Max Wober to make debut, Jesse Marsch to ring changes - Predicted Leeds United XI v Cardiff City
Jesse Marsch looks set to make several changes to his Leeds starting lineup when they face Cardiff in the FA Cup third-round on Sunday (8 January).
The Whites have had a busy schedule since the World Cup break ended, and claimed a 2-2 draw on Wednesday (4 January) against West Ham in the Premier League in a tough outing.
With a short break from league action to come against lower league opposition, the boss could be set to make changes to give his key players a rest ahead of a important run of fixtures in their battle against relegation.
Illan Meslier is the undisputed number one at Elland Road, but Joel Robles is likely to get the nod in the cup and should start this game between the sticks.
Luke Ayling has been battling with Rasmus Kristensen to be the first-choice right-back this season and the veteran has played well in recent outings, so should keep his spot in the side, while Junior Firpo could feature in a rare start at left-back.
That’s despite the January arrival of Max Wober from Salzburg, but the 24-year-old should still make his debut in his more natural centre-back role in order to hand Liam Cooper and Robin Koch a rest, with Diego Llorente alongside him.
In midfield there are few options for Marsch to make many changes. Mateusz Klich has made his final appearance for the club ahead of a move to MLS side DC United so he will be unavailable, while Adam Forshaw has had a procedure on his hip.
That leaves first-choice duo Marc Roca and Tyler Adam as the natural options to start, although Darko Gyabi could be available to make a rare start too.
Sam Greenwood did well in his midfield role during the winter friendlies as Marsch adopted a new formation, and he could take up that role again as the most advanced in a midfield three.
In attack Jack Harrison should return to the starting lineup after losing his place in recent games to Crysencio Summerville, while Wilfried Gnonto will look to continue his excellent form after scoring his first goal for the club against West Ham.
Patrick Bamford continues to suffer with injury, and with Rodrigo the first-choice in his absence it should be an opportunity for young Joe Gelhardt to start as the number nine.
Predicted Leeds XI v Cardiff: Robles; Ayling, Llorente, Wober, Firpo; Roca, Adams, Greenwood; Gnonto, Gelhardt, Harrison.
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