By Wayne Veysey

9th Jan, 2017 | 6:54pm

Monk wraps five senior Leeds players in cotton wool ahead of Derby clash

By Alex Stevens

Five senior Leeds players have been given the night off as the club try and avoid an FA Cup giantkilling at the hands of Cambridge.

Manager Garry Monk has rung the changes for the televised clash against the League Two outfit at the Cambs Glass Stadium on Monday evening.

He has made eight changes to the team that beat Rotherham 3-0 in the Championship on Monday of last week.

Marco Silvestri, Tyler Denton, Liam Cooper, Matt Grimes, Kalvin Phillips, Stuart Dallas, Alex Mowatt and Marcus Antonsson are all handed recalls.

Just three players retain their places in the much-changed line-up, defensive duo Pablo Jansson and Gaetano Berardi, and forward Souleymane Doukara.

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But Monk has named a strong substitute’s bench, featuring top scorer Chris Wood, fit-again Eunan O’Kane, youngster Lewie Coyle and first-team regulars Rob Green, Kemar Roofe, Kyle Bartley and Ronaldo Vieira.

 

But the Leeds coaching staff clearly have one eye on Friday’s Championship clash against Derby and have given a breather to key quintet Charlie Taylor, Liam Bridcutt, Luke Ayling, Pablo Hernandez and Hadi Sacko.

The five, who would all be expected to start on Friday if fit, have been given a rest due to concerns about fatigue or fitness.

Leeds’ priority is to maintain their push for a place in the Championship top six, which would enable them to feature in the end-of-season play-offs in May.

In other Leeds news, Monk has clinched his second January transfer.