This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Leeds United make the trip to League Two new-boys Salford City tonight in the first round of the League Cup, on the back of a solid start in the Championship, taking four points from their opening two fixtures.
Whites manager Marcelo Bielsa may be tempted to rotate his squad for this fixture and that may hand a debut to striker Eddie Nketiah, who joined on deadline day from Arsenal on a season-long loan.
So should Nketiah replace Patrick Bamford in the starting line-up v Salford tonight?
“I don’t think it particularly matters who replaces Bamford, but he should be rested.
“He has played the entirety of both the Whites’ matches already and could do with a rest in order to focus on the resumption of the league season next weekend.
“However, should it be Nketiah who comes in? Possibly. He was signed with a big part in mind this season. But he has also only just come into Bielsa’s system.
“I would be more tempted to give Ryan Edmondson a go from the start, with the youngster having played under Corberan’s very similar system for over a year now.”
“I think he should.
“A game such as this one feels like the perfect opportunity to start to bed Nketiah into the side.
“With it being a cup competition against lower league opposition, you feel the risk of playing an unfamiliar player such as Nketiah from the start is lessened, and this should be a good opportunity to for the Arsenal loanee to get off the mark quickly for his new side.
“This will also give Bielsa a good chance to assess his new signing in match action for the first time, without potentially promotion deciding league points at stake, as well as giving Bamford the opportunity to have a break ahead of three games in seven days next week.”
“This is a perfect opportunity for Nketiah to make his debut, as he will be able to build up match fitness in a match where there is very little pressure on him to perform.
“By comparison, resting Bamford in this game would be ideal as Leeds have a tough match away at Wigan on the weekend. Therefore, even from a squad management point of view it would be sensible to bring in Nketiah.
“Added to that, it is important the loanee gets game time to get used to Bielsa’s system and the way his teammates play, which he will only understand through minutes on the pitch. It is too much to expect him to make an impact off the bench straight away without knowing the best places to take up.
“The only downside is that Salford will be a more physical side than the Championship teams Leeds will face, and it will be a big wake up call for Nketiah who won’t have experienced a team like that, so his performance could suffer as a result.”