An injury-hit Leeds side fell to their first Championship defeat of the season on Saturday, but the performance of Stuart Dallas should have fans feeling optimistic about their squad depth.
Leeds fans were mortified by their lack of depth when an injury crisis struck during the international break, as Marcelo Bielsa has now been forced to cope without several first team players.
Kemar Roofe is out after taking a knock in training, Patrick Bamford has suffered a long-term knee injury, and Gaetano Berardi is still out with the injury he suffered against Middlesbrough.
Dallas’ return has come at just the right time though, and the 27 year-old did more in his 60 minutes on Saturday than most of the players did in 90.
The 32-cap Northern Ireland international replaced Kalvin Phillips after just 33 minutes, and his tireless work rate and versatility could prove vital during the tough winter stretch.
Dallas took three shots, two of which were on target, and also whipped in three dangerous crosses.
The midfielder has often divided fans as he lacks the end product to match his work rate, but he made three key passes during the 2-1 defeat, more than every other player on the pitch except Ezgjan Alioski, who made four.
He also pitched in on the defensive end with two tackles, and Bielsa should reward his efforts with a start against Sheffield Wednesday on Friday.
Dallas wasn’t perfect by any means, but Bielsa must rotate his squad to stop the worrying injury list getting any longer, and the 27 year-old’s experience and passion will prove vital as the games come thick and fast over the next few months.
So, Leeds fans, what did you think of Dallas’ performance against Birmingham? Should he start vs Sheffield Wednesday? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below…