Leeds United news: Luke Ayling in make-or-break four games to show he's worth new contract
Leeds United will be playing for their lives in their remaining four Premier League matches as they aim to avoid relegation back to the Championship.
While the so-called second-season syndrome hasn’t hit the Whites in the way it has done to clubs in the past, there are still a lot of things that have gone wrong at Elland Road for them to be in this position.
Jesse Marsch’s men are 17th just two points clear of the drop zone with games against Arsenal and Chelsea on the horizon while 18th-placed Everton have an extra game and easier fixtures.
It does, unfortunately, mean that United are favourites to get relegated at this point in time.
Leeds will need a massive effort from their players in the remaining games and a number of those players will no doubt be playing for their futures at Elland Road too.
One player whose future hasn’t been talking about that much is Luke Ayling, who’ll enter the final year of his Leeds United contract next month.
The 30-year-old has been a mainstay of the Leeds starting line-up for several years now.
He’s usually started as the right-back, worn the captain’s armband when it’s been available and even covered at centre-back.
However, it says a lot that a player of that standing in the squad still hasn’t had his future resolved by Leeds, which leads us to believe that Ayling could be playing for his Elland Road future in the remaining four games of the season.
Ayling is by no means one of the best right-backs in the Premier League.
He was regularly criticised by fans – often made a scapegoat, in fact – while in the Championship and going forward, he’s not really hit the mark this season.
Last term, he was exceptional. This season, although he’s popped up with a couple of goals, he’s been quiet in the attacking third and haphazard defensively.
Leeds’ injury issues haven’t helped because Ayling has had to play many a game at centre-back. But when he’s played there, we have to be blunt and say that he’s been atrocious.
We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks because there’s a massive four games for Leeds to play and also four huge games for Ayling.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites are surely doomed if Jeff Stelling’s latest prediction is correct.