FRESH from witnessing Saturday’s 2-2 draw at The KC Stadium, Lee Sobot looks at five things we learned from Leeds United’s 2-2 draw with Hull City.
Jordan Botaka could have a big future at Leeds
Things have looked pretty grim for Botaka in recent months with the winger either making fleeting short appearances as a late substitute or isolated from the first team squad altogether. Outings for the under-21s were becoming commonplace. But Botaka has evidently shown head coach Steve Evans a brilliant attitude in training and he has impressed in his two outings as a substitute in United’s last two games. The winger was unlucky to hit the crossbar against Wolves and then set up the equaliser for Stuart Dallas at Hull. Evans admitted afterwards that Botaka is close to starting and rightly so.
The players want Steve Evans’ future sorted now
Head coach Evans is no clearer about his future with just two games to go, with the Glaswegian saying his situation will be discussed with chairman Massimo Cellino, when Cellino “is ready.”
But it’s quite obvious that Evans deserves a crack at getting Leeds promoted and it was interesting to hear Botaka saying afterwards that the players quite rightly want to know who will be in charge next season. The sooner Cellino makes his plans known the better and keeping on Evans is the clear logical choice.
Gaetano Berardi’s season looks over
Let’s hope not but things didn’t look good for Berardi when he was stretchered off following a tackle from Jake Livermore with 14 minutes to go. Worryingly, Evans revealed that the full back had injured the same ankle that he injured at Charlton, which then kept him out for nearly three months. The Swiss ace is due to have scans over the weekend. In the meantime, Lewie Coyle will prove a more than able deputy.
Giuseppe Bellusci has slipped down the pecking order
Bellusci failed to make the United 18 on Saturday and not because of injury. Evans instead opted to field Scott Wootton as his spare centre-back on the bench and revealed that Wootton was picked ahead of the Italian “on merit” and had impressed more in training. It will be interesting to see if Bellusci can impress in training next week and win some sort of place back for next Saturday’s home clash with Charlton.
United look booked for a top-half finish
Leeds dropped to 12th after Saturday’s draw but the Whites are still one point clear of 13th-placed QPR with two games to go, albeit the Hoops have a much better goal difference. United also have a considerably kinder last two games - at home to relegated Charlton and away at Preston who are 11th and only ahead of Leeds on goal difference. QPR go to promotion chasing Burnley next and end the season at home to Bristol City.
With 14th-placed Wolves another three points behind QPR, it’s no surprise that Leeds are now 1-4 with the bookies to finish in the top half.