COMMENT By Harry Sykes
They have the momentum and the confidence after a run of three straight wins.
But do Leeds have the attacking weapons and resilience to secure what would be the momentous triumph of their campaign to date when they host Ipswich at Elland Road on Saturday?
The four victories secured by Garry Monk’s side this season have all come against teams in the bottom half of the table – against Sheffield Wednesday, Cardiff and two against Blackburn, the second of which was secured in the League Cup.
Ipswich only have two points more than Leeds, and are placed in 11th, but they have one of the Championship’s stingiest defences.
Mick McCarthy’s side don’t score many – just eight in eight league matches this season – but they concede even less and have shipped just seven in the new campaign.
Leeds need pace and trickery to unhinge a solid back line, and a ball-carrying threat beyond the highly impressive Hadi Sacko, who is making a name for himself with his right-flank raids.
Stuart Dallas has showed signs of returning to his 2015-16 form, but he doesn’t offer the mobility and capacity-for-the-unexpected of Roofe.
Leeds have yet to see the best, or anywhere near close, of the £3million summer signing but there were flickers in the midweek win over Blackburn of the player who terrorised League Two backlines last season.
Roofe deserves the chance to run at the Ipswich defence from the start, but Monk should otherwise not be too seduced by the outcome of Tuesday night’s triumph over the Championship’s bottom club.
To secure all three points against Ipswich, the manager must restore his big guns and bring back those who were given breathers in midweek.
This means Rob Green, Luke Ayling, Hadi Sacko, Pablo Hernandez and Chris Wood should all start at Elland Road on Saturday.
The team will also benefit from the return of captain Liam Bridcutt after recovering from a foot injury that forced him out of the last two matches, while Pontus Jansson should start after missing the Blackburn match due to illness
Assuming Bridcutt is fit to skipper the team, the big decision for Monk is likely to be the identity of his central midfield partner.
Late August signing Eunan O’Kane has started the last two matches alongside teenager Ronaldo Vieira, but the pair should be omitted in favour of Kalvin Phillips.
The midfielder does not offer as protective a defensive shield as fellow academy product Vieira but he has has greater quality on the ball and provides a bigger goal threat.
In other Leeds team news, the Yorkshire giants have pleaded guilty to a bung in the sale of Ross McCormack.