Roles reversed in Leeds United’s trip to Derby

Stuart Dallas (left), who was injured while on international duty with Northern Ireland.
Stuart Dallas (left), who was injured while on international duty with Northern Ireland.

After going into the international break in good form Leeds United boss Garry Monk now has to make sure his team comes out of it in equally positive fashion with another six games ahead in the next three weeks.

Monk will know the importance of making sure the players guard against any complacency as fortunes can change quickly in the EFL Championship as the Whites have already shown this season.

With games set to come thick and fast again it does not take much to blow a team off course, but after five wins in their last six games United look to be heading in the right direction and equal success in the next batch of games could lift them into the play-off places and possibly put them within two wins of a place in a Wembley cup final.

The first of those matches sees Leeds travel to Derby County this Saturday with roles reversed to recent years when the Rams have been flying high near the top of the table and United have found themselves flirting with relegation.

Now it is Derby who have the greater need for points to get away from the drop zone as they find themselves in 20th position, nine places below Leeds, and it is they who have had a quick change of manager following the departure of Nigel Pearson.

Steve McClaren has today been appointed, returning to a club where he began his previous spell as manager with a 3-1 win over Leeds in 2013.

He will be looking for the same success, but the Rams are still to win at home in the league this season and they will be up against a United side that appears to have found a successful formation with the 4-2-3-1 being employed by the head coach.

Monk was hoping his four players on international duty - Stuart Dallas, Pontus Jansson, Eunan O’Kane and Chris Wood - would return fully fit and focussed again on their Leeds duties.

But Dallas is a doubt for the trip to Pride Park after suffering a calf strain on international duty with Northern Ireland.

Dallas was sent home early ahead of the World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Germany last night and Leeds are assessing his fitness.

It will be a blow to Monk if the wide man is ruled out as he has named an unchanged line-up for the last three games and would like to stick to it at Derby.