Leeds boss Steve Evans explains why he benched Sam Byram and Jordan Botaka tonight

Steve Evans has left Sam Byram and Jordan Botaka out of the Leeds starting XI tonight.

Steve Evans has told LUTV that he has left Sam Byram and Jordan Botaka on the bench for Leeds United's game against Cardiff City tonight.

Evans is searching for a first win as Leeds boss having been appointed two weeks ago, and he has opened with two draws and a defeat.

Thursday night's 2-0 loss to Blackburn Rovers means Leeds need a big response tonight, with no win at Elland Road in eight months - and now they have another chance to end that curse against Cardiff City tonight.

Evans has named his team, and he has notably left Sam Byram and Jordan Botaka on the bench for tonight's game, with fans left wondering why.

Byram started against Blackburn at right back, whilst summer signing Botaka came on as a second half substitute as Leeds attempted to get back in to the game.

Tonight though, they are both left out - and Evans has told LUTV that their absences from the team are down to fitness concerns, with Byram 'not quite 100%' according to the Scot, whilst winger Botaka is still working his way back to fitness following a virus.

"I've left young Sam Byram and young Jordan Botaka to the bench," said Evans. "Sam, I'm just not sure he's 100% right, he was looking tight at the back end of the game last Thursday. I've watched him train, I'm not quite sure he's 100%."

"And Jordan has had that illness, that virus, and I know he came on played 25 minutes to half an hour, but when you break that down, and you break training down, I'm not so sure the results are telling us by the eye that his energy levels are back where they should be. They're not, in any stretch, far away and are capable of playing a part, but not starting in the heat of the battle," he added.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch