Midfield duo axed in Monk 4-2-3-1: Leeds best possible XI v Brighton
By Will Butcher
Garry Monk must make three changes to his Leeds side he is to secure three crucial points in the promotion run-in against Brighton at Elland Road.
The Yorkshire giants go up against second placed Brighton in Saturday’s tea-time kick-off in front of the television cameras, with the chance to consolidate their play-off place.
Last time out, Monk saw his side stumble to Ian Holloway’s QPR in a 0-0 draw despite having home advantage, and these three changes will make sure a repeat does not occur.
Luke Ayling will drop out as he serves the first game of a two-match ban, while midfield duo Kemar Roofe and Ronaldo Vieira should also be replaced after struggling against QPR.
That will see Charlie Taylor return in a defensive reshuffle, while Eunan O’Kane and Hadi Sacko should be given the chance to help Leeds secure three points against the Seagulls.
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The changes will see Berardi move to right-back after starting on the left side of defence against QPR, as he fills the void left by suspended Ayling.
That allows last season’s player of the year Taylor to come back in after being benched last weekend, alongside defenders Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley as well as keeper Rob Green.
Captain Liam Bridcutt should partner Ireland international O’Kane in the middle of the park, with experience desperately required to cope with Brighton’s central-midfield pairing of Beram Kayal and Dale Stephens.
Hadi Sacko’s pace will be crucial on the right flank as Leeds look to stop flying full-back Liam Rosenior, while Alfonso Pedraza will look to capitalise on the absence of captain Bruno.
Pablo Hernandez will be looking for a return to form, while the Championship’s top scorer Chris Wood could add to his tally off 22 league goals with Shane Duffy injured.
A win could see Leeds close the gap on third placed Huddersfield to just two points, with the Terriers in action against Bristol City earlier in the day.
In other Leeds news, these four players have been ruled out from featuring in Saturday’s clash.