BBC pundit: This is the ex-PL player Leeds need to promote to stop the rot
By Harry Sykes
Noel Whelan has urged Leeds United to promote midfielder Eunan O’Kane into the starting XI to stop the rot.
Garry Monk’s side are facing promotion heartache after two consecutive defeats have left their play-offs hopes hanging by a thread.
Leeds suffered a 2-1 defeat at Burton on Saturday five days after a 1-0 home defeat to Wolves.
Ex-Elland Road striker Whelan, who covers all of the team’s matches for BBC Radio Leeds, pinpointed central midfield as one position where the team have been found wanting.
Skipper Liam Bridcutt was unavailable on Saturday due to an achilles injury and Monk responded by recalling Ronaldo Vieira and partnering him with fellow Elland Road academy product Kalvin Phillips.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
O’Kane was once again forced to watch on from the sidelines as he was named on the substitute’s bench for the eighth consecutive match.
“Vieira is brave, strong, wins the ball in key areas,” said Whelan, as quoted by the BBC Leeds live match blog (Saturday, 5.14pm). “He’s so mature for his age and relieves so much pressure for Leeds because he’s not afraid to be on the ball.
“I think Phillips wasn’t at the races and the midfield probably need a head in there with a little bit more experience.
“It’s hard for young players to go into pressured games, and maybe O’Kane could have relieved that.”
O’Kane, 26, joined Leeds from Bournemouth last summer and was a regular in the first half of the season before suffering a groin injury that sidelined him for nearly two months.
It appears that Leeds will now have to win the final two matches of their league campaign to have any chance of securing a top-six finish.
They will also be reliant upon other sides slipping up over the next two weekends to have any chance of ending the club’s 13-year spell in the lower leagues.
In other Leeds United transfer news, the club have done the deal for an out-of-window transfer of a midfield player.