By Alex Stevens
Noel Whelan has claimed it is “massively important” that Leeds tie Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley down to permanent deals.
The centre-back pair are on season-long loans at Elland Road after joining from their respective parent clubs Torino and Swansea during the summer.
Pontus and Bartley leapfrogged above Liam Cooper and former skipper Sol Bamba to establish themselves as Leeds’ first choice defenders in central defence.
They have been instrumental in Leeds’ revival over the last six weeks after the team’s poor start to the season.
Pontus has emerged as a hugely popular figure among supporters for his barnstorming style of play, while Bartley has started every game in all competitions this season and stood in as skipper during Liam Bridcutt’s absence.
“It’s massively important that we nail down Jansson on a permanent deal but it’s also imperative that we think about Kyle Bartley as well because he is part of this,” Whelan wrote in his Yorkshire Evening Post column.
“They come as a partnership, they work well together, they are solid, they enjoy playing together at the moment and we are seeing the benefits of having a very, very good two at the back that complement each other in many ways.”
Garry Monk’s side came from a goal down at Norwich to secure their seventh victory from 10 league matches and climb into the play-off positions for the first time this season.
Goals from Pontus Jansson, Chris Wood and Hadi Sacko secured a famous win for Leeds to maintain the feel-good factor at Elland Road.
Leeds’ third victory in a row lifts them to sixth place in the Championship and into the play-off spots for the first time since December 2016.
In other Leeds news, a senior player is destined to leave the club in January.