Ex-Leeds United player Ben Parker has singled out current defender Luke Ayling for his importance at Elland Road.
Ayling has been a mainstay in the starting XI this campaign and one of the key players under manager Marcelo Bielsa.
The 27-year-old right-back provides a great attacking threat with his overlapping runs, which has helped him provide four assists in his last four league games.
He has been under some criticism from fans for inconsistent displays this campaign, but he’s hit top form at the perfect time over the last month.
Parker has singled out the English full-back for stepping up his game at a business time of the season, as Leeds push for automatic promotion back to the top flight.
“He is a vital player for us Luke. We know what a character he is and we know how vital those players are in a changing room,” Parker told LUTV.
“Come this time of the season when the pressure is on you, he’s that type of player that lifts that pressure away and has a joke. Last few games his assists, he’s bagged one himself, his overall defending has been excellent.
“The business end of the season is when your players step up and he’s certainly stepped up.”
Leeds have seven games to get over the line for automatic promotion and avoiding the play-offs would be brilliant.
Ayling has looked much more like his old self in recent games and his performance in the win over Millwall at the weekend epitomised that.
The right-back provides a great balance of attack and defence on the flank, while teammate Ezgjan Alioski is doing a similar role on the opposite side.
Ayling needs to stay switched on for the run-in and avoid lapses in concentration, something that did hurt him earlier in the season.