Leeds United have been mightily unlucky with injuries this season, haven’t they?
Marcelo Bielsa has seen a number of his key players miss considerable chunks of the 2018/19 campaign and now faces a huge dilemma heading into the play-offs.
With both Barry Douglas and Ezgjan Alioski suffering season-ending injuries in April, the Argentine may look to Stuart Dallas to fill the left-back position in the Whites’ semi-final first-leg with Derby County on Saturday.
However, when you consider the Northern Ireland international’s recent performances for Leeds, this could end up being an extremely costly mistake for Bielsa to make.
Although Dallas provided an attacking threat against Ipswich last weekend which resulted in him scoring at Portman Road, he was simply terrible defensively. Constantly out of position, Dallas was directly culpable for the Tractor Boys’ second goal and had a nightmare of an afternoon up against Andre Dozzell who constantly targeted the Leeds ace.
With Derby boasting a considerable threat in wide positions from both Tom Lawrence and Harry Wilson, Bielsa could benefit from replacing Dallas with Jamie Shackleton at Pride Park.
A prodigious talent, the 19-year-old has been in outstanding form for the club’s under-23 side in recent weeks and has previous experience of playing as a full-back in the Championship this season, albeit on the right-hand side of defence.
Having impressed in three different positions for Leeds, there is no reason why Shackleton cannot provide the security needed to help his side overcome the Rams as his ability to play without fear could be extremely beneficial for Bielsa.
After placing his faith in a number of Leeds’ academy graduates this year, it would be fitting that by fielding Shackleton at the weekend, the 63-year-old ends up making the choice which leads the Whites to the Premier League at the end of the May.
What do you think Leeds fans? Should Bielsa start Shackleton at left-back against Derby on Saturday? Or would it be too much of a risk to play the 19-year-old in such a pivotal clash? Let us know below.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience