Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday go head-to-head in the Championship this evening in a Yorkshire derby which promises to be an enthralling clash between two sides who should fancy their chances of clinching promotion this season.
The Marcelo Bielsa revolution is well underway at Elland Road and the early signs suggest the Argentine has the managerial tools to lead the Whites to promotion.
Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday have started the season with enough promise to convince supporters that they will be in the mix for a playoff place in May, but their inability to keep clean sheets has proven problematic thus far.
Both clubs dipped into the Premier League to secure loan deals this summer as Leeds welcomed Lewis Baker – among a handful of other top-flight players – and Sheffield Wednesday signed Josh Onomah, despite the fact he endured a tough time with Aston Villa last season.
Neither Baker or Onomah have managed to break into the first-team just yet, and with their respective clubs set to face each other this evening it’s an apt opportunity to assess their credentials and establish which club have completed the best deal.
The performances of both Kavlin Phillips and Mateusz Klich in Leeds’ midfield have rendered Baker as nothing more than a backup player so far this season, but the quality he has shown off the bench suggests he will become a key player as the season develops.
Bielsa has already been forced to accept that injuries will disrupt his season with Kemar Roofe, Patrick Bamford and Pablo Hernandez all suffering problems in recent weeks, and their early setbacks are indicative of what lies ahead.
Baker will inevitably get his chance and if he brings the full extent of his technical ability to the table then it won’t take long for him to endear himself to the Leeds supporters.
With a wide range of passing, tenacious work-rate and forward-thinking dynamism at the heart of his game, Baker is a huge talent simply waiting to be unleashed.
TT grade: A-
Josh Onomah was part of the Aston Villa squad which reached the playoff final last season, but the fact he was left on the substitutes bench for both legs of the semi-final speaks volumes about his lack of importance to the club.
The 21-year-old midfielder showcased his potential at Villa in sporadic bursts, but he only managed to score 4 goals and provide 3 assists from 33 Championship appearances – a fact which suggests he is lacking a clinical edge at this level.
He has another opportunity to prove himself this season during his loan spell with the Owls and it’s vital that he improves on his record from last season if he wishes to maintain any slim hope of making it in the top-flight.
TT grade: B
Baker may not have made his mark at Elland Road just yet but as the season develops he will be given a chance to prove himself.
The season is long and arduous for Championship clubs with two-game weeks a regular occurrence, and Baker is a terrific squad option to have to cope with the physical demands of a 46-fixture season.
Onomah is perhaps the more exciting of the two talents in terms of his ability to influence proceedings in the final-third, but Baker will have the biggest overall impact this season.
Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday fans – thoughts? Let us know below!
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