By Noel Whelan

29th Dec, 2019 | 8:00am

Exclusive: Whelan suggests 'Unlucky' Leeds player has forced way into starting XI ahead of B'ham

Noel Whelan suggests that Leeds United fan favourite Ezgjan Alioski has forced his way back into a regular starting role in recent weeks.

The former Leeds striker and lifelong fan of the Whites, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, says that the Macedonian international was “unlucky” not to keep his place in the starting XI earlier in December.

The 27-year-old started and scored in the win over Huddersfield but was back on the substitutes’ bench against Hull City and Cardiff in the following weeks.

Having seen the versatile left-sided flyer start against both Fulham and Preston North End, Whelan suggests he has finally made the left-back role his own ahead of the clash against Birmingham.

Asked if Alioski had played his way into being a regular once again, Whelan told Football Insider: “Yeah, I think so. He was unlucky to be getting a start after scoring two goals in two games, coming on as a substitute. 

“He’s stayed positive, he’s a team player, you can see that. He never spits his dummy out, he gets on with his job and he’s got to be a great player to work with.

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“Against Preston I felt that he just worked and worked and worked up and down that line, he’s got loads of energy, he likes to get in the good positions. To be honest with you, he definitely should have scored one, maybe two.”

Alioski has a total of 20 Championship appearances under his belt this season, with 13 of those outings coming among the starting XI.

He has battled with Barry Douglas and Stuart Dallas for a place at left-back, while he has also played in a left-wing role under Marcelo Bielsa.

In other Leeds United news, Whelan admits he feels sorry for one senior player after the dire draw against Preston.