By Callum O'Connell

16th Nov, 2023 | 12:10pm

Luke Ayling could be cast aside after Djed Spence injury news emerges at Leeds United

Luke Ayling could find himself cast aside at Leeds United after Beren Cross claimed the club are hopeful of a return for Djed Spence after the international break via Leeds Live [14 November].

Ayling’s contract is set to run out in the summer and an exit could now be on the cards as he has fallen further down the pecking order at Elland Road this season.

Spence, meanwhile, has been suffering from injuries since he arrived at Elland Road and is yet to make his first club for the club after arriving on loan in the summer.

Ayling has made a meaningful contribution in just four of Leeds’ last ten Championship games, having been left on the bench for the clashes with Southampton and Plymouth, while he played a combined four minutes as a last-gasp substitute against Watford, Bristol City, Norwich and Leicester. [Sofascore]

Daniel Farke has opted to play Jamie Shackleton and Archie Gray outside of their natural positions in midfield rather than use Ayling at right-back in recent weeks, in a display that the 32-year-old may no longer be a part of the boss’ long-term plans.

Gray and Shackleton have been seen to drift more into midfield when in possession, and are naturally comfortable on the ball and in possession, which Farke views as a key part of that role in his team. Ayling, meanwhile, is more defensively sound, but less possession-focused.

The return of Spence, a natural right-back whom Farke brought to the club in the summer transfer window, who is more natural in possession and from an attacking point-of-view, and could prove to be a better fit for the boss’ tactical style than Ayling is.

Ayling’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, with The Athletic [16 October] reporting it will be left to Farke to decide whether he wants to extend the defender’s deal, and if the lack of playtime and preference to use players out of position is anything to go by, he could be finished at Elland Road.

In other Leeds United news, Ben Jacobs has predicted Wilfried Gnonto’s exit decision.