By David Woods

9th Jul, 2020 | 4:01pm

Douglas on bench as Bielsa names strong Leeds United starting XI v Stoke

Marcelo Bielsa has announced his Leeds United starting XI for the huge clash with Stoke at Elland Road, that kicks off at 5pm.

As expected, both Stuart Dallas and Helder Costa come straight back into the side, despite the excellent performance from Barry Douglas at left-back.

Plenty of fans thought he’d done enough to keep his place but Bielsa knows his preferred starting XI and he’s reverted to that today.

The team news was announced on the official Leeds Twitter account ahead of the late afternoon kick-off.

It’s harsh on Douglas, but with him, Gjanni Alioksi, Ian Poveda and Pablo Hernandez all among the subs, it’s the strongest bench we’ve seen in a long time.

There’s no fans to appreciate it but the Crowdies will be out in force again today and fans across the UK will all be glued to Sky Sports.

Pubs are open so that gives fans the chance to get a bit of the big-match atmosphere – and this has become a bigger game after results went against us this week.

The players know what they have to do, though – a win will see Leeds back at the top of the table with a six-point gap back to third.

With just five games left, while that’s not an unassailable lead, it would put Leeds in a really strong position ahead of the trip to play Swansea on Sunday.

In other Leeds United news, ‘Kick in the stomach’, ‘Sickener’ – Many Leeds fans react to latest Championship promotion twist