Leeds United head coach Sam Allardyce will face the media this afternoon for his pre-match press conference. The new head coach is coming to the end of his first full week with his Whites squad and he’ll be ready to take questions from television, radio, print and online journalists at Thorp Arch about his squad and this Saturday’s clash against Newcastle United at Elland Road.
Here is a run-down of some of the main topics on the agenda for the boss to address at the training ground today.
Allardyce was unable to provide injury updates last week after stepping into the fold at Elland Road, but he might be in a position to provide more information this time around. He’ll be quizzed on the fitness of Liam Cooper, who limped out of the clash at Bournemouth with what looked like a hip injury and hasn’t been seen on the field since.
He’ll also be asked about the fitness of Tyler Adams, who travelled to the Etihad Stadium alongside Cooper and Stuart Dallas last weekend to cheer on his teammates. We’re yet to have a clear update on his situation and whether there’s a chance he could feature again this season.
Sinisterra has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign, but Dallas is another who looks to be getting close to fitness. Allardyce may be able to provide an update on that front, too, as well as any fresh issues that may have emerged.
Last week Allardyce admitted his toughest selection call came between the sticks with Illan Meslier and Joel Robles battling it out for the gloves. This time around, though, he has a decision to make at the other end of the field with Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo vying for the lead striker role.
Bamford got the nod last week and he has been singled out by the head coach in previous press conferences as the man who could make the difference for the Whites. But, Rodrigo overshadowed him at the Etihad by getting the goal and proving to be more of an attacking threat.
Rodrigo has scored 14 goals in all competitions this season and Leeds have found themselves relying on his ability in front of goal, but Bamford’s game might be more aligned with Allardyce’s style. It’s a tough call for the head coach and he’ll almost certainly be asked about it.
Route back for Rutter?
Allardyce was at Elland Road on Monday night to watch the U21s in play-off action against Aston Villa and he’ll have been pleased with what he saw from the youngsters, who moved a step closer to promotion. The head coach will have been keeping a keen eye on several players but he will have almost certainly been watching Georginio Rutter closely.
The Frenchman didn’t feature at the Etihad last weekend, but he caught the eye with a strong showing with the youth side and Allardyce may be tempted to give him a run out against Newcastle this weekend. The 68-year-old hasn’t spoken about Rutter just yet but you can expect him to be asked about him this afternoon.
Leeds didn’t get the result against Manchester City but Allardyce will have been encouraged by signs of progress in his side after just a few days at the helm. As such, he will have been excited to get back to Thorp Arch and continue working with his players as he strives to keep the club in the Premier League.
Of course, time of the essence on that front, but he will be asked about the development and improvement he has seen this week and the morale at the club after seeing themselves slip into the bottom three on Monday night.
Leeds will be massive underdogs for the second week running on Saturday as they take on Champions League chasers Newcastle United. The Whites frustrated Eddie Howe’s side the last time the two sides met in December at St James’ Park, holding them to a 0-0 draw, and while they know a similar result wouldn’t be enough to see them move out of the bottom three it would give them something to build on going into the penultimate fixture.
Allardyce will be asked for his thoughts on the Magpies and how he believes his side can provide a shock this weekend.