At the start of last season, who would have predicted that Leeds United, 1 year on, would be playing against Uwe Rosler in the first round of the EFL Cup? From new manager at Leeds to new manager at Fleetwood Town in a year... to quote World Cup winner Jimmy Greaves, "It's a funny old game." But it will be no laughing matter should Leeds fail to overcome the potential banana skin away to Fleetwood Town, Wednesday night.
Stick or Twist
The Whites sank without a trace against a buoyant QPR 3-0 on Sunday, and although the temptation will be there for Garry Monk to experiment, it would be a disaster to exit the League Cup at the first hurdle on the back of Sunday’s defeat. A loss could damage Monk's young stars, and a win could provide a lucrative game against a Premier League club in the next round, but Rosler will be thinking the same thing and for him the stakes are higher.
Rosler was sacked by Leeds after a less-than-blistering start to his tenure at Elland Road. He now finds himself in charge of the Cod Army and lining up against his old club in only his second game at Fleetwood Town.
Leeds exited this cup, whilst managed by Rosler, in the first round last year at the hands of Doncaster. The Whites lost that one on penalties after drawing in regulation. Rosler is seemingly a draw specialist, and should he learn from his mistakes of last season, he may employ the same tactics as Doncaster. My bet is he'll try take Leeds to penalties, but Monk must guard against a repeat.
Predictably, Rosler's opening game with the Fishermen was a draw, away to Northampton. Although a division lower, Fleetwood sit only 11 places behind United in league placings. With Uwe feeling harshly treated in that he wasn't given enough time at Leeds, he will be wanting to stick two fish fingers up at Cellino and get one over his old club. Leeds could find themselves in stormy waters on the West Coast.
Rosler's presence and the fact that Leeds need to bounce back after their opening defeat makes for an intriguing encounter. Let’s hope that the Fishermen can’t find the net come game day.
Fleetwood Town have never advanced past the first round.
Leeds United: Winners 1968, Runners up 1996.
Leeds United have never previously played Fleetwood Town. This will be a great opportunity for Whites fans to visit Fleetwood's Highbury Stadium for the first time, and I expect they will be there in large numbers.
Leeds United player to watch
Garry Monk is mulling over team changes for this one. Providing the delay in paperwork that stopped Pablo Hernandez from making his debut at weekend is cleared, Wednesday is an ideal opportunity for game time for Leeds' newest recruit. All Leeds eyes should be on Pablo Hernandez.
Fleetwood Town player to watch
Bobby Grant was Fleetwood's premier marksman last season scoring 10 goals from 25 appearances in all competitions. This is the kind of game Grant will relish testing himself in.
Fleetwood Town v. Leeds United
EFL Cup First Round
Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood
LUTV, BBC Radio Leeds
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
11:45am PT / 2:45pm ET / 7:45pm BT
Leeds United’s possible lineup
Green, Coyle, Bamba, Bartley, Taylor, Diagouraga, Vieira, Dallas, Hernandez, Roofe, Wood.
Fleetwood Town’s possible lineup
Neal, McLaughlin, Pond, Eastham, Bell, Hunter, Jónsson, Ryan, Nirennold, Ball, Grant
Leeds United should have too much in attack for the Cod Army, but away in the Cup? It may be close. 2-1 Leeds.
Thanks for reading. #MOT