Leeds United U21s have the chance to seal an immediate promotion back to Premier League Two Division One this evening against Nottingham Forest at Elland Road.
The Young Whites were pipped to the solitary automatic promotion spot on goal difference by Southampton in the regular league season and were therefore forced to settle for a place in the play-offs.
Leeds got over the disappointment of missing out on the title quickly, though, as they sealed their progress to the final seven days ago, coming from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 thanks to goals from Mateo Joseph and Sonny Perkins.
10,000 supporters are expected at tonight’s match against Forest, where they could again get the opportunity to watch club record signing Georginio Rutter in action.
Rutter played just over 70 minutes of last week’s win over Villa and despite not getting on the scoresheet, impressed with his hold-up play and dribbling ability.
Rutter could be handed chance to impress for U21s
The 21-year-old was once again an unused substitute for the first team in the 2-2 draw with Newcastle United on Saturday.
That was the fifth successive game in which Rutter failed to get off the bench for the Whites, sparking frustration among supporters given how much was spent on him.
His performance for the U21s was a positive sign, though, as it showed he has not let his lack of game time affect his confidence or attitude.
Sam Allardyce was in attendance at last week’s match and it would be a surprise if he wasn’t there again tonight, which should provide Rutter with enough motivation to perform.
Patrick Bamford has been the first choice number nine during his first two matches in charge, but his confidence is clearly low after missing a penalty at 1-0 against Newcastle.
Rutter will be desperate to prove he is capable of replacing Bamford – whether from the start or as a substitute – and another positive U21s display could enable him to play some sort of role in Leeds’ final two league matches.