Leeds United will need to call on their key men to put in solid performances if they are to secure promotion to the Premier League through the playoffs.
Speaking to Football Insider, former England defender Danny Mills has highlighted the four players he believes will need to be at their best if the Whites are to be triumphant in the post-season.
Mills has highlighted the central spine of the team as the area which needs to step up and make an impact in these matches.
“My fear for Leeds is whether they can perform when the pressure is on,” Mills told Football Insider.
“The big players need to deliver against Derby, starting on Saturday.
“Kemar Roofe needs to have a good game. Scoring goals and converting chances has been a bit of a problem for Leeds.
“The two central defenders, Jansson and Liam Cooper, need to play well. Kalvin Phillips is key. If he gets dragged out of position, Leeds are very vulnerable.
“The full-backs and midfielders bomb on, and if Phillips is not there to protect the centre-backs, there is suddenly a huge gap to exploit, and they are outnumbered.”
The ex-Leeds player is spot on with his summary of who needs to step up.
Kalvin Phillips, in particular, has absolutely no margin for error in these games. The 23-year-old has been the most dependable player at Elland Road all season.
Derby have an incredible amount of creative talent going forward, with Frank Lampard having Mason Mount, Harry Wilson and Tom Lawrence at his disposal.
Coming up against players of that calibre represents a daunting task for any defensive midfielder in the league. If Phillips is at his very best, he should be able to cope, but he can’t afford a single slip up when he comes up against the Rams.
Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper have been a solid centre-back partnership this season, but the Swede’s tendency to make brash decisions could be costly for the Whites.
Marcelo Bielsa needs to make sure that his centre-half keeps a cool head against Derby and doesn’t make any stupid mistakes.
Kemar Roofe’s poor run has been well documented, and it’s clear to see where he needs to improve. The striker is still the club’s top scorer this season, so he is more than capable of finding the back of the net.
These four players may well have the deciding say on whether or not Leeds go up, but they will have to step up amidst the pressure of the playoffs.