Date: 10th August 2018 at 8:39am
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OPINION

Leeds United are expected to make only minor tweaks to their starting XI for tomorrow’s Championship clash against Derby County.

So effective and clinical was the performance in the 3-1 win against big-spending Stoke City in last Sunday’s opener that Marcelo Bielsa is almost certain to stick with those who carried out his instructions to the letter.

One likely change for the 5.30pm kick-off is for Pontus Jansson to return to the centre of defence ahead of Gaetano Berardi, who partnered skipper Liam Cooper against the Potters.

Cooper had an outstanding match and Berardi, 29, performed with typical diligence but the full-back’s lack of experience of the centre-back position nearly provided Stoke with some openings.

Jansson was omitted after returning late to pre-season training following his exertions with World Cup quarter-finalists Sweden, but he is Leeds’ outstanding defender and will take his place at the back if Bielsa is convinced he is fit and ready to go.

Elsewhere, the team virtually picks itself. Bailey Peacock-Farrell is likely to get the nod ahead of Chelsea loanee Jamal Blackman, while Mateusz Klich and Kalvin Phillips are set to be paired once again as the central midfield rottweilers.

The attacking midfield trio of Samuel Saiz, Pablo Hernandez and Ezgjan Alioski also impressed against Stoke and are set to start once again.

Perhaps the biggest decision for Bielsa is the identity of the centre-forward.

Patrick Bamford was signed for an initial £7million from Middlesbrough during the summer window, but was overlooked in favour of Kemar Roofe last weekend.

The versatile former Oxford United player responded with an outstanding performance and is likely to have done enough to earn selection at Derby.

TEAM: Peacock-Farrell; Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Douglas; Klich, Phillips; Hernandez, Saiz, Alioski; Roofe.