Leeds United v MK Dons: Mowatt ‘too important’ to be rushed back into action

Alex Mowatt.

Alex Mowatt.

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Alex Mowatt will be left out of Leeds United’s squad again on Saturday and could miss the club’s FA Cup tie with Rotherham United as Leeds try to rid him of a niggling groin strain.

Mowatt was omitted from both of United’s Christmas fixtures against Nottingham Forest and Derby County and has been sidelined for MK Dons’ visit to Elland Road with head coach Steve Evans describing him as “too important to risk.”

United’s boss admitted he would be gambling on Mowatt’s fitness by playing him on Saturday and said he was already giving thought to resting the midfielder during the FA Cup third-round clash at home to Rotherham next weekend.

“He won’t be risked,” Evans said. “It’s quite simple – he’s not 100 per cent right and if we don’t get him right then we’ll only end up dealing with this again.

“I’d rather he was 100 per cent than 99 per cent and he might not play against Rotherham either. That’s something I’m thinking about.”

Striker Chris Wood is United’s only major doubt for Saturday having tweaked a hamstring in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Derby and Evans will take a late decision on the striker ahead of kick-off.

Right-back Gaetano Berardi (ankle ligaments) and goalkeeper Ross Turnbull (broken ankle) are out until at least February.

The visit of MK Dons is Leeds’ last Championship fixture until January 12, when the club go to Ipswich Town, and Evans revealed that he is considering using the Rotherham tie to test fringe members of his squad.

“If we get a really positive result tomorrow then I might just give four or five lads a chance against Rotherham,” he said.

“It would be a good test for them because if they can’t handle a game like that they’re not going to be able to handle bigger games going forward.

“I want us in the next round and this would be a chance for a few players who’ve not really had a look-in to show that they’re up to it.”