By Wayne Veysey

28th Mar, 2018 | 3:04pm

Leeds wonderkid must get extended run after confirmation big-money ace could miss rest of season

COMMENT By Richard Parks

Tom Pearce must be given an extended run in the Leeds United team after confirmation that Laurens De Bock is fighting a battle to play again for the club this season.

The United academy product is the man Paul Heckingbottom must turn to for the final eight matches of a league campaign that could offer vital pointers to the future for the team.

Leeds’ play-off hopes have been left in tatters, which provides the perfect opportunity for Pearce, 19, to get a lengthy run in the starting XI.

Heckingbottom revealed at his media briefing today (Wednesday) that De Bock is facing a lengthy absence after suffering a hamstring tear sustained before the international break.

Quoted on the personal Twitter account of Yorkshire Evening Post correspondent Lee Sobot, Heckingbottom gave an injury round-up and said that De Bock will be out “longer term”.

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The Leeds boss was also quoted by Leeds Live on their press conference blog as saying that it is a “damaging hamstring tear” and the player is “still feeling discomfort and pain”.

Given Heckingbottom’s comments, it is difficult to see De Bock playing again this season.

Starting with the Good Friday clash against Bolton Wanderers, Leeds have eight fixtures shoehorned into a five-week period, which ends with the clash against QPR on 6 May.

Pearce stepped in at left-back to make his Leeds debut in the 2-1 win against Sheffield Wednesday after impressive performances for the Under-23s.

The Elland Road academy product gave a good account of himself during his 77 minutes on the pitch before making way for Jay-Roy Grot.

It is too early to hail him as the new Charlie Taylor but Pearce looks better equipped than Tyler Denton to make it at Leeds.

He will need to keep head down and feet on the ground but the signs are encouraging and United have nothing to lose by giving him an extended run.

In other Leeds United news, 13 players are fighting for their jobs as behind-the-scenes planned laid for huge cull.

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