Championship leaders Leeds travel to Loftus Road to face QPR in the FA Cup 3rd round on Sunday and it will present a huge chance for the thus far disappointing Lewis Baker to prove that, as Marcelo Bielsa says, it is not absolutely necessary to dip into the market to replace Samu Saiz.
After the departure of the unsettled Saiz on loan to Getafe, there appears to be a lack of depth in the attacking midfield role within the Whites’ ranks however boss Bielsa seems to believe that there is no urgency to replace the Spaniard as he opts to show faith in the likes of Jack Clarke to step up, instead.
Baker has been poor when afforded chances in the team so far this season and, should he produce another sub-standard performance against the Hoops this weekend, Bielsa must surely consider some January spending despite his preference to work with what he’s got.
Aside from the opportunity to progress further in the competition, the Peacocks’ FA Cup clash with Steve McClaren’s QPR is a must-take chance for Baker to both turn his season around prove his boss spot on.
The 23-year-old has failed to net this campaign, with his only goal contribution an assist in the EFL Cup, but this may be his biggest opportunity to date to stake his claim on the starting XI against Championship level opposition, minus the pressures of playing in the league.
Topping the table by just two points with Norwich City hot on their heels, Leeds cannot afford any slip ups if they are to secure the title and promotion to the Premier League – time is of the essence as owner Andrea Radrizzani has stated he will sell the club if top flight football cannot be earned in the next few years.
The pressure to perform could well have been holding Baker back until now but we could see a different player if he can use this next game as a platform to demonstrate what he is really capable of and thus show that, indeed, there is no urgency to sign a new attacking midfielder for Bielsa and co.
What do you think, Leeds fans? Can Lewis Baker make the step up or do the club need to splash the cash this transfer window to replace Saiz, instead? Let us know by voting in the poll below…