Leeds United’s trip to Sunderland this evening marks a rapid return to action following the weekend.
The Whites defeated Blackburn Rovers 2-0 on the road on Saturday, but they are aware that they cannot afford to lose now that the top two teams are maintaining their unrelenting start to the campaign.
Daniel Farke may need to make a few changes at the Stadium of Light in the upcoming weeks as he must carefully manage the team during this hectic schedule of games.
There’s also a big decision at left-back as Sam Byram and Jamie Shackleton have been added to the list of injured players since the victory at Ewood Park, along with Junior Firpo and Stuart Dallas.
Here is our predicted starting lineup for the match, keeping that in mind.
Ian Meslier gets another opportunity to start in goal.
Leeds will have to play someone out of position against Sunderland because they are very short at left-back and Byram, Firpo, and Shackleton are all out with injuries.
After replacing the injured Byram in just his second league game for Leeds over the weekend, Djed Spence may receive his first start for the team tonight.
Archie Gray at right back and Joe Rodon and Pascal Struijk continuing their center-back partnership are expected to be the only defensive changes made.
On Saturday, Ethan Ampadu and Glen Kamara started in midfield for the seventh straight game, and they very well might tonight.
But with so much work ahead of him, Ilia Gruev will definitely be aiming for just his second Leeds start in the upcoming weeks. I’m not sure if that will happen tomorrow night, though.
Middlesbrough vs. Leeds United in the Sky Bet Championship. Image courtesy of Jess Hornby/Getty Images
Although Leeds’ front four kept up their good play over the weekend, it would be prudent to rotate in the upcoming weeks to keep everyone fresh.
Because of this, Willy Gnonto, who can be a difference-maker off the bench, may start on the right instead of Dan James in the hopes of earning a rare start.
Remaining in the front four are Georginio Rutter, Joel Piroe, and Crysencio Summerville.
Meslier, Gray, Rodon, Struijk, Spence, Ampadu, Kamara, Gnonto, Piroe, Summerville, Rutter are the predicted starting lineup.