Leeds expected 4-2-3-1 v QPR: Four changes as Monk axes attacking duo
By Will Butcher
Garry Monk is likely to welcome back Luke Ayling and Chris Wood in four changes to his Leeds side to face QPR on Saturday at Elland Road.
Right-back Ayling missed Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw against Fulham due to birth of his daughter, but is set to return to Monk’s side this weekend.
The former Bristol City defender is set to join top scorer Wood in returning to the starting line-up, who missed the midweek draw after picking up a slight knock to his calf against Birmingham.
Ireland international Eunan O’Kane and former Swansea ace Pablo Hernandez could link up with Wood and Ayling in returning to Monk’s starting eleven, after being rested against Fulham.
That sees attacking duo Kemar Roofe and Modou Barrow drop out, while Gaetano Berardi could feel unlucky to be demoted to the bench after a superb run of form in Charlie Taylor’s absence.
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Academy product Kalvin Phillips’ sending off against Fulham will see him miss the next two matches through suspension.
With 22 league goals to his name this season, New Zealand international Wood will be hoping to stretch his lead at the top of the Championship goal charts by finding the net against QPR.
Summer signing Roofe failed to do much with the limited possession he was given against Fulham, and that will allow four-time Spain international Hernandez to return after a rest.
Alfonso Pedraza scored against Birmingham and had chances against Fulham, and that should tempt Monk into choosing him over Stuart Dallas while Souleymane Doukara drops back into a right-midfield slot.
Phillips’ impressive substitute appearance at Birmigham saw him start against Fulham, but it is a case of one step forward and two steps back for the midfielder. O’Kane comes in, with Ronaldo Vieira expected to be named on the bench.
Captain Liam Bridcutt will screen the back four, which will be boosted by the return of Ayling. He joins Kyle Bartley, Pontus Jansson and Taylor at the back.
Ex-England international Rob Green has been in fantastic form recently, and he remains in between the sticks with Italian Marco Silvestri watching on from the bench.
A 21st league win of the season could see Leeds move into third if Huddersfield drop points, as the Yorkshire giants look to consolidate their position in the top six.