Bristol City v Leeds United: Bridcutt on the brink of return

Liam Bridcutt.
Liam Bridcutt.
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Garry Monk will reassess the fitness of Liam Bridcutt tomorrow after playing safe and leaving his captain out of a third game running.

Leeds took a late decision to omit Bridcutt from their 1-0 win over Ipswich Town amid concerns that he was yet to fully recover from a foot injury suffered in a recent meeting with Blackburn Rovers.

Monk said Bridcutt had been “a fraction away” from making the squad to play Ipswich but the 27-year-old spent yesterday morning working at Thorp Arch as Leeds made their final preparations for the visit of Mick McCarthy’s side.

Bridcutt was a major summer signing at Elland Road and received the captain’s armband from Monk this month after previous incumbent Sol Bamba parted company with United but Leeds have overcome his absence by winning three games in a row.

Monk, however, is hopeful that Bridcutt will travel south with the rest of his squad ahead of Tuesday’s meeting with Bristol City.

Monk said: “You’re talking him being a fraction away from playing.

“We thought he’d be available (for Ipswich) and so did he but rather than being the injury, it’s more to do with the pain that comes with it.

“My view on risking a player for one game and then him maybe being out for another four or five weeks is that I don’t want to do that. We’ve got to allow him time but maybe he’ll be ready for Tuesday.

“It’s an annoying one because it’s not that serious. It’s just the pain in his foot. As soon as that goes away he’ll be ready.”

Monk was also without 18-year-old Ronaldo Vieira yesterday after the youngster was hurt in a midweek League Cup win over Blackburn but the United boss said: “He was just a little bit short. But I’m pretty sure those two guys will be back and ready for Tuesday.”

Kalvin Phillips made his third start of the season in Bridcutt’s absence and Monk’s midfield dominated Ipswich during a one-sided contest at Elland Road.

Fellow midfielder Eunan O’Kane – a deadline-day signing from Bournemouth - has also made an impressive impact, featuring in four straight wins since his move from the south coast.

“Eunan’s an intelligent person and an intelligent player,” Monk said. “He’s fitted straight into the squad.

“Good players don’t take long to understand what you want from them. We explained exactly how we needed him to work and he compliments the other midfielders we have.”

Bamba, meanwhile, could be set for a move to fellow Championship side Derby County.

The centre-back is a free agent after agreeing to terminate his deal at Elland Road on September 1 and his status would allow Derby to sign him outside the transfer window.

Bamba, who worked with Derby manager Nigel Pearson at Leicester City, trained with County last week and attended their game against Blackburn Rovers yesterday.

Pearson said: “He got in contact with me and asked if it was okay for him to come in training.

“I’ve worked with him before and it’s a surprise that he’s a free agent but that’s where we are at the minute.”

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