Exclusive: Leeds star braced for huge test v 'Brilliant' Cardiff player - Whelan

Noel Whelan insisted Luke Ayling will have to be wary of the “fantastic” Josh Murphy as Leeds United return to Championship action against Cardiff City on Sunday.

The former Elland Road striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, suggested the 25-year-old poses the main threat to Leeds from open play along with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.

Murphy will likely line up on the left hand side for Neil Harris’ side and Luke Ayling will be tasked with muting the winger who has scored six and assisted three this season.

Cardiff’s joint top-scorer Lee Tomlin has been declared fit for the restart along with Mendez-Laing who has been out since December with a ruptured hamstring.

Whelan pointed out that the fixture is as important for Cardiff as Leeds with the Welsh side chasing a spot in this year’s Play-Offs.

When asked by Football Insider if Ayling would have his hands full with Josh Murphy this weekend, Whelan said: “Murphy is a great player – an absolutely fantastic player. It will be a great matchup.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“Murphy was fantastic at Norwich. Great player with a great turn of pace and brilliant skills.

“There will be fantastic matchups all over the pitch.

“We will have to keep an eye out for Laing as well, powerful player with great pace.

“With players like that coming off the wing you need to be wary. If we’re not fully at it they could cause us a lot of problems.

“Cardiff have a lot to play for so this is not cut and dry. This is a really important stage for everyone.”

The Bluebirds are currently ninth and just two points off the Play-Off spots.

Leeds versus Cardiff is the final fixture of the weekend and the Championship leaders could be second and just four points ahead of Fulham when they kick off on Sunday.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED five Middlesborough players sign new deals amid potential Ayala transfer.