Leeds United manager Neil Warnock will make a late decision on Jerome Thomas’s involvement in Wednesday’s Capital One Cup quarter-final against Chelsea after the on-loan West Brom winger’s man-of-the-match display against Ipswich.
Although Ipswich wore blue, the comparison with Chelsea ended there as Warnock’s side gained a timely confidence boost for their midweek Elland Road encounter with the European champions on their return from Japan.
Mick McCarthy’s men failed to trouble Paddy Kenny until the closing stages, when the veteran Leeds goalkeeper made instinctive saves from Lee Martin and substitute Michael Chopra.
A goal in each half by Thomas and Paul Green nudged the hosts closer to a play-off place, while the Tractor Boys saw their three-match winning run splutter to a halt.
Warnock must decide whether to play Thomas against Chelsea.
He said: “I am still trying to get Jerome fit enough to play a full 90 minutes. We have to treat him with kid gloves.
“It is more important to me that he plays against Middlesbrough next Saturday than Chelsea on Wednesday, so we will have to see. Knowing Jerome, he will want to play against Chelsea.
“I won’t play my full team and I am sure Chelsea won’t, but they have more players they can rest than we have. I am sure it will be competitive, whatever team I put out.”
Leeds chairman Ken Bates warned in his programme notes that there would be no January window spending spree despite the proposed completion of the club’s takeover by Dubai-based Gulf Finance House Capital this week.
Warnock wants another striker but is also keen to extend the stay of his loan players. Fittingly, it was Thomas who got a goal-line touch on to Tom Lees’s goal-bound header to give Leeds a 19th-minute lead.
Then Thomas provided a precise cross for Green to rifle his second goal in as many games and seal the win in the 69th minute.
Leeds could have been three up at half-time. Former Ipswich midfielder David Norris had a header cleared off the line by Aaron Cresswell before the unmarked Luciano Becchio headed over with the net at his mercy.
Leeds United: Kenny, Byram, Lees, Tate, Peltier, Green, Norris, Tonge, Thomas (Brown 84), Becchio (Varney 90), Diouf (McCormack 81). Unused substitutes: Ashdown, Pearce, White, Hall.
Ipswich Town: Henderson, Orr (Hewitt 85), Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards, N’Daw, Drury, Martin, Campbell (Chopra 62), Murphy (Emmanuel-Thomas 73). Unused substitutes: Loach, Higginbotham, Mohsni, Reo-Coker.
Referee: O Langford (W Midlands).
Man of the match: Jerome Thomas.