Leeds United head to Cheshire this evening hoping to come away leaving Dennis Wise grinning like the proverbial cat. A wealth of new signings strengthen a Leeds side that was previously lacking numbers in central midfield against a club that have been floundering in the lower echelons of League One following a change of management in the summer.
A match live on Sky, a bustling Gresty Road, it’s all set for a Leeds United master class, we hope!
Leeds United manager Dennis Wise has a headache, no this isn’t revenge for what Mrs Wise said last week, it’s a selection headache.
With 4 players looking to make their Leeds United debut on Monday evening, the gaffer faces a number of difficult choices ahead of the Crewe match. Speaking to the official club website Leedsunited.com Wise said:
“It’s a good headache to have,”
“Obviously with Rui leaving to join up with Angola there’s a position for either Matty or Kents at the back. Hunty will play.
“Then there’s the left-sided position. I won’t touch too much else because the performance was good against Northampton and I was pleased.
When asked about Crewe, who have had a poor season and find themselves in 18th place, Wise is cautious about what could happen with a club who haven’t really found any sort of decent run of results:
“They’ve had some strange results this season,” said Wisey. “They play a 4-4-2, they like to pass it, and I’d be surprised if they changed their system.
“It’ll probably be another full house at Crewe. It’s a tight ground. We’ve played at a few now and we know what to expect. They’ll be looking at us as a scalp.
“They’ll want to beat us that’s for sure. They’ll probably give a bit more than usual as well because of the atmosphere and because it’s Leeds United.”
Crewe Alex changed their manager in the summer, with former boss Dario Gradi stepping aside after a massive 24 years in charge of the club. However whislt officially taking up the title of “Technical Director,” it is not seen as a managerial change as former coach Steve Holland takes up the reigns, but more of a gradual transition of power with Gradi still making a number of key decisions.
More recently it appears that Mr Holland has been given a bit more freedom at Gresty Road, and it was the former Derby trialist that spoke to the media regarding the visit of the biggest club in League One and has quite clearly done his homework, or not:
“They have managed to bring five players in so I don’t really know how they are going to line-up against us! They played very well against Northampton after losing a game, and players like Kandol didn’t play on that occasion so that just goes to show how strong they are.
“We will have to look at their team when the team-sheets comes in at around 7pm and pick the bones out of it then!”
Turning his attention to the mighty season that the Whites have been having, Holland was full of praise for Wise’s team:
“I think they are the best side in the League. They have proved it because if it wasn’t for their points deduction they would have been well clear of the rest.”
Crewe defender Daniel O’Donnell (no seriously, that IS his name!) is looking forward to the game, and looking forward to getting his face on the telly:
“Leeds have got a strong squad and it is part and parcel of them being in our League that they have good players. They have had a really good season so far, but they are not unbeatable and it has showed in the last couple of games when they’ve not done so well and lost a couple of games.
“It’s a great game to get back into action with and the fact that it is on Sky will only add to the occasion.”
Crewe Alexandra Team News:
Crewe are missing their first choice left back and former Premiership transfer target Billy Jones who is out for at least 8 weeks with a knee injury. The railwaymen’s goalkeeper, former Manchester United trainee Ben Williams is available again following his foot injury, as is Stephen Schumacher.
Player to watch: Nick Maynard
Maynard would be the one player from Crewe at the moment I’d like to see at Leeds. With our defence and midfield lobbing high balls at Beckford on a regular basis, it would be good to see a quick, skilful player (no, not Tresor) to perhaps feed off of any flick-on’s that Jermaine couldn’t take down and deal with himself.
Leeds United Team News:
Rui Marques is the obvious absentee as he quite rightly heads off for International duty with Angola, Huntington is a dead cert but his centre-back partner hasn’t been decided yet.
As mentioned previously, 4 could be set for a debut however Wise is unlikely to make massive changes to the starting Xi.
Player to watch: Paul Huntington
Big shoes to fill as he becomes the first defender on the team-sheet in place of the exceptional Rui Marques. Will he step up to the challenge?
Match Facts & Stats
The referee tonight is Mr K.Friend who last refereed Leeds as they crashed out of the JPT 2-1 at home to Bury.
Vital Leeds goes goal crazy, 3-0 in a comfortable win against a struggling side.
Leeds go on to face Donny Rovers on the 19th of January.