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Championship

Lewie Coyle’s form at Fleetwood Town will give Leeds United hope

The right-back is in fine form and has helped Fleetwood move away from the drop zone.

Mathew Nash

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After battling for promotion to the Championship last season Fleetwood Town have found this campaign far more difficult. Most of the season they have been battling relegation and sacked Uwe Rosler in February after seven straight defeats.

Since John Sheridan arrived as the new manager the Cod Army have turned things around. They are currently 15th in League One and eight points clear of the dropzone. One of the main reasons behind their upturn in form has been the rediscovery of their defensive rigidity.

Fleetwood have not conceded in their last four outings and one player key to that success is Leeds United loanee Lewie Coyle.

Sutton United’s Ghanaian defender Kevin Amankwaah (L) vies with Leeds United’s English defender Lewie Coyle during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Sutton United and Leeds United at the Borough Sports Ground in London on January 29, 2017. / AFP / Adrian DENNIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The right-back has found some excellent form in recent weeks and fans at Highbury have been impressed with his performances of late.

Leeds fans will be pleased to hear as much, as Coyle does have the ability to become a future first-teamer at Elland Road.

Coyle made his debut for Leeds under Steve Evans back in December 2015 and has often been cited as one of the better players to emerge from the academy in recent years. He came through at the same time as players such as Charlie Taylor, Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt – all of whom have since moved on.

With Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi blocking his path to the first-team Coyle headed to Fleetwood on loan in the summer, joining former Leeds boss Rosler. It has been an excellent experience for the player. Coyle has played over 40 games this season and perhaps most importantly has managed to stay fit – after niggling injuries beset his early Leeds breakthrough.

Fleetwood Town’s English defender Lewie Coyle (L) vies with Leicester City’s English midfielder Demarai Gray during the English FA Cup third round football match between Fleetwood Town and Leicester City at Highbury Stadium in Fleetwood, north west England on January 6, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The feeling at Elland Road is obviously one of hope with Coyle. Before he headed out on loan he signed a new deal until 2020 and Leeds must, therefore, feel that Coyle has a long-term future in the game.

The development of players into the Leeds United first-team is paramount to the success at Elland Road. Coyle has recently shown just what he can do and throughout the season has been one of Fleetwood’s more consistent performers.

A future at Leeds United is more than attainable for the talented defender.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves signing Miguel Veloso would reunite him with long-time partner Joao Moutinho

The Portuguese pair formed a formidable partnership for both club and country and could potentially do similar at Wolves.

Mathew Nash

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Wolves are being linked with a move for free agent midfielder Miguel Veloso. TEAMtalk are suggesting that the newly-promoted side are looking to add the 56-cap Portugal international to their fold this week. He is a free agent having left Genoa and Everton are reportedly also keen.

It would be an interesting signing for Wolves and one which, on paper, certainly makes sense. Veloso is represented by the Jorge Mendes ran Gestifute company. He is also a player with an illustrious record, winning titles with Sporting and Dynamo Kiev.

At Sporting he was considered one of Portugal’s most promising young talents. He was not alone in that respect. He came through to the first-team picture in Lisbon at the same time as another central midfielder, one Wolves fans will know very well.

Miguel Veloso, Yannick and João Moutinho during the Under 21 Championship Play-offs between Portugal and Russia in Porto, Portugal on October 10, 2006. (Photo by CityFiles/Getty Images)

Both Veloso and Joao Moutinho came through at Sporting in 2005. The pair went on to form a formidable partnership in the heart of Sporting’s midfield for the next five years. In 2010, both men left. Veloso headed to Kiev, whilst Moutinho made a controversial switch to Porto.

Moutinho went on to establish a reputation as one of the more consistent central midfielders in Europe.

So this summer, when Wolves signed him for a bargain fee of just £5 million, it was an eye-catching piece of business.

If they could also secure Veloso, the pair might be able to rekindle some of their old magic at Molineux.

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Leeds United

Bielsa’s Engine Room: Kalvin Phillips continues to thrive in new Leeds role

The 22-year-old came through the Elland Road academy system.

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Kalvin Phillips
Photo: Getty Images

After Marco Bielsa’s Leeds United continued their impressing winning start to the season this weekend, recording a 2-1 victory over Rotherham, several players are being highlighted for praise.

Among those who deserve the majority share of the plaudits is 22-year-old Kalvin Phillips, who continues to thrive in the playing style implemented by the club’s new boss.

A player capable of keeping it simple at the base of the midfield, Phillips has proven to be astute defensively and comfortable in possession – key traits for a player to thrive in the Argentine’s system.

Against Rotherham on Saturday, he registered 112 touches, more than any other player on the pitch and a personal best for the club.

He also completed the most passes on the day (88), recorded more interceptions than anyone else (six) and created two chances, one of which went down as an assist.

Rotherham marked a third exceptional Championship performance of the season for the youngster, with his movement and distribution keeping the ball ticking over in central midfield.

The academy talent is proving himself to be a force in central midfield for the Whites, quickly establishing himself as the lynchpin of the Bielsa revolution at Elland Road.

If Phillips can maintain this level of performance he will be integral in the club’s promotion push throughout the remainder of the season.

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Aston Villa

One to Watch: Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish at his creative best vs Ipswich

The Villa youngster was exceptional again this weekend.

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Jack Grealish
Photo: Getty Images

Jack Grealish again proved why he is Aston Villa’s most important player in their attempt to gain promotion back to the Premier League with an excellent performance in Villa’s 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town on Saturday.

The 22-year-old’s wonderful display was underpinned by the 28 passes he completed in the final third – which, according to WhoScored was more than any other player had managed in a single Championship game thus far this season.

Grealish also completed five key passes in the game, bringing his season total to 11 – more than any other player in the league other than Norwich’s Ben Marshall (also 11).

Furthermore, the Englishman completed five of his six dribbles in the game.

(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

Steve Bruce spoke glowingly of Grealish this week on TalkSport.

“He’s arguably the best young player I’ve had in terms of ability. He can do something where he can lift you off your seat, he’s such a natural footballer and of course he’s grown up a bit,” the Aston Villa manager said.

“For me, he’s going to be a top, top player.”

It is hard not to agree with Bruce. Not only does it appear as though Grealish has matured greatly in the last 12 months, his performances since the turn of the year have been astounding – he has arguably been the division’s best player in that period.

His constant menacing against Ipswich was no different – he has started this season brightly.

He has now been offered a new contract by Villa, according to BBC Sport, and looks set to stay with the club for short-term after a move to Tottenham Hotspur broke down this summer.

If he can manage to help guide Villa to the Premier League, he may be there for the long-term.

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