Leeds expected 4-2-3-1 v Birmingham: new signing to start
PREVIEW By Will Butcher
Garry Monk is expected to make two changes to the Leeds defence for Saturday’s Championship clash against Birmingham.
The Championship giants have conceded five goals in their two opening fixtures, edging past Fleetwood on Wednesday night with the help of a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw.
Bristol City defender Luke Ayling became the latest part of Monk’s Elland Road revolution after putting pen to paper on a three-year deal on Thursday afternoon, and is set to be thrown into the starting line-up at the weekend.
Lewie Coyle will make way, while Gaetano Berardi continues to recover from a muscle injury.
He is set to be one of four changes from Leeds’ opening Championship fixture against QPR, which made apparent the team’s many defensive frailties as the R’s ran riot winning 3-0.
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Vice-captain Liam Cooper is in line to wear the armband as he comes in to replace Ivory Coast international Sol Bamba, who struggled at Loftus Road.
The 24-year-old made a return from injury against Fleetwood in the EFL Cup game, and Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Phil Hay confirmed he would be available for Saturday.
Liam Cooper is fine – plan was always to take him off after 45 mins after he missed much of pre-season. Fit for Saturday.
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) August 11, 2016
Youngster Ronaldo Vieira has struggled to impress in both games after being thrown into the deep end by Monk, and Leeds fans have called for the former Swansea boss to replace him with combative 26-year-old Luke Murphy.
Spanish international Pablo Hernandez is available after gaining international clearance, and his quality was apparent against Fleetwood. He is likely to replace Swansea technician Matt Grimes in the number 10 role.
Despite scoring in the week, Swedish hitman Marcus Antonsson is set to continue on the bench as first-choice spearhead Chris Wood leads the line.
In other Leeds team news, fans reacted to Hernandez’s Leeds bow on Twitter.