By Editor Wayne Veysey
Football Insider analyses three talking points from Leeds’ 2-0 Championship win against Reading on Tuesday night.
Writing on the wall for Mowatt
If the writing wasn’t already on the wall for Alex Mowatt, it is now. The midfielder had made just four league appearances this season ahead of the clash and would have had high hopes of a fifth given the lack of fitness of Liam Bridcutt and the unavailability of Eunan O’Kane, Kalvin Phillips and Pablo Hernandez. But Garry Monk sprung a surprise by replacing Phillips with winger Stuart Dallas and playing five attacking players in a 4-1-4-1 formation. His theory appeared to be that if the midfielders aren’t good enough, then don’t bother playing them. Mowatt was on the bench but, when Chris Wood was withdrawn, Bridcutt was sent on for his first action in three months. Academy product Mowatt, who is out of contract next summer, had a 20-minute cameo as a substitute but clearly isn’t rated by Monk and must quit next month for the sake of his career.
Wood needs premier back-up
Chris Wood might not be attracting too many scouts from Premier League clubs but, as far as Leeds fans are concerned, he is worth his weight in gold. The striker scored his 14th goal of the season, and 11th in the league, when he took advantage of a deflected Hadi Sacko cross to put his side 1-0 up after 19 minutes. Just 14 minutes later, the Elland Road faithful were given an almighty scare when the New Zealand international was substituted due to injury. With goals hard to come by across the squad, it almost goes without saying that Wood is irreplaceable. Leeds need to find cover for their main man in the January window, or risk losing their grip on the play-off places.
Monk has a team to reckon with
Leeds are earning a reputation for getting the job done. No matter the hurdles placed in their way, whether it be injury, suspension or a thin getting getting more emaciated by the match. Monk has assembled a team to be reckoned with, and a playing style that works in the battleground of the Championship. His greatest achievement is that Leeds are consistently punching above their weight.