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Leeds expected 4-2-3-1 v Preston: Forward returns in three changes

COMMENT By Harvey Byrne

Leeds are expected to bring forward Chris Wood straight back into the side to face Preston at Deepdale on Monday.

The 25-year-old striker missed the most recent 1-0 victory against Brenftord after suffering an injury in the first half in the clash against Reading earlier in the month.

However, manager Garry Monk revealed in his pre-match press conference that Wood and star full-back Charlie Taylor will both be available to face the Lilywhites on Boxing Day.

It is likely that the former Swansea boss will bring his top scorer straight into the line-up, as he looks to prevent his side from dropping any needless points in the promotion chase.

However, Taylor, who left last Saturday’ match against Brentford injured may have have to settle for a place on the bench with Gaetano Berardi.

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The versatile Switzerland international can cover either flank and will be a solid depute for the club youth graduate.

Monk is also expected to hand midfielder Liam Bridcutt his first start since September, with Kalvin Phillips the one to drop out of the side in three changes from the win against Brentford.

Goalkeeper Robert Green will be expected to keep his positions between the sticks and he will be keen to keep his ninth clean sheet of the campaign.

He will likely be protected by star centre-back duo Kyle Bartley and Pontus Jansson with Luke Ayling and Berardi either side of them.

The defensive unit will also be formed by midfield duo Ronaldo Vieira and Liam Bridcutt, who are both known better for their play going backwards and they will be keen to control the centre of the park.

Ahead of them should see Hadi Sacko, Keemar Roofe and Souleymane Doukara forming a front three.

Doukara started the Brentford clash upfront on his own, but with Wood’s return he will now be likely to move back onto the left wing with Stuart Dallas dropping out of the line-up.

A win for Leeds could see them move up to third place, whereas a defeat or draw could see them drop out of the play-offs due to Derby’s superior goal difference.

In other Leeds team news, Monk has given a fitness update on this currently injured midfielder.