One of the greatest cliches in football is the idea of a ‘selection headache’. This may mean a manager is missing a player, or two, forcing them to reshuffle their traditional starting XI.
Prior to Sheffield United, Kalvin Phillips, traditionally a central midfielder, was fulfilling a centre-back role. Stuart Dallas, traditionally a left-winger, was operating at right back. What does the headache become then when Leeds lose yet another centre-back in Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas to injury? The search goes on for the understudy to the understudy.
And though the audience panic, Marcelo Bielsa has kept to his script and insists the show will go on…
So in the next act we meet Queens Park Rangers. Led by Steve McClaren who, objectively speaking, was the worst England manager for a generation. The R’s season seemed to be over before it even started, winning just 1 of their first 5 games, which included a 7-1 thumping at the hands of West Brom. However, the ship seems to have steadied recently and they find themselves in a somewhat respectable 11th place.
Leeds go into this fixture expecting to use a defence reliant on the U23s, with Halme and Shackleton set to be handed starts. This would allow Phillips to move back into his midfield role and spray killer balls all over the park once again.
Another major question in this game is Alioski. Yes or No? Bielsa seems to have arrived at the conclusion that some time on the sidelines is necessary due to a drop in his recent form. One option would be Jack Clarke, who has proved himself more than capable in games of late. Another potential option, is that of Izzy Brown, though he probably doesn’t have a full game in the tank, Brown is an exciting and creative player who has shown himself to be effective down the left.
In a promotion race, all you can do is win to stay at pace with the rest of the pack. If Leeds make it 4 on the bounce against QPR, you might say we’re ahead by a nose.