Leeds Utd v Sheffield Utd Match Thread - Liam Cooper returns in place of Pascal Struijk
01 Apr 2021 08:46 am, by Ellandback1
Saturday 3rd April at 15.00 | Elland Road
Leeds welcome back former Manager Paul Heckingbottom to Elland Road, almost three since he was dismissed after his less than impressive four month tenure. The former Manchester Utd youth player was replaced by Marcelo Bielsa - the rest, as they say, is history! Heckingbottom became Sheffield United manager last month, replacing lifelong Blades fan Chris Wilder. Wilder was sacked by the South Yorkshire board, having tried to step down from the Bramall lane hot heat on a number of occasions, on the proviso that he was given a £4m settlement. Owner Prince Abdullah was less than impressed.
The Blades are rooted to the bottom of the Premiership, 14 points from safety. With only 9 games left, their top flight status looks doomed. Leeds will be wanting to break the 40 point barrier this weekend, which many see as the guaranteed safety point. With Liam Cooper available again and Robin Koch approaching fitness, Bielsa has tough descisions to make in the middle of his defence. Pascal Struijk and Diego Llorente have partnered each other in recent games, but Struijk will drop out for the returning Cooper. Llorente has just returned from International duty with Spain, having started in Sundays win over Georgia.
Tyler Roberts has shown great form in rent weeks with both Leeds and Wales. However, his International displays were undermined by a breach of rules, which saw the 22 year old sent home. It remains to be seen whether Bielsa chooses to punish Roberts further. Mateusz Klich tested positive for the Corona Virus wilst on international duty but is available for selection, he will start on the bench. Rodrigo and Pablo Hernandez are available for selection, though lack match fitness. Bielsa will stick with Harrison, Roberts, Dallas and Raphinha, with Phillips in the holding role despite having three back to back games for England.
Billy Sharp, John Egan, Sander Berge, Jack O'Connell, Jack Robinson and Jack Rodwell are all ruled out for the visitors whilst Chris Basham faces a late fitness test. John Egan might be fit for Sheffield United following a six-week absence with a dislocated toe whilst Enda Stevens has overcome the unspecified injury that caused him to return early from international duty. Last time the two sides met Leeds edged it 1-0 with an 86th-minute winner when these two sides met at Bramall Lane at the start of the season. Leeds are vying to complete a first league double over their Yorkshire rivals since 1991-92. The Whites have won all four of their meetings with sides in the relegation zone by an aggregate score of 12-4.
Leeds Starting XI
Meslier, Ayling, Llorente, Cooper, Alioski, Phillips, Dallas, Harrison, Roberts, Raphinha, Bamford
Subs: Casilla, Koch, Struijk, Shackleton, Klich, Costa, Poveda, Hernandez, Rodrigo