Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that without Kalvin Phillips, he expects Leeds United to lose at Wolves when they meet on Friday.
Leeds travel to Molineux looking to get back to winning ways. The Whites were beaten 4-2 at Arsenal on Sunday.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side seemed to suffer without Phillips who was injured for the game. Pascal Struijk replaced the England international. However, the youngster failed to make the same impression on the fixture.
Bielsa has confirmed that Phillips will also miss tomorrow’s clash (via Leeds Live). And Lawrenson – who made his prediction before the update on Phillips emerged – believes that his absence will be crucial in deciding the result.
“Wolves have picked up a bit in the last couple of weeks, and have started to pose more of a threat going forward,” he told BBC Sport as he predicted a 2-1 win.
“But I think the key to this one is whether Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips is back from his calf injury. They are not a one-man team in terms of how they go at you, but he is their fulcrum – they are not the same without him holding things together in the middle.
“Phillips missed last weekend’s game with Arsenal, and Leeds were over-run for long spells. Without him, I don’t think they will keep Wolves at bay.”
As Lawrenson notes, Wolves have taken seven points from their last three games. They produced superb second-half displays to beat Arsenal and Southampton.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men also came out on top when the two teams met at Elland Road in October.
On that occasion, it was a deflection off Phillips that decided the game. Leeds created more than enough chances to get something from the clash. However, they were wasteful in the 1-0 loss.
But having made several defensive mistakes at the Emirates, Leeds will surely be determined to make amends the next time they take to the pitch.