Leeds United return to action in the Premier League this afternoon as Javi Gracia looks to steer his side away from the relegation zone with a trip to AFC Bournemouth.
The Whites were held to a 1-1 draw by fellow relegation rivals Leicester City in midweek, leaving them just one point above the dreaded drop with only five games left to play, so it will be interesting to see if the Spaniard makes any alterations to the starting XI for this encounter.
How will Leeds line up against Bournemouth?
It seems unlikely that Illan Meslier loses his place despite a poor run of form and his back four could remain much the same, given they very nearly beat the Foxes and the fact that some sort of regularity should aid their quest for more consistency in the backline.
Therefore, full-backs Junior Firpo and Luke Ayling occupy the flanks, with skipper Liam Cooper and Robin Koch in the middle.
The first change could come in midfield as Adam Forshaw makes a return, taking the place of Marc Roca, who has underperformed in recent outings – leading to claims that he is part of the problem in Leeds’ “lightweight” and “horror show” engine room.
He’d partner Weston McKennie, with fellow American Tyler Adams still absent through injury, whilst there could be a place for Brenden Aaronson in an advanced no.10 role as further forward, Rodrigo returns to the striker role, where he displayed much of his impactful form earlier in the season.
Indeed, eight of his 11 strikes in the Premier League this term have come in the centre-forward position – as per Transfermarkt. The usually talismanic Patrick Bamford may drop to the bench as a result. The 29-year-old has only been able to provide three goals across his 24 appearances.
The £70k-per-week Englishman could have won the game for the Yorkshiremen in midweek after he saw a close-range effort go wide in what talkSPORT pundit Adrian Durham described as “a shocker” that could see them relegated.
Those three points would have certainly created more breathing room heading into today’s kick-off.
And finally, Jack Harrison may well keep his place on the flank, though the third and final change could see Wilfried Gnonto finally unleashed on the left in what would be his second start under Gracia, taking the place of the injured Luis Sinisterra.
Predicted Leeds XI (4-2-3-1): Meslier; Firpo, Cooper, Koch, Ayling; Forshaw, McKennie; Gnonto, Aaronson, Harrison; Rodrigo
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