Incomers sparkle more than diamond for Leeds

NEIL REDFEARN admits he has been handed a welcome selection headache ahead of Leeds United’s Roses trip to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
BUOYANT: Leeds United's head coach Neil Redfearn.BUOYANT: Leeds United's head coach Neil Redfearn.
BUOYANT: Leeds United's head coach Neil Redfearn.

The United head coach made seven changes for Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie at Premier League side Sunderland and while it could not instigate an end to the club’s winless streak, a positive second-half display provided him with some food for thought.

The likes of Casper Sloth and Luke Murphy came in from the cold to be handed rare starts, while youngsters Brian Montenegro, Dario del Fabro and Charlie Taylor also lined up from the off and all did their causes no harm, despite the 1-0 loss.

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Redfearn, whose United side are without a win in six matches, said: “The players who have been out of the side have got to think about playing well to stay in or get in. I have a good headache for the weekend.

“The good thing is that we have had players come in who have performed really well, who have been out of the picture, and it adds to competition.”

Alongside a raft of personnel changes, Redfearn ditched the diamond system in favour of a 4-2-3-1 formation where the emphasis was on increased width.

For the United head coach, it is a case of diamonds not being forever after his tactical tinkering led to an improved performance.

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He said: “Maybe the overriding thing is that we have now got an option where we can play with width.

“I thought Casper Sloth was really good. He played in that position against Huddersfield and did really well.

“For whatever reason, he has been out of the picture. But he has taken his chance and it is all about players taking their chance who come in.

“Some of these lads have had their noses pushed out of joint for a while. But we’ve been right with them, and they have trained hard and I said to them that it (Sunday) was an opportunity to play well. I thought they did.

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“We had a little bit of a renaissance with the diamond and got some results. But then it has needed some help and some players coming in. If players coming in and a change of faces is the ‘change’, then so be it.

“Sometimes, you have to freshen things up during the course of a season. Things got us so far and had a shelf life.”