By Will Butcher
Garry Monk is hopeful that Charlie Taylor will return to his Leeds side to face Derby on January 13 at Elland Road, and says he should resume training next week.
The 23-year-old has been sidelined with an achilles problem in recent matches, which has seen him miss Leeds’ last three matches against Preston, Aston Villa and Rotherham.
However, Monk told the Yorkshire Evening Post that Taylor could return against Steve McClaren’s side, after Eunan O’Kane and Lewie Coyle returned to training this week.
“We’re very hopeful for the Derby game,” Monk said, when quizzed about Taylor’s return date. “I’m sure Charlie will be back in training towards the middle of next week.
“It’s good to have Eunan and Coyley back out training too because we’ve had a busy period and going into the second half of the season we need as many players fit as possible.”
Monk revealed on Wednesday that last season’s Player of the Year, Taylor, would not be going anywhere in the summer after holding talks with owner Massimo Cellino.
That comes despite plenty of Premier League interest in the left-back, who has just six months remaining on his current Leeds contract.
But Taylor is now set to return to the first team at Elland Road, as they look to maintain their five-point lead over McClaren’s side but will miss the FA Cup third-round tie against Cambridge United on Saturday.
Right-back Coyle could be given a chance against the League Two side, while Ireland international O’Kane could also be given a run out as he looks to recover from a groin injury.
In other Leeds news, Monk looks to have clinched his first January transfer.