One to Watch - Chris Wood
Name: Chris Wood
Date of Birth: 07/12/1991
Previous clubs: West Brom, Barnsley (L), Brighton (L), Birmingham (L), Bristol City (L), Millwall (L), Leicester, Ipswich (L).
Appearances (goals): 277 (95)
QPR`s trip to Elland Road this weekend sees them come up against a striker in the form of his career in the shape of New Zealand international Chris Wood, as the 25-year-old not only leads the way infront of goal at Leeds, but is also the Championship`s top scorer with 22 league goals this term, one ahead of Dwight Gayle.
Having hit double figures in a season just twice previously since making his debut towards the end of the 2008/2009 campaign, this is the second time he has managed to reach the 20-goal mark, with 25 goals to his name in all competitions so far this term, playing a pivotal role in the club`s rather unexpected promotion bid.
After bagging a brace in the 3-1 victory away at Birmingham last weekend, manager Garry Monk decided against risking his star striker during their 1-1 draw at Fulham on Tuesday might owing to a calf injury, but he is expected to return to the fold on Saturday to take on a Rangers defence without a clean sheet in 10 games.
Wood has been particularly lethal at home this season, with 14 of his league strikes coming at Elland Road, while he has found the net in seven of his last eight appearances on home soil, and in 22 of the club`s 36 league matches, and QPR are just one of five clubs in the division he has failed to notch against this season.
He did however open the scoring when the two sides met in Yorkshire last April, sliding in to convert a floated ball into the box that landed between the Rangers defence and a hesitant Alex Smithies with 20 minutes remaining, before Tjaronn Chery rescued a point from the spot at the death that saw the score end 1-1.
Since making the move to England to join West Brom`s academy as a youngster, Wood has turned out for nine different clubs following his debut for the Baggies in a Premier League match back in April 2009, shortly before they were relegated, and he netted his first goal for the club five months later in 3-1 win against Rotherham.
He would feature from the bench in all three of his national side`s 2010 World Cup group games in South Africa as the Kiwis failed to progress with three draws, and he has scored 18 goals in 46 internationals.
Loan spells at Barnsley, Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol City and Millwall followed over the next two-and-a-half seasons, before Leicester parted with a reported £2million fee to bring him to the Walkers Stadium in January 2013, and he got off to a blistering start for the Foxes, scoring nine times in his first 12 matches for the club.
Play-off heartbreak at the end of that season was followed by title success the next year as Leicester finished as champions, with Wood netting four goals in 26 league matches, but after scoring on the opening day of the 2014/2015 Premier League season against Everton, he was soon deemed surplus to requirements by Nigel Pearson.
He would spend the last two-and-a-half months of the season back in the Championship, this time on loan at Ipswich, where he failed to score in eight games, and on his return to Leicester in the summer, a move to current club Leeds was agreed, as he made the switch to the Whites for an undisclosed fee on a four-year deal.
In his first season with the Whites, his 13 goals helped the side to a 13th place finish, and with some much needed stability in the dugout at Elland Road under the guidance of Monk, Wood has flourished, recently being named Championship Player of the Month for January, during which he scored six goals in four games.
With 10 league games remaining this season, Wood looks well on course to become just the second Leeds player to hit 30 goals in a season since Lee Chapman in 1991/1992, the other being Jermaine Beckford in 2010.