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Leeds: Jamie Shackleton in the mix to start against Chelsea

Leeds: Jamie Shackleton in the mix to start against Chelsea -Leeds United News

Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch is ‘considering’ starting Jamie Shackleton against Chelsea tonight, Adam Pope reports.

The Lowdown: Shackleton yet to feature under Marsch

The Whites will be without senior defender Luke Ayling for the rest of the season following his red card at Arsenal on Sunday, and they are now in the bottom three for the first time since October with just three matches remaining.

Shackleton, who was hailed as an ‘important’ player by Marcelo Bielsa, is yet to feature under Marsch but has been on the bench for five of the incumbent manager’s nine games in charge.

The 22-year-old has made 13 Premier League appearances this season, 10 of which have come at right-back, and it looks as if he could play for the first time under the American this evening.

The Latest: Pope’s team news update

Pope was present at Thorp Arch on Tuesday for Marsch’s pre-Chelsea press conference and asked Marsch directly about Shackleton possibly coming in for Ayling.

The Leeds manager admitted he was ‘considering’ bringing in the 22-year-old to replace the former Yeovil man, but also said that Raphinha and Daniel James could play in wing-back roles and didn’t rule out moving a centre-back over to occupy the right-back position.

Will Marsch keep Leeds up?

Yes, I still have faith!

Yes, I still have faith!

No, we are finished!

No, we are finished!

The Verdict: Natural fit?

Natural right-back Cody Drameh isn’t available following his loan spell at Cardiff, so it seems to make the most sense to go with Shackleton.

The Leeds academy graduate has played as a right-back and right midfielder this season and now has 78 senior appearances under his belt, so he appears to be the more natural fit for the role in a back four or five.

He established himself as a regular in September and October, starting five games in a row during the autumn, and including him from the off would also then allow Raphinha and James to play further up the pitch in their more familiar positions.

In other news: ‘Sad to report…’ – Phil Hay reacts to Leeds news as things go from bad to worse at Elland Road

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