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Sunday, 5th August 2018 Kick-off 16:30
Hockaday to make changes for Accrington tie
Tuesday, 12th Aug 2014 17:53 by Tim Whelan

Our esteemed ‘head coach’ has hinted that he is likely to rest several players as we begin our League Cup tie at home to Accrington Stanley, but promises that the team he puts out should still be good enough to win the game. We hope.

David Hockaday to the YEP “Whatever team we put out, we’ll be looking to win,” said United’s head coach. Having said that, we’ve got a league game on Saturday and we have key players that we have to be careful with. I will be picking a team that I believe will be good enough to win the game but obviously we have got a long season ahead of us so I’m not going to be killing people.”

I’m glad the Hock hasn’t got murder on his mind, but the BBC are suggesting that Sam Byram is likely to miss the game “amid rumours of an imminent transfer out of Elland Road.” If Byram is one of those to be rested it will be difficult to know how much to read into his absence, as we do have Gaetano Berardi in the squad as a ready-made replacement at right back, and the Hock might want to give Berardi a game after spent the Millwall game on the bench.

Zan Benedicic and Tommaso Bianchi could also make their debuts tonight, and we can look forward to Bianchi’s performance in particular. The attacking midfield player looked the best of all the signings during the pre-season friendlies, and was sorely missed at Millwall as he served a one match ban carried over from last season. And Morison could grace the Elland Road turf if he recovers from his calf strain in time.

This is only the second time the two clubs have met, and Leeds won the only previous meeting 2-0, a game in the 2009/10 Johnstone Paint Trophy. But more recently Accrington won 2-1 at Middlesbrough in the League Cup last season, and although that was probably against a second string Boro side, that result shows that we he can’t take them lightly tonight.

Hockaday said “Accrington work very hard. They’ve got good energy, they’ve got a goal threat and they didn’t get off to a good start either so they will be smarting from that. It will still be a really difficult game.”

And Accrington manager James Beattie told the Lancashire Telegraph his side are well up for it. “We were disappointed not to win the opening game of the season but what an opportunity this is to go to Elland Road, a magnificent stadium. The lads can play their football and try to put a wrong right. We’ll go there not with the intention to make the numbers up, but to progress in the cup.”

And Beattie suggested he had a bit of inside knowledge about what is going on behind the scenes at Elland Road. “There’s loads going on there, I know somebody who is dealing with the chairman on a daily basis and they say he’s all right, but then you hear so many stories that maybe contradict that.” Which sounds a bit ominous, but it might just be that he’s been talking to his former colleague Paddy Kenny, who has of course bee ousted by Massimo Cellino.

Stanley will be pretty much at full strength, as you would expect in a big game for then, but one change is likely as 19-year-old striker James Alabi is expected to make his first start after joining on loan from Stoke.

In order to boost the attendance there are a couple of offers tonight, with season ticket holders paying only £5 and kids getting in for only £1. There is plenty of scope for embarrassment, and after Saturday’s result Hockaday badly needs a win to convince the sceptical Leeds public of his abilities. I reckon he’ll get it, but Leeds will just scrape through by a single goal.

Photo: Action Images

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