Leeds United face Sheffield United in the Championship this weekend in what is a must-win game for both sides in the battle for automatic promotion.
A victory at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon would see Marcelo Bielsa’s side extend the lead over their Yorkshire rivals to five points with just eight matches to play and see them take a massive step towards a return to the Premier League in the process.
The Whites have won their last three matches, scoring eight goals and fans can take plenty of confidence from the fact they have witnessed a number of encouraging individual performances from key players during these games.
One of those players is right-back Luke Ayling, who appears to be back to his best after suffering from a dip in form over recent weeks.
Ayling had struggled since returning from a knee injury in December, failing to replicate the impressive performances he produced in the first half of the season.
He was criticised by fans after a number of under whelming displays, including the draw at Middlesbrough and the home win over Derby which saw him concede a late penalty.
Despite the criticism from fans, Bielsa has continued to show belief in the player by including him in the starting line-up and this faith appears to be paying off.
Ayling has looked really impressive in recent weeks and has been able to cause teams problems down the right hand side, contributing three assists in his last two matches against Bristol City and Reading.
When fit, Ayling has started every game for the Whites this season and Bielsa has clearly come to see the 27-year-old as an important part of the team – this is perhaps not surprising when you consider that wing-backs are so crucial to the way he wants Leeds to play.
Ayling’s return to form will no doubt act as a massive confidence boost for the player, who appears to be back to his best at exactly the right time, ahead of a potential season-defining clash with Sheffield United at the weekend.