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Talking Points: Pablo Hernandez, Caleb Ekuban and Leeds United’s push for the play-offs

LEADING THE LINE: Leeds United's Caleb Ekuban, left, pictured challenging Aston Villa's Neil Taylor. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
LEADING THE LINE: Leeds United's Caleb Ekuban, left, pictured challenging Aston Villa's Neil Taylor. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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AFTER seeing Leeds United draw 1-1 with Championship visitors Aston Villa, the YEP’s Lee Sobot looks at few key talking points from Friday night’s clash under the Elland Road lights.

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OVER YOU GO: Leeds United's Kemar Roofe is brought down by Aston Villa's Alan Hutton.' Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

OVER YOU GO: Leeds United's Kemar Roofe is brought down by Aston Villa's Alan Hutton.' Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Pablo Hernandez’s injury

Hernandez was causing Villa all sorts of problems on the left wing and the Spaniard’s loss to injury in the 42nd minute proved a definite blow for the Whites who were less effective in the second half.

Hernandez has been in fine form of late but the 32-year-old looked to be holding his hamstring shortly before being substituted for Kemar Roofe.

Whites head coach Thomas Christiansen said after the game that the Spaniard’s injury was not serious and that he was hopeful of having all of his injured players back for next Saturday’s trip to QPR which means Stuart Dallas and Pierre-Michel Lasogga too.

UP FOR IT: Leeds 'United's Jay-Roy Grot battles with Aston Villa's Alan Hutton.' Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

UP FOR IT: Leeds 'United's Jay-Roy Grot battles with Aston Villa's Alan Hutton.' Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The sooner all three are fully fit the better.

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Is Caleb Ekuban THE first-choice striker?

Summer recruit Ekuban impressed with his display upon being handed his second Whites league start for last Saturday’s 2-0 win at Barnsley and the 22-year-old again looked good against Villa.

Lasogga missed the clash through his leg injury but Ekuban is evidently currently ahead of Roofe in the pecking order for the lone striker role.

There is also a strong argument to suggest that even when Lasogga returns, the pacy and full-of-beans Ekuban should still be given the nod upfront, assuming Christiansen sticks to the 4-2-3-1 system which seems pretty nailed on.

It will be fascinating to see how Christiansen plays it when Lasogga is back fit and if indeed that is for next Saturday’s trip to Loftus Road.

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Can Leeds get in the play-off positions over the next six games?

The fact there are no easy games in the ultra-competitive Championship is well documented but five of United’s next six fixtures come against teams in the bottom ten as the table stood on Friday evening.

Nottingham Forest - tenth after Friday night - are the exception.

Despite picking up a point against high-flying Villa, United could fall five points off the top six over the course of the weekend but the next half dozen games definitely give the Whites a sound opportunity to claw back the gap.

It’s not quite crunch time but there is no denying that December and the Festive period as a whole presents an important time for Leeds who will want to be at worst within very close touching distance of the top six at the turn of the year.

QPR (a), Norwich City (h), Hull City (h), Burton Albion (a), Birmingham City (a) and Nottingham Forest (h) are the club’s next six games.