during the PL2 match between Manchester City U23 and Leeds United U23 at the Manchester City Academy Stadium, Manchester, England on 29 November 2021.

After beating Palace in midweek, we’ve got another great opportunity coming up on Sunday now.

A month or so ago, Brentford at Elland Road wouldn’t have looked as inviting. They’d started the season well and we were struggling, but things change and we go into Sunday’s game with only one defeat in our last five games.

We’ve had two wins and two draws in that run and depending on other results, we could even leap above Brentford in the table and go as high 11th if we win. It’s very tight just below mid-table at the moment and it’s amazing what a few good results can do.

Leeds will definitely be feeling more confident about themselves now. The 94th minute winner in midweek will have felt like a winning a cup at the time, and Marcelo’s team are showing they are capable of grinding out results now.

I think the Brighton game was one where we could take real positives from too. In terms of chances, we took a battering in the first half, but not only did we hold out, we came out in the second half, took the game to them, and could have won it ourselves.

Brentford had a good win against Everton last weekend and picked up a draw at Newcastle the other week, but they’ve also lost to both Norwich and Burnley recently which shows where their at. They had a couple of good away wins earlier in the season at Wolves and West Ham, but the momentum they came up with has definitely slowed.

Ivan Toney is a key man for them because he has four goals already this season and he has an ability to conjure something from nothing. He’s always been prolific and he’s a tricky customer for defences to deal with because he’s a big lad but is good with a feet.

It could be that we have our own number nine back tomorrow, though, with Patrick Bamford expected to be in the squad. As we’ve said many times, we’ve missed the focal point that he offers, the hard work he does off the ball, and of course his goals.

It would be unfair to pin too much on him in terms of goals – last season was exceptional – but his presence will definitely boost the team and he gives us something we haven’t got without him – an orthodox number nine.

Luke Ayling is also likely to be available tomorrow and he brings some more valuable experience back to the ranks. The returning players couldn’t have come at a better time with some tough games coming up, but hopefully we can go into that spell on the back of another three points at Elland Road.

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