By Mark Smith

7th Mar, 2020 | 6:00am

Danny Cowley questions fitness of key Leeds mainstay ahead of Huddersfield clash

Huddersfield Town boss Danny Cowley has questioned the fitness of Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips.

Cowley was discussing a potential battle between Phillips and Emile Smith-Rowe in the Yorkshire derby at Elland Road.

Phillips was forced off against Reading, an injury which forced him to miss the win at Middlesbrough. He may have returned against Hull on Saturday, but many questioned if he looked at his best.

Cowley did question Phillips’ fitness, but also welcomed the test of going up against a full-strength Whites this weekend.

“It’s potentially an exciting battle if Kalvin Phillips is fit,” he told Leeds Live.

“It’s interesting. The man to man nature of Leeds system against the ball means they create quite a lot of one vs ones. We are excited about that.

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“We know Leeds want to be aggressive, so tactically we have to get it right.”

Leeds are a much better side with Phillips available. Marcelo Bielsa is forced to reshuffle dramatically in order to replace him when he is absent.

The 24-year-old makes the most tackles of any player in the Leeds squad and is a key pivot in the Whites side. Phillips completes 5.3 passes per game and his ability to switch the play is a big weapon in Bielsa’s armoury [WhoScored].

Time will tell, but we expect Phillips to start against Huddersfield, with Bielsa already admitting that his squad will be the same as the one he had to choose from against Hull.

In other Leeds United news, this LUTV pundit has predicted a key battle between two players in upcoming Yorkshire derby