After back-to-back defeats, Leeds may be grateful for having a weekend off from Championship action. The Whites face Queens Park Rangers in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday – and that will leave Marcelo Bielsa with a tricky decision.
In previous years, embarrassing FA Cup defeats have had an impact on Leeds’ league form. Losing to QPR would not be embarrassing, but three defeats in a row would potentially increase some pressure.
Nevertheless, with Bielsa preferring to use a small squad, he should arguably be tempted to throw a number of young players in at Loftus Road to give some of the first-team stars a break before Friday’s clash with Derby County.
With that in mind, here are five youngsters who should start this weekend…
The obvious name is Jack Clarke. The winger was superb against Nottingham Forest, scoring another goal, and he now deserves to show what he can do from the start.
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Bailey Peacock-Farrell is going through a bad spell. His performances have been questioned on several occasions lately, so taking him out of the firing line may be a wise move. Will Huffer kept a clean sheet on his only senior appearance, so should be considered for another chance against QPR.
With Kalvin Phillips suspended, Aapo Halme must be expecting another opportunity. With Adam Forshaw struggling, many felt Halme should have started against Forest with Phillips pushing forward. He will surely play alongside Pontus Jansson.
One of the surprises of the campaign so far has been Jamie Shackleton. The 19-year-old has stepped up to every challenge Bielsa has set, and could be considered in a number of roles this weekend.
Robbie Gotts is one of the most exciting academy players still awaiting his debut. With Luke Ayling taking a while to find his best form since returning, Gotts should perhaps get the chance to impress and show that he can follow the likes of Clarke and Shackleton into the first-team on a regular basis.