With Bamford picking up a questionable 2 game suspension from the FA for the ‘successful deception of the referee’, Bielsa’s hand is forced in replacing his main striker. Likewise, Stuart Dallas was forced to come off at half-time during the Aston Villa game with an injury. Dallas, we are told, will be available again for the play-offs. Bamford, on the other hand, will miss the first leg of the semi-final. With this in mind, here’s how I expect Leeds to line-up away at Ipswich.
Kiko Casilla: El gato.
Gaetano Berardi: Berardi will presumably fill in at left-back with Dallas injured. The other options in this position are Barry Douglas and Ezgjan Alioski, who are of course both injured too.
Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper: Leeds United’s Centre-Backs. This forthcoming month could be the most important of their careers.
Luke Ayling: Luke has got back in his groove down the right-hand side. He’s become extremely effective with his overlaps and it’s often we see him advancing into the box.
Kalvin Phillips: Back in the holding role, Kalvin had a mighty game on Sunday and he’s crucial to Leeds’ hopes in the play-offs.
Adam Forshaw: An interesting move by Bielsa on Sunday was the use of Adam Forshaw in a more conventional central midfield role. We are used to seeing the swapping of himself and Phillips but time will tell if Bielsa sees the solution as having them both on the pitch in this manner.
Tyler Roberts: TyRob showed his excellence out wide on Sunday. Coming on in the second half he definitely made Leeds a much more effective attacking unit.
Mateusz Klich: Many have flirted with the idea of ‘resting’ Klich before the play-offs but I disagree. Leeds need to hit their stride again so consistency is key. A good example of this is when Pep Guardiola regularly plays near full strength sides against smaller teams in cup competitions. Momentum is king. Klich is essential to a lot of Leeds’ attacking plays and Ipswich is a good opportunity to put them into practice ahead of tougher opponents in the play-offs.
Pablo Hernandez: Because, of course.
Kemar Roofe: Roofe is available again for this game and if he is, then I expect he will start. If he’s touch and go then it’s hard to know whether Bielsa will risk it. With Bamford being out for the first play-off game, the potential for Roofe to suffer a further setback is frightening. Other options include Jack Harrison or Tyler Roberts in the 9, where they have both played before. Alternatively, there are the options of Ryan Edmondson or Kun Temenuzhkov who have been in strong form for the U23s.