By Alex Stevens
Garry Monk has insisted that Leeds can cope without Pontus Jansson if he is forced out of the club’s Championship clash against Barnsley on Saturday.
The centre-back limped out of Leeds’ midweek 1-0 league defeat to Bristol City at half-time with a hamstring injury when the scores were locked at 0-0.
Jansson, who is on a season-long loan from Torino, has made an impressive start to his Elland Road career, establishing a fine partnership at the back with Kyle Bartley.
The giant Swede gave Monk a boost by completing a training session at Thorp Arch on Thursday, just 48 hours after suffering a hamstring problem at Ashton Gate.
The manager gave an update on Jansson’s fitness as he explained why the defender did not complete the City match on Tuesday.
“It was precautionary and he was back out on the grass (yesterday),” said Monk, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post. “We’re very hopeful with Pontus.”
Jansson has been a key figure in Leeds’ improved form, a run which brought four straight wins prior to Tuesday’s loss, and it was noticeable that the team conceded within 15 minutes of him leaving the pitch.
Nevertheless, Monk, however, gave Jansson’s replacement Liam Cooper a vote of confidence and said Leeds would cope without Jansson if the Swede failed to recover in time.
“Coops came on second half and did an excellent job,” Monk told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “I’ve got three very good centre-backs here and all across the squad it’s very difficult picking the team. Everyone’s at it in training. You go with what you feel is best. Whoever starts will have the full backing of everyone.
“I wouldn’t say players accept it and they’re disappointed (to be left out) but that’s a good thing. What they won’t be is a disruption because they understand the most important thing is the team.”
Tuesday night’s loss to Bristol City halted Leeds in their tracks, pushing Monk’s side back into the bottom half of the table.
However, a win against Yorkshire rivals and newly promoted Barnsley on Saturday would see them go to within just one point of the playoffs, if results go their way.
In other Leeds team news, Garry Monk has sent this message to Leeds fans ahead of Saturday’s clash.