By Will Butcher
Leeds striker Chris Wood has returned to Elland Road early from national team duty with New Zealand after picking up an injury.
Wood, 25, is said to have a picked up a knock playing for the All Whites during their 2-0 2018 World Cup qualifying win against Fiji on Saturday and is now set to miss the return leg on Tuesday.
New Zealand boss Anthony Hudson told the All Whites’ official website that the injury was “not too serious”, but it is enough to rule him out of his country’s second clash.
The report does not specify what injury the former Leicester striker has picked up, but it does state that the problem occurred due to a late tackle from behind.
“Chris’s injury is not too serious but I’ve decided to be extra cautious,” Hudson said.
“It is important that we have a healthy Chris Wood for the FIFA Confederations Cup and qualifiers late in the year.
“Chris is obviously a significant player and leader for us so it is a blow, but we have a strong squad here and I am sure we have enough quality to get the result in Wellington tonight.”
Wood has been in scintillating form for the Yorkshire giants this season, almost single handedly firing them to fourth place and making fans to dream of a Premier League return.
In all competitions, Leeds’ number nine has fired 27 goals and was set to start on Saturday evening against play-off rivals Reading.
However, in what is a huge blow to Leeds, the target man may now be forced to watch from the sidelines as Garry Monk’s men go up against the Royals at the Madjeski Stadium.
A win, with or without top scorer Wood, could see Monk’s men climb above Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield into third place if the Terriers lose to Burton Albion at home.
In other Leeds news, this striker deserves a second chance at Elland Road.