Leeds United: Toffees’ top scorer a doubt for Elland Road friendly

Everton's Romelu Lukaku with manager Roberto Martinez after being subbed  during the pre-season friendly at Dens Park, Dundee.
Everton's Romelu Lukaku with manager Roberto Martinez after being subbed during the pre-season friendly at Dens Park, Dundee.
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Everton striker Romelu Lukaku is a doubt for Saturday’s friendly against Leeds United after suffering a hamstring strain.

Lukaku limped out of a 2-0 defeat at Dundee on Tuesday night and could miss Everton’s visit to Elland Road, the last match of United’s pre-season schedule.

The powerful forward was Everton’s top scorer last season, scoring 20 times, and he inflicted a 3-1 defeat on Hearts on Sunday with a hat-trick at Tynecastle. He completed only 32 minutes of Tuesday’s clash at Dundee before being replaced.

Lukaku has been sent for a scan but Everton manager Roberto Martinez said: “Rom’s been playing a lot of minutes and after the first 25 minutes he was feeling his legs being a little too heavy. We didn’t want to take any risks.

“It is not a problem at all. We have a little period before the weekend to make sure he is ready and refreshed.”

Everton could also be without Steven Pienaar and Gerard Deulofeu, both of whom have hamstring problems of their own, but United will face another strong line-up as they round off their preparation for the Championship season.

Leeds contested back-to-back games against Bundesliga opposition during their recent tour of Austria and Norway, losing 2-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt near Salzburg and suffering defeat to Hoffenheim by the same scoreline in Lillestrom last Saturday.

Head coach Uwe Rosler fielded some of his players in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Notts County yesterday and is hopeful that midfielders Lewis Cook and Tommaso Bianchi will both be fit to feature in his squad against Everton.

Cook limped out of the Hoffenheim friendly with a toe injury, though Rosler later insisted his withdrawal was only a “precaution”. Bianchi missed the game with a swollen knee but was due to resume training in time for Everton’s visit to Elland Road.

A Leeds XI secured a 3-0 victory at Tadcaster Albion during a second-string friendly earlier this month but Rosler’s side are still looking for their first win from the first-team fixtures arranged this summer.

The club fought out 1-1 draws with Harrogate Town and York City before their foreign tour.

Thomas Christiansen.

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