By Alex Stevens
Liam Bridcutt has revealed that he is a long way short of match fitness and it would be a “risk” for him to start against Brentford on Saturday.
The Leeds captain made his comeback in the 2-0 midweek win against Reading after three months on the sidelines with a fractured foot.
Bridcutt was named on the substitute’s bench after only five days of training but was called on to the pitch earlier than expected after Chris Wood suffered a hamstring injury and was withdrawn just 33 minutes into the game.
Midfield enforcer Bridcutt was fast-tracked back into the team because midfield trio Kalvin Phillips, Eunan O’Kane and Pablo Hernandez were unavailable against Jaap Stam’s high flyers on Tuesday night.
Phillips will be available to return on Saturday after serving a one-match suspension but O’Kane has been ruled out by manager Garry Monk for what will be a fourth consecutive match.
Bridcutt sounded a note of caution about his own match fitness after such a lengthy spell on the sidelines and warned that it might be best for himself to once again start on the bench.
“The lads have been doing well and getting results and it’ll be a battle to get back in,” he said, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post. “But I’m up for it. “I’d love to start (against Brentford).
“Looking at it from a medical point of view, it might not be the best option but if the manager wants me to start then I have to start. It means you’re running that extra risk but I’m happy.”
Bridcutt joined Leeds from Sunderland in the summer after protracted negotiations between the two clubs.
The 27-year-old had two separate loan spells at Elland Road last season and was rewarded with the captaincy when he joined permanently from the Premier League side.