Andy Ritchie: Leeds must risk playing this first teamer
By Dominic Toner
Andy Ritchie insists that Leeds defender Pontus Jansson must continue with his aggressive approach, despite being on the verge of a three-match ban.
The 26-year-old centre-back has been a major success at Elland Road since his summer arrival, but has had disciplinary troubles so far.
He is just two bookings away from a three-match suspension and that could leave the Whites very short of defensive options.
Leeds centre-back Liam Cooper has begun his six-game suspension for a stamp on Reading’s Reece Oxford and Garry Monk will desperate for Jansson to avoid consecutive bookings in the near future.
Ex-Whites striker Andy Ritchie feels that Leeds must risk playing Jansson and hope that he steers away from a potential ban.
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“Pontus Jansson is also just two bookings away from getting a three-match ban,” Ritchie wrote in the Yorkshire Evening Post. “But you can’t say to him ‘don’t get booked.’ You have just got to hope that he doesn’t.
“It is difficult because he is a defender and you have to make challengers and sometimes you do mistime things. But you can’t say to a defender like Jansson to change your game because that’s the way he is.”
He added: “He is a combative player who puts his body on the line and you can’t change that. If you try and change it, you are not going to get the bet out of him.”
Jansson played 90 minutes on Tuesday as the Yorkshire club suffered a 2-0 defeat away to Reading, which saw their automatic promotion hopes vanish.
They are now focused on securing a play-off spot and only have a five-point cushion over Fulham in seventh.
Monk’s side have been in the top six for the majority of the season and will be desperate to clinch their play-off position as soon as possible.
Leeds will turn their attention to a Championship clash at home to Preston on Saturday and the spotlight could be on Jansson to be on his best behaviour.
In other Leeds news, Monk has sent a Twitter message to fans ahead of the Preston clash.