Leeds will face West Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town tomorrow in a 12:30 kick off, the Whites have not faced their Yorkshire rivals since the 2016/17 season when the Terriers were promoted to the Premier League through the play-offs.
Leeds come into the fixture off the back of a fantastic five game winning run, Leeds comfortably defeated Middlesbrough 4-0 at Elland Road last weekend extending their unbeaten run to an impressive eight games. Patrick Bamford opened the scoring for the dominant Whites before a Klich brace and Helder Costa grabbing his first Leeds goal completed a rampant afternoon in West Yorkshire.
The only downfall of the afternoon was United’s Kalvin Phillips picked up a booking meaning he will serve a one-game ban for his tackle in Saturday’s fixture. With Adam Forshaw still ruled out through injury with no date set for his return, Bielsa and his team will need to find a solution for the gap Phillips will leave in his absence sitting in front of the Leeds defence.
It seems the solution will be to utilise on loan Brighton defender Ben White who has been a regular in the defensive line all season, however, his excellent ball playing ability he has showcased throughout the season so far leaves him as the best man for the job and by the sounds of things, he will be the man that fills the gap on Saturday.
Ben White will play in place of the suspended Kalvin Phillips for the trip to Huddersfield Town. Bielsa says #lufc have enough options to cope with the change to the defence. pic.twitter.com/eJlivilEDQ— Adam Pope (@apopey) December 5, 2019
Kalvin Phillips has been one of the outstanding performers for the Whites so far this season, his role in front of the back four has been vital to Leeds’s great start to the season and it will be interesting to see how the White’s get on without the academy product.
Another change with Ben White stepping up to the holding midfield role will mean the young centre back will also need replacing in the back four, White has made 21 appearances across league and cup has been a vital part of the Leeds defence and the team is yet to be tested without him in the back four.
It is likely that Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi will start together in the centre back positions, Berardi has played as back-up this season usually filling in for Cooper when the skipper was injured. Cooper and Berardi have not played much together in the back four this season, however the pair have been team mates for a good few seasons now and should be fine together in the back four, Saturday will reveal the answer.
Town sit in 19th place in the table only two points above the relegation zone after a disappointing return to the championship after suffering relegation from the Premier League last season.
Huddersfield have only picked up four wins this season. They did however pick up some important results in October where they defeated Stoke, Hull, Barnsley and drew with Blackburn and Middlesbrough before an impressive win away to Brentford at the beginning of November.
Since the impressive away win at Brentford, Huddersfield have seen a dip in form picking up only two points in four fixtures and are coming into the fixture off the back of a heavy defeat away to Bristol City last weekend where they were thrashed 5-2.
Huddersfield of course will be up for the Yorkshire derby (their cup final) as of course its Leeds United and they will want to win. As well as wanting win, Huddersfield need to start picking up points if they want to avoid consecutive relegation’s because as things stand they sit just two points above the drop zone.
Predicted Line Up
Obviously Kalvin Phillips is missing from the team as stated earlier, other than KP Leeds will also be without long term injured midfielder Adam Forshaw as well as short term injuries to midfielders Jamie Shackleton and Tyler Roberts.
I think United will cope without the missing players and should be able to make do with the players available in extending their winning run to six games when they travel to the John Smith’s stadium tomorrow lunch time.