Swansea make the 270 mile trip North to Elland Road on Wednesday evening hoping to keep their play-off hopes alive following a gritty performance to see off Millwall last weekend but Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United side will have other ideas as they fight to keep the gap to Sheffield United in third place. The fixture could have an added edge following the Daniel James transfer debacle. James had missed the Bristol City game to ‘clear his head’ after his deadline day move broke down but he featured in Swansea victory against Millwall on the weekend.
History is on Leeds United’s side having won 19 of the previous matches between the two teams with 7 draws and 11 losses, scoring 72 goals to Swansea’s 52. Leeds are 2/3 to beat Swansea with BetUK. Leeds have won their last nine at home against Swansea in all competitions, with Swansea only taking one win at Elland Road back in 1949. Last time out at the Liberty Stadium the points were shared with Roofe and Hernandez scoring for Leeds and ex LUFC youth player Oli McBurnie getting the Swans two goals.
Talented youngster Jack Clarke will miss this evenings match following his illness after being substituted during the Middlesbrough game on Saturday. Clarke spent the evening in hospital and has since been released but is still under observation and has not trained this week. Pablo Hernandez, who touched the ball more than any Middlesbrough player despite only coming on at half time, will replace Clarke on the wing. Gaetano Berardi and Stuart Dallas are still approaching fitness and Adam Forshaw will be out for a further week with his knee injury.
Izzy Brown played 45 minutes for the U23s on Tuesday and is likely to featured in Wednesday nights squad. For Swansea Leroy Fer is missing with a hamstring injury but striker Oli McBurnie could return to the starting line-up following illness having featured as a second half substitute against Millwall. Graham Potter says Daniel James will ‘relish’ playing against Leeds United but it is sure to be an odd evening for the young lad who sat in the east stand a couple of weeks ago waiting to be announced as a Leeds United player.
Aside on Hernandez retuning to the side in place of Jack Clarke the Leeds starting elven is likely to be the same as the weekend with Patrick Bamford starting up front with Kemar Roofe behind. One controversial decision as far as some fans are concerned will be Luke Ayling keeping his place ahead of Jamie Shackleton. Ayling has struggled to hit his previous form since returning from injury but Bielsa regards him as an important part of the team…
For me, Ayling is a great player, a complete player. He can defend as a full-back and as a centre-back. He has an aerial game which is not very common for full-backs. For me he’s a very important player for the team. He’s a player who is an example for his team-mates, the public and the fans. In football you have very few players who don’t have ups and downs. I have a very special respect for him, for what he gives to the team. He always assumes risks and for this feature I admire him.
During Tuesdays pre-match press conference Pontus Jansson said he was confident that ‘this is the year’ for Leeds United to win promotion to the Premier League. If those aims are to be achieved a win against Swansea could be a great opportunity for Leeds to strengthen their automatic promotion position with West Brom drawing with Forest on Tuesday night and Sheffield United facing a tricky Yorkshire derby against Middlesbrough.
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