By Alex Stevens
Leeds have been struck by another major injury blow in the wake of their 1-0 Championship win over Brentford on Saturday.
A Kyle Bartley header was enough to overcome the London visitors to Elland Road and secure the three points that maintained the promotion surge of Garry Monk’s in-form side.
But victory came at a cost as key defender Charlie Taylor was withdrawn early in the second half due to injury and was replaced by Gaetano Berardi.
It is the latest in a series of blows for the club, who were without leading scorer Chris Wood on Saturday and have had to cope with a number of midfielder absences in the last few weeks, including first-team regulars Pablo Hernandez, Liam Bridcutt and Eunan O’Kane.
Yorkshire Evening Post correspondent Phil Hay reported in the aftermath of the match after attending manager Garry Monk’s press conference that Taylor “came off with an Achilles problem”.
Hay explained that Taylor “tried to play through it but was struggling in the second half”.
Charlie Taylor came off with an Achilles problem. Tried to play through it but was struggling in the second half. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 17, 2016
Achilles problems can be notoriously troublesome for footballers, and Leeds fans will be aware that Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla has just undergone surgery on a heel injury that will sideline him for three months.
It would be a major blow to lose Taylor for any length of time as the academy product has started all 22 of the team’s 22 Championship matches this season.
The 23-year-old had a mixed start to the campaign after having a transfer request rejected in August but he has returned his best in the last month.
Leeds are braced for a number of bids for the left-back in the January window from Premier League clubs who are willing to pay up to £6million to secure the youngster, who is out of contract next summer.
Leeds’ win over Brentford was their seventh in nine league matches and lifted them to fourth in the Championship table, their highest position of an increasingly impressive season.
The Yorkshire club are now just seven points behind Brighton in the second automatic promotion spot, although the Sussex club have a game in hand.