Leeds suffered their first defeat in the Championship since early November at the weekend. The loss to Hull reminded the Whites of how bizarre the division can be at times, and how much work there is still to do before promotion is secured.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have an immediate opportunity to respond. Nottingham Forest await on New Year’s Day. But Bielsa may be tempted to make some changes.
Injuries continue to restrict how many changes Bielsa can make. And while Leeds have responded superbly to not having a number of key players, they appear to now be paying a price.
Kalvin Phillips is enjoying a remarkable season. His ability to adapt to whatever is asked of him is making the 22-year-old one of the most important players in Bielsa’s side.
But his lack of experience at centre-back has been exposed lately. Leeds have conceded six goals in their last three games. Phillips is not at fault for all of those goals, but not having Liam Cooper is hurting the team.
Not only has Cooper enjoyed a brilliant season, but Phillips is sensational in that midfield role that he has had to hand over to Adam Forshaw for the time-being.
Forshaw has arguably not been able to enjoy the same success in the position. Pushing Phillips forward on Tuesday therefore, could be a smart move.
Aapo Halme has shown his potential when given a chance. The Finn should perhaps come in alongside Pontus Jansson at the City Ground.
It is perhaps a risk. But as Leeds will have one of their players of the season back in their best role, it may be worth rolling the dice.