Sky Sports pundit David Prutton has said that Leeds must persist with striker Caleb Ekuban for the game against Sunderland on Saturday.

The striker, who has scored just once in 16 league appearances this season, has been the subject of sustained criticism from fans, who want to see top-scorer Pierre-Michel Lasogga reinstated in the starting XI.

However, Prutton thinks that would be a mistake and says that Ekuban “offers something different” to Lasogga.

Fans would claim the only difference is that Ekuban can’t score goals, but Prutton thinks he needs time to find his feet and that there’s a player in there who can deliver if given a chance.

Writing in his column in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Prutton said: “Caleb Ekuban has obviously been guilty of missing chances during United’s last two games but every player has a dip be that for one game or two.

“If that carries on towards the end of the season then perhaps you need to look at different aspects but Ekuban gives Leeds something different to Pierre-Michel Lasogga and something different to the strikers they have got.

“He’s still only played 16 games for Leeds and it’s his first season in the Championship, which is tough.

“Ekuban was on loan at Partizani Tirana in the Albanian league last season and you have got to mitigate the circumstances. With the greatest respect to Albanian football, did we think he was going to come and jump in straight away? Possibly not. Should we give him time to settle? Yes. Afford him some patience.”

Football Insider verdict:

We agree with Prutton. Obviously we don’t know exactly what’s going on behind the scenes at Elland Road but our best guess would be that Lasogga isn’t going to be around next season. If that’s the case then there’s no point playing him in what are effectively meaningless fixtures. Instead, Heckingbottom must look to the future and Ekuban could be a striker that delivers if he finds his feet. He’s been creating the sort of chances that he’s been sticking away in training, and if he can start scoring in the Championship, then he’ll be a player for next season. Either way though, Heckingbttom needs to find out and starting him against Sunderland makes all the sense in the world. Leeds fans want goals, and that’s fair enough, but hopefully Ekuban can deliver today against a side struggling at the bottom end of the league.  

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