Monk must axe 28-year-old Leeds fans favourite v QPR
COMMENT By Will Butcher
Garry Monk should hand Luke Ayling a return to Leeds’ starting line-up to face QPR on Saturday in place of Gaetano Berardi.
Ayling missed Tuesday night’s clash against Fulham which finished in a 1-1 draw, following the birth of his daughter.
Berardi, 28, has been in exceptional form since returning from a long-term hamstring injury, replacing Charlie Taylor at left-back while the academy product nursed an achilles problem.
However, with Taylor now back in the side after returning against Fulham on Tuesday night, Berardi should be dropped to the substitutes’ bench.
Switzlerand international Berardi is renowned for his aggressive, defence-first approach, but Monk must look to attack from all angles to secure three points against QPR.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
The London side have little to play for in the bottom half of the Championship table. Safe from relegation in 14th, Ian Holloway’s side are too far away to mount a play-off charge.
With motivation potentially lacking, Monk must look to push forward with all available cylinders, meaning more attack-minded full-backs in Taylor and Ayling should be preferred.
QPR are known to favour a wing-back system in a five-man defence, and overloading the flanks with Ayling and Taylor bombing on past Leeds’ wingers could help Leeds create an overlap and supply top scorer Chris Wood.
Taylor has provided three assists in his 23 league games this season and is more than capable of reaching the byline on the left flank.
Similarly, former Bristol City right-back Ayling is comfortable in possession and his assist against Norwich at Carrow Road saw Wood score one of the best Leeds goals this season.
Starting both Taylor and Ayling, with the backing of the Elland Road crowd, could be instrumental in securing three points by providing an extra attacking dimension.