By Wayne Veysey

29th Dec, 2016 | 7:13pm

Confirmed: The reason why Bartley absent for Leeds clash against Aston Villa

By Alex Stevens

Kyle Bartley misses Leeds’ clash against Aston Villa in the Championship on Thursday night due to a minor knee injury.

Elland Road manager Garry Monk revealed prior to the clash of the second-tier big guns that Bartley is ruled out due to a problem that is not significant.

The official Leeds Twitter account quoted Monk as saying that if the match had been played on Friday night the centre-back would have been able to take his part in the starting XI.

Bartley is replaced by Liam Cooper in the Leeds team in the only change made by Monk to the side that hammered Preston 4-1 on Boxing Day.

Fir-again pair Chris Wood and Pablo Hernandez have to settle for places on the bench, while Charlie Taylor is absent for a second consecutive match because of an achilles problem.

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The loss of Bartley is a major blow, as the on-loan Swansea player has been a mainstay of the team that has punched above their weight to challenge for promotion to the top flight.

Bartley, 25, has started all 23 of Leeds’ league matches to date this season but his run has now come to an end.

Cooper, 25, has slipped down the pecking order at Elland Road this season but will partner Jansson at Villa Park in what will be only his fifth league start of the campaign.

Leeds are aiming for a fourth consecutive win as they aim to continue their excellent sequence of results that has lifted them to fifth in the Championship.

Victory for Monk’s side at Villa Park would lift their points tally to 44 and catapult them to third in the league table.

In other Leeds transfer news, a 25-year-old has signed for the club after agreeing terms.