Leeds United chief Javi Gracia likes to keep his cards close to his chest when it comes to team news. That has been made abundantly clear during his first few weeks in charge at Elland Road, making it hard to predict the squad of players he will be working with from game to game.
However, he did let slip that both Luis Sinisterra and Rodrigo have been training this week and if they are considered to be ready they could be involved against Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon. The pair have been missed and they will have big roles to play for Leeds over the fine few months of the Premier League campaign.
Late calls will be made on both Sinisterra and Rodrigo but it seems unlikely that Gracia will risk throwing either of them straight back into the starting XI this weekend, given the nature of their respective injuries. The head coach wasn’t quite as clear on Patrick Bamford, but he is expected to return to action this week after missing the trip to Chelsea with a minor leg knock.
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If Bamford is ready to go, he can expect to lead the line, replacing Georginio Rutter in the starting line-up. Rutter struggled to show his best as a number nine at Stamford Bridge, but he could be asked to make an impact off the bench this time around against the Seagulls.
Wilfried Gnonto is another who can expect to come back into the starting XI. He was dropped for the first time in 11 games in west London, but Jack Harrison struggled to convince in the role.
One of the biggest decisions Gracia faces this week is what to do with his midfield. Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams were overrun at Stamford Bridge and they struggled to make their presence felt at times.
Marc Roca’s availability gives Gracia the option to try and shore things up in the middle by playing a midfield three, though. That could help to provide a bit more control and the extra body may even work to stifle the influences of Alexis Mac Allister, Pascal Gross and Moises Caicedo.
It’s hard to make a case for changes at the back, even if club captain Liam Cooper is considered fit, given the form of Robin Koch and Max Wober in the heart of defence. Junior Firpo surely gets the nod at left-back, too.
Predicted line-up: Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Wober, Firpo; McKennie, Adams, Roca; Summerville, Bamford, Gnonto
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