COMMENT By Richard Parks
Paul Heckingbottom is set to make multiple changes to the Leeds United starting XI for the pivotal third match of his reign against Derby County on Wednesday.
Despite Sunday’s stirring comeback against Bristol City, United are without a win since Boxing Day and their hopes of making a late play-off charge rest on securing a series of wins starting with the trip to fourth-placed Derby.
Leeds have dropped to 12th in the division after Tuesday night’s round of Championship fixtures, eight points adrift of sixth-placed Bristol City and 10 behind their opponents on Wednesday night.
United will be able to call upon senior trio Samuel Saiz, Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi, who have now completed their suspensions, which have amounted to six, four and two games respectively.
That does not mean Heckingbottom will make widespread defensive changes for what is effectively a must-win match if Leeds are to force their way back into play-off contention.
The manager was also at pains to point out at his pre-match media conference that it will take time for Saiz, Cooper and Berardi to get back up to speed after their absences.
Football Insider names the expected United starting XI for the Wednesday 7.45pm kick-off, with four senior players axed from last weekend’s draw against Bristol City as the manager gets tough with his new charges.
Click below to see who will start in goal and defence for the clash v Bristol City