Good Morning. It's Wednesday 6th September, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road...
Boro can't wait to unleash Greenwood
Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick can't wait to unleash Sam Greenwood, and kick start their campaign. The former England midfielder snapped Greenwood up on a season long loan, as he tries to boost their attacking options in what promises to be a long and arduous campaign
The Smoggies sit bottom of the Championship, picking up just a single point from their opening five games. They were widely tipped to be one in or around the top six come May, but face a monumental battle to turn things around; yet Carrick is confident that Greenwood's attacking prowess will help his side rise up the table.
[quote[Sam is a really exciting talent, I say talent in the best possible way because I think he’s got huge potential. He’s creative and strong with both feet, so we’ll certainly be looking to get the best out of him in those attacking areas. We want him to be positive and show the threat that he can have.[/quote]
Firpo snubs Leeds in favour of talk about International return
During a recent interview with Spanish sports outlet 'Momento Deportivo', Junior Firpo revealed that he is nearing a return to action, and can't wait to play for the Dominican Republic again! Firpo has been out of action since early July after tearing his lateral ligaments in his left knee.
He has recently resumed training at Thorp Arch, under the supervision of Rob Price's medical team, as he works on his fitness. The 27 year old left wing-back is keen to resurrect his international career, and as Spain are not returning his calls, has decided to switch his allegiance back to the Dominican Republic. His fractious relationship with the Elland Road faithful will not be helped, by not even mentioning the club that pay his wages.
Hay names LWB duo Leeds missed out on this Summer
Elland Road journalist Phil Hay has confirmed Leeds tried to sign both Charlie Taylor and Luke Thomas this Summer, as they looked to resolve their long standing left back problem. Leo Hjelde, Sam Byram, Stuart Dallas and now Jamie Shackleton have all given it a go with limited success, whilst their only specialist player for the position is obviously out of favour.
Injuries have taken their toll, for those brave enough the don the No 3 position. Hay described Leeds pursuit of their former academy player 'doomed to fail', whilst similarly stating that the Foxes were never going to lend a player of Thomas's ability to a Championship rival.
The Summer at Elland Road would not be the summer without some debate about left-backs. Leeds had Charlie Taylor on their list of targets — United have never filled the hole properly since he left Elland Road for Burnley on a free transfer in 2017 (although Ezgjan Alioski was as good as it got and a regular, energetic presence in Marcelo Bielsa’s tenure as head coach)."
Interest in Taylor was doomed to fail because Burnley did not have the cover to let him go. Two loan enquiries for Luke Thomas also yielded no result since Leicester City were not about to lend him to another team who might rival them for promotion to the Championship.
The absence of a new left-back arriving at Leeds leaves Farke with three options there, two of whom are injured but close to returning. On Saturday, against Sheffield Wednesday, Jamie Shackleton stepped into the breach and did a good turn for Farke, but it is unlikely the manager plans for Shackleton to rack up minutes on the left side of defence.
Leo Hjelde started the season in that role but the 20-year-old was quickly dropped. Sam Byram stepped in ably but suffered an adductor strain away at Ipswich Town and his injury record was something Leeds considered seriously before signing him as a free agent.
Junior Firpo has been missing since pre-season and there is probably no player at Leeds with more public scepticism about him. Farke, evidently, has choices at left-back. What remains to be seen is whether those players have the quality or durability to keep that area of the line-up in order for 41 games.