Fulham v Leeds United: Phillips and Pedraza give Monk ‘food for thought’

Leeds United's Alfonso Pedraza.
Leeds United's Alfonso Pedraza.
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Ronaldo Vieira is back in contention for tonight’s meeting with Fulham after Leeds United head coach Garry Monk pulled him out of the firing line at Birmingham City.

Monk took the chance to give 18-year-old Vieira a rest by omitting him from his travelling party for Leeds’ 3-1 win at St Andrews on Friday. The talented midfielder – one of the surprise packages of United’s season – was a shock absentee after regular first-team appearances this term but he could regain his place in Monk’s squad for a crucial fixture at Craven Cottage this evening.

Kalvin Phillips celebrates with Chris Wood at Birmingham City. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Kalvin Phillips celebrates with Chris Wood at Birmingham City. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Leeds head to seventh-placed Fulham with an eight-point advantage over the side directly below the Championship play-offs and Monk is likely to make changes to his line-up after admitting that United were outplayed for large periods of their win at Birmingham. Midfielder Kalvin Phillips gave him food for thought by coming off the bench to set up Leeds’ second goal while new signing Alfonso Pedraza’s first strike for the club sealed United’s victory.

Vieira could also come into Monk’s thinking as he tries to combat a creative Fulham midfield. The Leeds boss said: “Ronny was available (for the Birmingham game) but I have to manage the group. With young lads you sometimes have to pull them back to put them back in. Ronny was one of them.

“He could have played and travelled but it’s for me to manage the group right, to do what I feel is best for them and make sure that everyone is ready for the games that come.”

Left-back Charlie Taylor, who has not played since December due to an Achilles injury, was available on Friday but also failed to earn a place in Monk’s squad. Gaetano Berardi has established himself on the left side of defence and United’s discipline is sparing Monk from any enforced changes to his backline.

Ronaldo Vieira

Ronaldo Vieira

Kyle Bartley and Luke Ayling have so far avoided their 10th bookings of the season – cautions which would earn them two-match bans – and they are two games away from reaching the Football Association’s cut-off point.

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