Daniel Farke may rue risky decision as Leeds United starting XI named v Bristol City
The build-up to Leeds United versus Bristol City was dominated by talk of how Daniel Farke would solve his problem left-back issue.
With Jamie Shackleton out with a shoulder injury, Junior Firpo still on the sidelines, and Leo Hjelde just looking way below the required standard at Elland Road, it all boiled down to whether they felt Sam Byram could handle three games in a week.
Well, when Leeds named their team (official Twitter account) for the fixture on Saturday (7 October), Byram was indeed named in the team.
What was more surprising is that Luke Ayling dropped out in one of two changes, with Glen Kamara in for Jaidon Anthony – who was named on the subs bench amid fitness doubts – representing the other.
It appeared as though manager Farke opted for a change of system away from the back four he has employed this term, something he had hinted at during his pre-match press conference on Friday (6 October).
Deciding to go with Byram, who has had well-documented injury issues throughout his career, represents a real risk at a time where it might have made more sense to err on the side of caution.
Leeds rebounded from their 3-1 loss at Southampton last weekend to defeat QPR 1-0 in midweek, so you can understand why Farke was not keen to make too many changes.
But with left-back already looking a problem position, even when everyone is fit, it seems a little misguided to have started Byram, especially when there are other options he could have taken.
All being well, Byram will flourish and Leeds will come away celebrating another three points before the latest international break. Let’s hope this one doesn’t come back to bite Farke come full-time.
In other Leeds United news, Patrick Bamford must learn his lesson after news that emerged on Friday.