Spotlight on Gjanni Alioski as North Macedonian enhances claims for Leeds United start
LEEDS UNITED'S Gjanni Alioski again came off the bench to bag a third assist of the season against Luton Town and now looks poised to start against Blackburn Rovers.
For the third game running, United's North Macedonian international was again one of the first players called upon by Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa following the very early tactical reshuffle caused by the injury to skipper and centre-back Liam Cooper.
Bielsa then looked to the most natural replacement on the Whites bench in the shape of Gaetano Berardi to partner Ben White at the heart of the Whites defence but Berardi lasted just 33 minutes with the former Swiss international withdrawn for Alioski at half-time.
That meant a switch to a back three of White, Kalvin Philips and Luke Ayling with Alioski filling a left wing back role and ultimately supplying the precise pass for Stuart Dallas' 63rd-minute leveller following Harry Cornick's opening goal for Luton.
Alioski had an impressive game on the figures with 4.2 per cent of the game's possession despite only playing one half.
The wing back had 43 touches of the ball and attempted 28 passes of which 27 were accurate for a passing success rate of 96 per cent.
Goalkeeper Illan Meslier aside, only Latics winger Callum McManaman fared better in that department with 100 per cent passing accuracy.
Alioski, though, also weighed in with five key passes - passes that set up a chance - two more than next best Helder Costa and Kalvin Phillips - and Alioski also fired in three shots at goal with one off target, one on target and one blocked.
Patrick Bamford, Tyler Roberts and Costa all also had three shots each with Dallas top of the pops with four.
Dallas also excelled against the Hatters but ended the game injured and the Northern Ireland international to be taken off for Jamie Shackleton in the 89th minute.
Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa said afterwards that Dallas had felt a problem in the glutes and that he did not think the 29-year-old would play United's next game at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
Dallas had started the game at left back before moving into midfield as part of the tactical reshuffle.
Step forward Alioski, who now looks destined to earn his first start since the 2-0 loss at Nottingham Forest on February 8 after a fine performance against Luton.
The display would likely have had him pushing for a start even without United suffering injuries with the North Macedonian's defensive game also good in being successful with two out of three tackles and dispossessed only once.