By Daniel Feliciano

20th Dec, 2022 | 7:40am

Diego Llorente and Robin Koch unlikely to play for Leeds United v Monaco, Luke Ayling could play at centre-back

Diego Llorente and Robin Koch are unlikely to feature for Leeds United in their final mid-season friendly against Monaco, with Luke Ayling to deputise at centre-back.

The Whites host the Ligue 1 side at Elland Road on Wednesday night (December 21) but manager Jesse Marsch is set to be without several first-team defenders as they look to recover from injury ahead of the clash with Manchester City next week.

And according to Leeds-Live (20 December), that will give fan favourite Ayling a chance to impress in a centre-back role with all of Llorente, Koch and Junior Firpo potentially missing the game.

“It feels unlikely either Koch or Llorente will be fit to face Monaco and while Pascal Struijk and Liam Cooper are both available, the former may also have to fill in at left back depending on Junior Firpo’s availability,” they wrote.

Ayling has so far played 90 minutes in both friendlies during the World Cup break, featuring at centre-back for much of that time.

Chance

Leeds need all the versatility and options they can muster up in defence right now, with injuries and form playing a factor in how the rest of their season will go.

Llorente’s form has been up and down this season, but Koch will be a big loss at centre-back as one of the team’s better performances throughout the campaign, essentially asserting himself as Marsch’s first-choice defender.

Liam Cooper will be hoping to claim his starting spot via performances here and with Pascal Struijk making the left-back spot his own, that gives Ayling a chance to get back into the team.

He’s barely played in the Premier League after injury and losing his spot to Rasmus Kristensen, but his passion, heart, pace and energy has been missed at times and getting him into the side again can surely only be a good thing.

A good performance and sharper showing is imperative ahead of the game with Manchester City on December 28 and if Ayling can have a good individual performance then he’ll do his chances of starting no harm whatsoever.

In other Leeds news, Willy Gnonto shares who convinced him to pick Leeds over other options