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Who from Leeds' U21s can make a first team impression this season?

Leeds United East Stand

Neil Redfearn has spoken of a number of players being ready to taste some first team action before the end of the season, so who is next in line?

Absent from Tuesday's U21 Development Squad fixture away at Crystal Palace were Kalvin Philips, Lewis Walters and Chris Dawson, suggesting all three could see some first team action soon.

Redfearn spoke this week in the Yorkshire Evening Post of possibly blooding some of the players he knows all about as ex-Academy boss, with Leeds' season heading towards a comfortable mid-table finish in the Sky Bet Championship. Redfearn did warn, however, that Leeds still had plenty to play for: "We’ll maybe experiment and try one or two things. We’ve got one or two young players. There are a couple of players I’d like to see before the end of the season. There might be a point where we change it around a little bit. But if it’s not broke and you’re playing well, you don’t fix it.

“I’ve got a good idea of what the players here are about. But sometimes you need to experiment just to see how they actually look in the heat of battle."

Dawson has tasted first team action before, making a league debut as long ago as April 2013, but injury and the emergence of other young players has nudged him down the pecking order. Dawson is also the victim of having a natural position in central midfield that Leeds are particularly blessed in at present.

The same could be said for Kalvin Philips, another attacking midfielder, although a series of spectacular goals and impressive performances for the Development Squad have ensured that Redfearn can ignore his claims no longer. Philips was named on the bench for Saturday's goalless draw with Nottingham Forest, but did not make an appearance.

Leeds' needs could perhaps be best served by giving Lewis Walters a sniff of first team action. Walters has the pace and direct threat to be a useful asset in the wide attacking positions that Leeds adopt in their 4-2-3-1 formation, and it seems inevitable that Walters will see some action there before the season is out.

In defence, Leeds have Louie Coyle in reserve who has put together a string of impressive performances at right-back. Former Manchester United youngster Scott Wootton has excelled in the right-back spot since Sam Byram was promoted to a more attacking role in the New Year, but Wootton is not a natural full-back, and Coyle could prove to be very useful cover in that position.

The most likely player to be promoted from Monday's U21 line-up is the over-age player Granddi Ngoyi. Leeds signed the 26-year-old Frenchmen on a half-season loan from Palermo, but he aggravated an injury as soon as he signed - having allegedly not undertaken a medical prior to signing - and has yet to make a first team appearance. Redfearn's comments allude to him being impressed by the defensive midfielder in training and keen to see what he can add to the team.

Sol Bamba was signed from the same club in January and has been a key figure in turning Leeds' season around. If Ngoyi is of the same calibre then Leeds need to take a good look at him, and fast. With the youngsters named above contracted to the club beyond this season, it may be that Ngoyi jumps the queue ahead of some of them and sees some first team action sooner rather than later.

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