Date: 28 April 2018
Time: 15.00 BST, 10.00 AM EDT
Venue: Carrow Road, Norwich
Radio: BBC Radio Leeds (not available online)
All-time Record: Leeds United v Norwich 22W 16D 18L
Reverse Fixture: Leeds United 1 -0 Norwich
Leeds United travel to Carrow Road with 12th place on the line, not exactly where either team would want to be at this time of the year when the season started. Neither Norwich fans nor Leeds fans would have wanted this match to mean so little when the schedule came out, and so this final away match of the season will be a let down for both sets of fans.
Both Norwich and Leeds go into this match having only won one match in the last five, so neither team is exactly on a tear right now. If anything, both teams seem to have accepted their fate and are looking at another year of mid-table mediocrity.
Leeds beat Norwich in the reverse fixture at Elland Road, but you would hardly recognize the Leeds team that went out against the Canaries last time if you’d only watched Leeds in 2018. Of course, the clean sheet that Leeds kept was largely down to good luck and timely goalkeeping, and when the luck ran out during the second half of the season, 1-0 wins against the likes of Norwich have turned into 3-1 losses at the hands of Preston.
The biggest question right now for Leeds fans right now is just how involved the U23s will be with the team right now. With the position in the table almost certainly settled, this would be an opportune time to blood some youngsters, but Paul Heckingbottom has often seemed loathe to start the kids. Paudie O’Connor has looked like the real deal, as has Tom Pearce, but a lot of fans want to see one of the U23 strikers get a chance in the first team. Sam Dalby might get a look, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t get the start.
Heckingbottom on Saiz's reaction to be substituted last weekend: "He knows it was tactical taking him off. He wasn't brought off because he was poor or anything like that." #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 26, 2018
Up top, Kemar Roofe will likely get the nod at striker, and if Heckingbottom’s words are anything to go by, it looks like Samu Saiz will start at the number 10 role behind Roofe. Of course Heckingbottom could pull a TC and Saiz will be seen on crutches outside the ground, but hey, let’s take the man at his word.
Heckingbottom on Hernandez deal: "I've asked a lot of questions about him because he's been one of our top performers. Lots of teams wanted him and he would have been an asset to any squad. We're delighted to keep him." #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 26, 2018
On the wings, Pablo Hernandez and Gjanni Alioski will likely get the starts. You might have heard that Hernandez just signed a new contract, so he’ll be wanting to hear the crowd chant his name as he scores a hat trick and dedicates it to his wife and children. Or something.
I’d like to see how Ronaldo Vieira and Adam Forshaw look paired in midfield, and with Forshaw looking like he’s back to full fitness, we might see him start the match. Kalvin Phillips could also start, but it still remains to be seen what kind of formation Heckingbottom will use when he’s got a fully healthy midfield to choose from.
Tom Pearce out of contract this summer. Heckingbottom indicated that he's being offered a new deal. Nothing signed yet. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 26, 2018
In defence, Tom Pearce and Paudie O’Connor should both get the start along with Pontus Jansson and either Stuart Dallas or Matthew Pennington. I don’t think I’d like to see Matthew Pennington play at right back for any extended period of time, but with a lack of options, we might see him out there once again.
In goal, Bailey Peacock-Farrell keeps making his claim to be the full-time starter for next season, and it would go a long way towards convincing the brass at Elland Road to give him that chance if he ends the season with a clean sheet.
I can’t pick Leeds to win this match, as this is still the same team that looked awful against Preston and Aston Villa on the road. I just can’t. 2-1 Norwich.
Leeds United: (4-2-3-1) Peacock-Farrell; Dallas, O’Connor, Jansson, Pearce; Forshaw, Vieira; Hernandez, Saiz, Alioski; Roofe
Norwich: (4-2-3-1) Gunn; Lewis, Hanley, Klose, Reed; Tetty, Vrancic; Murphy, Maddison, Hoolihan; Srbeny