Salford v Leeds United: Whites manager Marcelo Bielsa all set to hand debut to talented loan striker Eddie Nketiah in Carabao Cup

Eddie Nketiah
Eddie Nketiah
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LEEDS UNITED head coach Marcelo Bielsa is ready to unleash exciting new loanee Eddie Nketiah on a night that will have added spice thanks to the strong Manchester United connections of League new boys Salford City.

The Championship club make the trip to Moor Lane for a Carabao Cup first round tie that will be shown live on Sky Sports.

Salford are part-owned by former Old Trafford heroes Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt – meaning this first ever meeting between the two clubs should have an edge.

For Bielsa, however, his only priority is securing safe passage to the next stage. He plans to make a number of changes from the opening two games with Nketiah, the Arsenal loanee who arrived on deadline day, certain to feature at some stage.

Others expected to start include goalkeeper Illan Meslier, Helder Costa and Jack Clarke but it is 20-year-old Nketiah who is creating the biggest stir.

“He is a complex player because he has a lot of capabilities,” said Bielsa about a striker who was wanted by 25 clubs in the recent transfer window.

“In these two days where we have been working with him, it is very easy to show in training what he is showing in the games.”

Nketiah made nine top flight appearances last season, most from the bench, and scored one goal.

“On Sunday he did real football training and the same on Monday,” added Bielsa. “He was training normal with the group too.

“I don’t know how many minutes (Nketiah will play against Salford) but he will be involved.”

The visit of Leeds has caused a big stir at Salford, who were promoted from the Conference last May.

Scholes, the former England international, admitted: “We want the big games like Leeds. I don’t think in the whole draw we could have got a bigger or better club, so we are looking forward to it.”

Bielsa is well aware of the fierce rivalry between Leeds and the club where Scholes, Beckham et al made their name.

He added: “For us, this game is very interesting whether the game has connections or not with Manchester United.

“I know the understanding of this game so we are going to play the game as seriously as we can.

“This is nothing different because we are always going to play all the games seriously. But I know the history of the game and the reality of both clubs.

“I know, too, the relationship between Manchester United and the people of the club that we play on Tuesday.”

Ezgjan Alioski, Gaetano Berardi, Jamie Shackleton and Mateusz Bogusz are among those expected to feature tonight in a tie that Leeds are expected to win.

“Every game is an important game,” added Bielsa, whose side bowed out of both domestic Cup competitions early last term. One of the objectives is to have more players involved than the players who are usually playing.”

Last six games: Salford City LLDWWL, Leeds United DLWLWD.

Referee: K Stroud (Hampshire).

Last time: Never met.