There are very sporting events that can compete with the drama and expectation that the play-offs bring year-in, year-out.
Since the format was introduced to English football in 1987, it has produced some of the greatest moments in modern history. However, Leeds United’s relationship with the knock-out competition has been utterly miserable as they have lost in all four of their previous appearances with three of their defeats occurring in the final.
In order to secure promotion to the Premier League in May, the Whites must bring a halt to this particular record yet their fate could be decided before they start their play-off campaign.
Having picked up just one point from an available nine, Marcelo Bielsa’s side are in danger of entering the most important stage of their season without any momentum whatsoever.
Although this poor run of form may see the Argentine decide to make a number of alterations to his starting eleven for Sunday’s clash against Ipswich Town, it could be more beneficial if he instead selects his best possible team.
With the Tractor Boys consigned to finishing bottom of the Championship this year, a convincing victory for Leeds may see them enter the play-offs with the confidence needed to overcome the challenges that the likes of Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion will pose.
However, if Bielsa goes against expectations and decides to experiment at Portman Road, he may risk a costly defeat that could culminate in yet even more heartbreak for Whites supporters after witnessing their side falter in the race for automatic promotion in recent weeks.
After what has been an immensely positive year for the West Yorkshire outfit, now is the time for the players to prove that they have what it takes to prevail as by squandering this golden opportunity, they could be throwing away their best chance in a generation of securing a return to the Premier League.
What do you think Whites fans? Should Bielsa field a strong side against Ipswich on Sunday? Or is it important that he rests some of the first team players ahead of the play-offs? Get in touch below.
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