Leeds United predicted XI gallery for QPR with injury doubt and midfield role demand

If QPR on Friday night turns out to be Leeds United’s penultimate game of the season then all will have gone to plan for Daniel Farke.

The Whites travel to London for the Championship’s first fixture of a huge weekend at both ends of the table, knowing they can move four points clear of Ipswich Town before the Tractor Boys kick off on Saturday. Victory at Middlesbrough on Monday night returned Leeds to winning ways and the confidence was flowing again, in an attacking sense at least. Friday’s affair will undoubtedly be somwhat cagier and QPR will not provide the same attacking threat from open play, but with so much at stake for both sides the tension will be higher than ever.

Farke has a problem or two going into the game. Monday’s exhausting encounter at the Riverside left one or two with bumps and bruises, most notably Patrick Bamford. His bruised knee makes him what Farke calls a ‘major doubt’ for Friday. The significance of the fixture and how little football there is left to play might sway the manager’s hand, if Bamford makes a case to start. If he really cannot, then Mateo Joseph and Joel Piroe are waiting in the wings to play that number 9 role. Joseph has to be considered the people’s favourite, given the clamour for him to be given greater opportunities, but Farke is yet to express his faith in the youngster in the form of regular football or starts.

Elsewhere in the side, Joe Rodon has recovered sufficiently from the calf knock he sustained on Teesside, but Daniel James will be missing through his core injury. Leeds are not yet willing to write the winger off for the rest of the season but, ideally, he will not be needed because Farke’s other wingers do such a good job at QPR and then at home to Southampton on the final day. In the midfield, Farke could turn to Glen Kamara for fresh legs, but he may well be content to stick with Ilia Gruev and Archie Gray, who was tasked with a slightly more offensive orientated role on Monday. Though he did make plenty of runs forward, Farke wanted a little more balance from the teenager, who is once again adjusting to life in the middle after playing most of the season at right-back. What the manager might like most of all from his midfield, though, is goals.

"Well, one of Archie's [Gray] big threats is that he can cover lots of distance, he can run forwards, backwards,” said Farke. “His intensity is very beneficial and he can also attack the channel and also surprisingly join the attack because he has also the ability to bring himself into dangerous positions where he can play key passes and assist or goal. We're lacking a bit this intensity in terms of also being a goal threat ourselves out of midfield positions and this is what he definitely can offer to our game. He’s still young, he's just 18 and he needs to find a good feeling for the balance. We got the feeling in the first half especially [at Boro] it was even a bit too much or he was sometimes in too advanced, in too high positions in order then to have a good structure for our build up and if you're too high in the midfield positions, then you also don't have a perfect structure in order to control the counter attack. So we also spoke about a few things already at half-time. But also after the game. I think he was important for our strength in midfield that we win many duels, that we cover lots of distance, that he also surprisingly joins attack but in terms of a feeling for the positioning sometimes also, although he's full of energy, sometimes to calm himself down and to wait for the right moment to join the attack to be a bit more patient. This will come by experience and also by game to game and again he has obviously also to adapt a bit to this midfield role again, but the good thing is he is a smart, intelligent boy and when we speak about things he already tries to bring it on the pitch in the next game. For example, second half as a team we had a slightly different setup but also his positioning in order to give us more balance in our game, was already I think much improved in comparison to the first half. And he's an important player for us, wherever he plays for us he is quite important.”

Here’s the Leeds United starting XI we can see at Loftus Road on Friday night.

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