Match: Leeds United v Queens Park Rangers
Date: 5 May 2018
Time: 12.30 BST, 7.30 AM EDT, 4.30 AM PDT
Venue: Elland Road
Radio: BBC Radio Leeds (not available online)
All-time Record: Leeds United v QPR 21W 16D 18L
Reverse Fixture: QPR 1 - 3 Leeds
The 51st and final Leeds United match of the season is now mercifully upon us. This season, that started out with so much promise and glory, ends with a whimper tomorrow at Elland Road as QPR travel north to take on Leeds in a titanic battle for 14th place.
That second half performance from Leeds was brilliant. Quality crosses from Alioski and Cibicki for first and second goals. Really glad to see roofe score a hat-trick up top is were he plays best.— John Paul Redmond (@Johnredmond79) December 9, 2017
The win at Loftus Road back in December was one of the better away performances for Leeds this season, winning 3-1 behind a hat trick from Kemar Roofe. Pawel Cibicki provided some brilliant wing play and the defence did enough to keep QPR out for most of the match, only for an absolute howler from Felix Wiedwald to let the other team back in the game late on. All’s well that ends well, however, as Roofe finished his hat trick in style.
This match was perhaps the best league game of the season from Roofe, and he was quickly sent back to the bench when Pierre-Michel Lasogga was “fit” again and Cibicki, after a dodgy performance against Newport County in the FA Cup, has failed to make another senior appearance for Leeds.
This final match of the season should provide Paul Heckingbottom to blood some youngsters, as the U23s season is now over. Bryce Hosannah, who signed a new contract at the club after transferring from Crystal Palace’s youth team last summer, should get a run out at right back, as he’s currently the only fit option. Likewise, Paudie O’Connor, who’s made a few appearances, and perhaps Ryan Edmonson, Sam Dalby, and Jack Clarke should all appear, with perhaps even an appearance from Oriol Rey.
Paul Heckingbottom ready for "honest and difficult conversations" with Leeds United's hierarchy, with the Championship season almost over:https://t.co/exeecmNalQ— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) May 4, 2018
However, Heckingbottom seems to be feeling the pressure of a lack of results, and he might send out a “full-strength” squad of senior players, none of which looked particularly bothered last week against Norwich City. It will be extremely disappointing to not see at least two or three “kids” against QPR tomorrow, and it will bother me less to see a side full of a U23s lose than see a half-arsed performance from the first team players get a win.
Up front, Kemar Roofe will likely start, and if Heckingbottom wants to play a 4-4-2, then Edmonson or Dalby should get a start. Of course he won’t play a 4-4-2 and Samu Saiz will likely get the start as the attacking midfield number 10 behind a lone striker.
On the wings, Gjanni Alioski will likely start, but with Pablo Hernandez in Spain, following the birth of a son, the other wing spot is up for grabs. Hadi Sacko hasn’t featured in months, so perhaps a debut for Jack Clarke? Stuart Dallas is injured as well, so someone is gonna half to start out on the wing. If Clarke or Sacko don’t get the nod, there is a sneaking suspicion that Jay-Roy Grot might get the start, despite the horror show that occurred against Preston.
In the central midfield, Adam Forshaw could be recalled after being out with injury to pair with either Kalvin Phillips or Ronaldo Vieira. I wouldn’t play him, why bother, but I’m not a manager who fears getting sacked. Vieira and Forshaw then.
In defence, I would like to see Paudie O’Connor partner Pontus Jansson. Tom Pearce, despite (bizarrely) getting singled out by Heckingbottom during the post-match press conference after Norwich, will start at left back. Luke Ayling is supposedly in frame to be fit again, but there is on reason to risk him at all, so perhaps Hosannah will get a chance. Either that or Matthew Pennington will once again get a run out at right back.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell, fresh off of his win of the Young Player of the Year, will start in goal. Could Kamil Miazek make the bench? Again, that’s something that I would do, but I’m not Heckingbottom.
This depends on the lineup, honestly. I think if Heckingbottom puts out a young side and challenges them to perform, they might get a goal or two. If the regular first team is trotted out there, Leeds will not score. QPR might also play some of their kids, but who knows. I’ll go 0-0 draw.
Leeds United: (4-2-3-1) Peacock-Farrell; Hosannah, Jansson, O’Connor, Pearce; Vieira, Phillips; Clarke, Saiz, Alioski; Roofe