Five changes from Daniel Farke since Leeds United began this eight-match winning streak speaks volumes for the consistently high level his starters are hitting. Three of those switches were injury-enforced (Sam Byram, Daniel James, Patrick Bamford), one was Illan Meslier’s return from suspension and the other was Liam Cooper’s rotation out after a busy festive period.

The core of this team has given Farke no reason to tinker and after six days between Friday’s Leicester City showdown and Saturday’s Plymouth Argyle win, it’s hard to see why anything should be changed this time. Bamford is perhaps the one x-factor capable of elbowing his way back into the side, but Farke stopped short of declaring him available on Wednesday.

The door was left ajar for the England international, but even with miraculous progress across the final 48 hours before kick-off, it’s hard to justify risking an injury-prone player like Bamford. As Farke said himself, Friday is neither a cup final nor the last game of the season.

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There are another 12 league games Bamford can influence after Leicester’s visit. Daniel James is another player outside the team with enough credit in the bank to justify starting him, but there is no way you can leave out either Crysencio Summerville or Wilfried Gnonto on the flanks.

The Dutchman has four goals and two assists in his last four appearances, while the Italian has five goals and one assist from his last five outings. Junior Firpo and Joel Piroe are the only players in the current line-up who have raised some question marks.

However, in each case, there are no compelling replacements waiting in the wings. Sam Byram is injured, while Jamie Shackleton has not played enough recent football to justify ousting someone who is more natural at left-back than him.

Connor Roberts has played on the left in the past, but, again, Firpo has not been so bad the Wales international needs drafting in for a full debut on his weaker side of the field. With Bamford out, there are not too many strikers with the presence to match Piroe, even if Mateo Joseph is showing positive signs of progress this season.

Beren’s XI: Meslier; Gray, Rodon, Ampadu, Firpo; Gruev, Kamara; Gnonto, Rutter, Summerville; Piroe.

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