Leeds boss Christiansen hoping to have Mateusz Klich back in action soon

Mateusz Klich.
Mateusz Klich.
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MATEUSZ KLICH was denied a first public appearance for Leeds United after injury ruled him out of Saturday’s friendly at Guiseley.

The Poland international was a notable absentee from Thomas Christiansen’s squad having been sidelined by what United’s head coach called a “muscle injury” in the build-up to the game.

Klich played in last week’s behind-closed-doors win over Harrogate Town, United’s first friendly of the summer, but was left out of the trip to Nethermoor as a precaution.

Christiansen said he was anxious to avoid risking the midfielder’s fitness with the start of the new Championship season less than a month away.

Leeds play North Ferriby United in another domestic friendly with non-league opposition on Wednesday and Christiansen’s squad will then travel to Austria for a three-game tour involving games against Ingolstadt, Borussia Monchengladbach and Eibar.

Klich is one of five summer signings made by United so far in this transfer window, recruited from FC Twente for around £1.5m last month, and head coach Christiansen said: “He has some problems which we don’t want to risk.

Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen on the sidelines at Guiseley.

Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen on the sidelines at Guiseley.

“It’s important in pre-season that players aren’t out too long. If we risk him now and he gets injured again he will lose the whole of pre-season. That will affect his whole season because if you don’t have the balance, the basic fitness from pre-season, you will suffer over the whole season.”

Leeds have avoided major injury concerns in the early stages of pre-season and Christiansen’s squad is returning to full strength this week with Chris Wood resuming training after an extended break.

The striker, the scorer of 30 goals for United last season, was given an extra fortnight off having represented New Zealand at the Confederations Cup in Russia.

Centre-back Liam Cooper and winger Hadi Sacko, who laid on the fourth goal in a 5-1 win over Guiseley, picked up minor knocks in the second half at Nethermoor but are both expected to be fit for the trip to North Ferriby.

It’s important in pre-season that players aren’t out too long. If we risk him now and he gets injured again he will lose the whole of pre-season.

Thomas Christiansen

Cooper was replaced at centre-back five minutes from time by Conor Shaughnessy, the former Reading midfielder who joined Leeds’ development squad a year ago.

Shaughnessy’s contract was extended by Leeds in May and Christiansen said the 21-year-old could expect other opportunities during United’s pre-season campaign.

“To see Conor play from the Under-23s, I believe he can have some potential,” Christiansen said. “It’s not his position, he’s more of a number six (a holding midfielder). Perhaps I will give players from the Under-23s the possibility to play as I did with Conor. He got the opportunity and for sure this player will get more opportunities.”

Pontus Jansson and Eunan O’Kane made their first appearances of the summer yesterday after making late returns to training but new signing Vurnon Anita, the former Newcastle United midfielder who signed a three-year deal at Elland Road on Thursday, was left out having trained for the first time on Friday.

Anita was put through a training session on the pitch at Guiseley prior to kick-off but watched from the stands as braces from Stuart Dallas and Lee Erwin set up an easy victory.

Christiansen said: “After only one session of training it’s not enough and he’s not ready. His muscles aren’t ready.

“He comes from a long vacation and of course he’s done his homework during that time but it’s not enough to compete in a game where everyone is strong. I preferred not to put him in but in the next game he will probably have his time.”

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