24-year-old axed as Heck gets desperate with three changes: Leeds expected XI v Aston Villa
Leeds season might effectively be over but after news broke that they are set to get rid of manager Paul Heckingbottom sometime between and and the end of the season, this match has taken on extra significance.
A really heavy defeat and it could be the last game in charge for the manager, who will be frustrated that he can’t call upon enforcer Pontus Jansson.
He has to sit this one out, as Heckingbottom confirmed in his pre-match press conference, with protocol over head injuries trumping what the player himself might think about his fitness.
That means that Heckingbottom is stretched at the back again and the only thing standing between his job and the Aston Villa attack are three Under-23 stars, Bailey Peacock-Farrell in goal, and Paudie O’Connor and Hugo Diaz in the centre of defence.
The other big question is who is going to lead the line.
Heckingbottom doesn’t really know who his best striker is, and he’s been rotating 24-year-old Caleb Ekuban and Pierre-Michel Lasogga in vain search of goals.
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We think that Kemar Roofe, the solitary goal-scorer from the 3-1 defeat at Preston, will get the nod tomorrow night, and Samu Saiz, who is being wrapped in cotton wool over an injury, will be sent out to try and wrest something from a Villa side hell-bent on automatic promotion.
In all there will probably be three changes, with Diaz in for Jansson, Ezgjan Alioski in for Jay-Roy Grot and Saiz in for Ekuban.
It’s set to be a tough night for travelling Leeds fans.