injuries have hampered his maiden season in Yorkshire, but he has to start now fit.
Liam Cooper (CB) – With a lack of rotation options with Robin Koch still out injured, Cooper keeps his place in the XI.
Ezgjan Alioski (LB) – Alioski comes in to add some more attacking thrust from deeper for his side.
Pascal Struijk (DM) – Kalvin Phillips looks likely to miss out once again for Leeds. But with Llorente back in, Struijk can take the midfield role with more comfort.
Raphinha (RM) – The Brazilian created three of Leeds’ four big chances against Wolves and is quickly becoming one of the first names on the team sheet.
Mateusz Klich (CM) – Klich managed 80 minutes or so against Wolves despite nursing an injury. If he’s fit enough to make the squad, there’s no excuse for him not to start.
Stuart Dallas (CM) – Left back, left wing, centre midfield, Stuart Dallas can do it all. There are few players in the Premier League who are as seamlessly versatile as the 29-year-old is.
Jack Harrison (LM) – Harrison has settled into life as a top flight footballer tremendously well with ten Premier League goal contributions. Believe it or not, he’s still officially a Manchester City player.
Patrick Bamford (ST) – No surprises here. Bamford has started every league game so far this season for Leeds and has managed 12 goals while doing so.