Leeds United’s topsy-turvy season continues on Friday night, weather permitting, with a clash against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.
The tie will see former Boro man Adam Forshaw go up against his former employers. The 26-year-old was brought in by Leeds to strengthen an area which has been a primary concern this season.
Eunan O’Kane has had a poor campaign by his standards. Kalvin Phillips is currently too inconsistent to command a starting position for Leeds. Ronaldo Vieira has had a tough season, complicated by a tendonitis issue.
The centre of the park has been a major issue for Leeds this season.
So perhaps bringing in some fresh blood could be the answer for Paul Heckingbottom?
The player in question is 18-year-old central midfielder Callum Nicell, who could have a bright career ahead of himself at Leeds.
Fans of Leeds who follow their development and under-18 side will already be familiar with Nicell. The teenager is standing out as a potential first-teamer in the making. Leeds have a fine recent history for producing quality central midfielders. Nicell could certainly be the next name off the production line.
Garry Monk was a fan, having him travel and participating in a warm-up or two with the first-team whilst Leeds boss. It is easy to see why. The Republic of Ireland youth international has all the attributes to thrive in professional football.
Adept with both feet, Nicell has shown an ability to control a game from midfield. He is also not afraid to make late runs into the box, making him a goal threat as well.
Last season Nicell won the academy player of the year and has been captain of the under-18s. Leeds clearly think a lot of the talented Irishman, which was made evident by him joining in first-team training last month.
Throwing Nicell into first-team action with the play-offs still a target is perhaps not wise. However, if Leeds feint promotion hopes dwindle further Heckingbottom must consider giving the teenager a first-team debut this season.
Given the talent Nicell has demonstrated so far at Leeds, it could be the precursor to a breakout 2018-19 campaign.