The game against Boro looks set to go ahead and it means that tomorrow will have a huge bearing on our season. A loss could derail our push for the top six because it could mean a gap stays at either six points but more than likely opens to seven or most probably nine. If we win the gap will stay at six minimum but could be cut to three (after the weekend’s games). A point wouldn’t be bad but Boro aren’t all that and we can get a win if we turn up from the start.
GK – Felix Wiedwald – I was all for dropping him last week but he came back and had a very good game. His character is strong, no doubt about that, his save to keep it at 0-0 last week shows what he can do. Gestede will have balls flung at him all night, MUST communicate with his backline.
RB – Gaetano Berardi – Keep him at right-back for the duration now because we need to try and keep the same team and defence when we can. Tough night for the full-backs tomorrow, it may be worth having him on whatever side Adama Traore is to be honest.
CB – Pontus Jansson – Jansson vs Gestede. One of the most physical battles you are likely see this season. We also have an in-form Patrick Bamford to contend with so they will haven their hands full at the back. If Jansson can get an early beat on Gestede the striker won’t want to know, it’s in his DNA.
CB – Liam Cooper – A match winner and clean sheet will do him wonders last week and hopefully that can kick him into some good form going into some tough games. Long-term I don’t think he will be the player to partner Jansson, but for now he is the best option.
LB – Vurnon Anita – Since arriving at Leeds United I think his two best performances have come under Paul Heckingbottom. Should keep his place after last week, if he is to go head to head with Traoure he needs to stick tight, because if he gets the run on Anita it’s game over.
RW – Stuart Dallas – Has been playing very well since Paul Heckingbottom arrived and was arguably the best player in both the Derby and Brentford games. Switching with Alioksi can unsettle teams as we saw last week. Lasogga needs service, Dallas has proven he can provide that.
CM – Adam Forshaw – Has to start for me, no doubt about it. Will want to prove a huge point on Teeside and he is so key to us holding the ball when we are under pressure. Already one of the best signings this season behind Saiz, what a way to get his first win at his old club it would be.
CM – Kalvin Phillips – Deserves the start after last week. I didn’t think that O’Kane contributed enough last week and Phillips was the one who got to grips with the middle of the pitch, putting in some huge tackles to upset the Brentford rhythm. Leadbitter and Howson will probably play in the middle, such an experienced pair.
Gjanni Alioksi – Ideally Hernandez would start tomorrow but Dallas and Alioksi give you more going backwards and at Boro that might be crucial, especially with Traore. Alioksi was my man of the match against Brentford and now we need to see him back it up with another performance.
FW – Samu Saiz – Paul Heckingbottom has made it very clear that we won’t play a rigid formation when we attack, but when we defend it will either be a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 depending on the game. Saiz is key in any formation. Key player as always.
ST – Pierre-Michel Lasogga – The 3rd best goals to minutes ratio in the league, and one of the best in the country and looking like a new man under Heckingbottom. We need to make sure he gets the service tomorrow, Boro won’t like his physicality.