Leeds United head to St James’ Park on Friday with a bit of a defensive crisis on their hands.
Robin Koch is injured, Diego Llorente went off against Liverpool, and after a failed appeal, Pascal Struijk is suspended for the next three games.
Marcelo Bielsa has a big decision to make at centre-half. He could call upon one of the younger players such as Charile Cresswell to fill-in, but in our view, he’s much more likely to move Luke Ayling to centre-back – something we’ve seen on numerous occasions in the past.
So, if Ayling moves to centre-back who fills in at right-back? Well, in previous seasons the answer has either been Stuart Dallas or Jamie Shackleton, but it may finally be time to unleash Cody Drameh in that role on Friday.
Drameh is a very highly-rated young player at Leeds. Angus Kinnear has previously described him as having ‘huge potential’, while Phil Hay claims that the club see him as Ayling’s long-term successor at right-back.
We’ve seen Drameh on the bench a number of times, but he’s still yet to make his senior debut for the Whites.
However, with an injury crisis on Leeds’ hands, that could all change this weekend. Ayling is accomplished at centre-back, and if the Yorkshire club do have as much faith in Drameh as Kinnear’s comments suggest, he could be in-line to play here.
We’ve seen in the past that Marcelo Bielsa isn’t scared to throw young players in at the deep end, let’s not forget, Jamie Shackleton started a playoff semi-final as a 19-year-old after barely playing any senior football until that point, so it’s not insane to suggest that the Argentine may give Drameh a go here.
The former Fulham man has to make his debut at some point, and it seems as though the stars have aligned for him to get a chance at Newcastle.