HEAD coach Neil Redfearn has revealed his ideal formation for Leeds United would be 4-4-2.
The Elland Road club head to the capital today to take on Charlton Athletic on the back of four straight defeats.
It is a run that has taken the shine off what had otherwise been a hugely encouraging second half of the season, albeit one that is perhaps understandable amid the turmoil caused by the shock decision to remove Redfearn’s assistant, Steve Thompson, from his post just before Easter.
Before that as yet unexplained development, United had taken 29 points from 15 games – a return that, if extended across an entire season, would have a very good chance of clinching an automatic promotion place.
Leeds have favoured a 4-2-3-1 set-up since the turn of the year, while the first half of the season saw a diamond formation employed.
Explaining the thinking behind how United have played under him, Redfearn said: “Because we are so young in midfield, because we lack the experience to open out and be a four, maybe we have to be the five and come from a solid base.
“It has stood us in good stead in terms of picking up results. In an ideal world, I would love to play 4-4-2. It is what the Championship is about.
“I see the Championship as a 4-4-2 division. If you look at the teams who have done well in this division, it tends to be that shape.
“You have got to utilise the players you have got– and get results with the players you have got.”
United will be boosted by the return of Rodolph Austin, a key cog in the three-man midfield line that supports the lone frontman, from a three-game suspension.
However, Lewis Cook, another who has made the 4-2-3-1 formation tick this season, will again be missing through ankle ligament damage that may yet end his season, and United are facing a severe shortage of players after six of the club’s foreign signings unexpectedly declared themselves injured.
Goalkeeper Marco Silvestri, centre-backs Giuseppe Bellusci and Dario Del Fabro and strikers Mirco Antenucci, Souleymane Doukara and Edgar Cani are understood to have told Redfearn that they would not be fit for the trip.
The group are believed to have trained without problem on Thursday but none of them travelled with United’s squad to London and they will be missing from Redfearn’s 18-man group at The Valley.