Leeds United manager Sam Allardyce is prepared to “gamble on anyone’s fitness” as he prepares his side for a must-win fixture against Tottenham Hotspur this Sunday.
The Whites find themselves entering the Premier League’s final day in the relegation zone for the second consecutive season, currently finding themselves in 19th place, two points behind 17th placed Everton.
The West Yorkshire side are in an even more precarious situation this term, however. Not only do they have to beat Spurs – but they must also hope that Everton lose and Leicester either lose or draw their home games against Bournemouth and West Ham, respectively.
Allardyce recognises the almost impossible nature of repeating his famous ‘great escape’ act at Leeds, and has described the difficult position his team finds itself in in suitably dramatic terms.
“Here’s where we’ll live or die on Sunday,” Allardyce declared in his pre-match press conference today (as per Yorkshire Evening Post).
“It’s all about this arena, this stadium, with the fantastic atmosphere which will go with it.”
With both of his senior strikers – Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo – picking up injuries in their last game, a damaging 3-1 defeat to West Ham, much of the discussion this week has surrounded what Allardyce’s solution up front will be.
Speaking to the media this afternoon, Big Sam claimed that Rodrigo was back in training today whilst his counterpart Bamford is set to be assessed tomorrow.
Yet, recognising the do-or-die nature of Sunday’s contest, the 68-year-old is willing to risk the fitness of all of his players if they want to feature.
“I’ll gamble on anyone’s fitness if they want to play, if I think they can make a contribution to help us win.”
Allardyce will be praying that any gamble made will pay off against Spurs – and that results elsewhere go his side’s way – as they launch one last desperate bid to save their Premier League status on Sunday.