SAM BYRAM’S performance against Shrewsbury Town in Wednesday night’s 2-1 Carabao Cup first round win could well have secured him a start against Birmingham City in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday.

The York-raised left-back came on at the interval with Leeds United trailing and was a major influence as the Whites turned the game round to book a second round tie at another League One outfit, Salford City.

Manager Daniel Farke, wary of Byram’s injury problems in recent seasons, has named him as substitute in the opening two games but both times he’s come on to improve United’s performance considerably.

Together with Ian Poveda, who is expected to replace the injured Crysensio Summerville at Birmingham, he took his opportunity to shine against the Shrews while others didn’t.

Leeds were underwhelming in the first-half and struggled to ruffle the visitors’ feathers, playing patient football and appearing sloppy when coming forward.

More slack defending allowed Taylor Perry to run unchallenged before shooting home via a deflection and a post to give Matthew Taylor’s side the lead on 28 minutes.

Farke made a much-needed double change at half-time bringing on Byram, who featured in the same fixture 11 years ago in his first spell with the Whites, and Pascal Struijk.

The latter allowed Ethan Ampadu to move into midfield to partner 17-year-Archie Gray, whose dad, Andy, was on the bench for that Shrews game in 2012.

The improvement was instant. Ampadu and Gray ran midfield, Shrewsbury were penned back and Leeds finally created danger in the box.

Seven minutes into the second period Ian Poveda’s fierce shot was beaten out by goalkeeper Marko Marosi and Joe Gelhardt reacted quickest to equalise. Six minutes later Struijk banged in the winner after Shrewsbury failed to clear a corner.

Leeds, showing six changes from the Championship opener against Cardiff, should have added more goals after while the visitors rarely looked like getting an equaliser. Poveda, Daniel James and sub Luis Sinisterra all had opportunities to stretch United’s lead.

Goalkeeper Karl Darlow, who had little to do on his Leeds debut, had no chance with the goal but his distribution, particularly in the first half was shaky.

Jamie Shackleton buzzed around to decent effect but teenagers Darko Gyabi and Leo Hjelde struggled to stake a claim for a spot in Saturday’s starting line-up.

Of concern to Leeds fans will have been the absence of Willy Gnonto in the matchday squad. He was fit, but declared “unavailable” by Farke, who declined to expand on the issue.

Before the game Leeds looked as though they were on the brink of signing right-back Max Aarons from Farke’s old club, Norwich, but the deal was hijacked by Premier League club Bournemouth, with Aarons said to have walked out of his United medical to complete his switch to the Cherries.

Leeds were hoping to get the loan signing of Welsh international centre-back Joe Rodon, 25, from Tottenham Hotspur over the line before Saturday’s game at Birmingham.