Bartley and Hernandez omitted: Best combined Leeds and Derby XI
COMMENT By Dominic Toner
Kyle Bartley and Pablo Hernandez would be among the casualties of a starting line-up comprised of the best Leeds and Derby players.
The Whites host Derby on Friday night at Elland Road as the two promotion candidates clash in the Championship.
Garry Monk’s side are currently in good form and are unbeaten in their last six games across all competitions, including a 2-1 win over Cambridge in the FA Cup third-round on Monday.
The Yorkshire giants will move up to third if they avoid defeat on Friday, while Derby have the chance to climb into the play-off positions with a win.
Both sides are blessed with talented players, meaning there are some notable absences from the best combined XI.
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Two ex-England goalkeepers in Rob Green and Scott Carson contest the number one position, with the latter coming out on top due to his form this season.
Both have proven to be two of the best in the division, but Derby’s shot stopper has a remarkable 14 clean sheets in 25 league appearances, compared to nine in 25 for Green.
Leeds pair Luke Ayling and Charlie Taylor occupy the full-back positions as they have been two of the club’s most consistent performers this season.
Derby’s ever-present Richard Keogh partners Pontus Jansson at centre-back, who will miss Friday’s match as he serves a two-game suspension.
Leeds defender Bartley misses out despite his impressive form this season as well as Jason Shackell of Derby.
Liam Bridcutt and Will Hughes are selected in the midfield, meaning the likes of Hernandez, Eunan O’Kane, Bradley Johnson and Ronaldo Vieira miss out.
The combined XI is given tremendous pace in the wide areas by Tom Ince and Kemar Roofe, who are both currently in great form.
Leeds’ attacker has now settled following his summer arrival from Elland Road and has directly contributed to four goals in his last three league games.
Ince has been a major goal threat all season for the Rams, scoring nine goals and supplying three assists in 28 appearances across all competitions.
Two former Leicester strikers partner each other in attack, with Chris Wood and January signing David Nugent beating off competition from David Bent, Souleymane Doukara and Matej Vydra.
Nugent completed his move to the iPro Stadium on Monday and is a proven goalscorer in the Championship, while Wood has netted 16 times in 28 appearances this season.
In other Leeds news, David Prutton has given his prediction of the club’s upcoming match against Derby.