Sam Byram is ready to return to Leeds United’s squad and Steve Morison could also be fit to face Watford after a rapid recovery from the groin strain he suffered against Brighton.
Morison limped out of Leeds’ 2-0 defeat at The Amex Stadium on Tuesday but positive assessments of his fitness have given him a chance of starting against Watford – potentially avoiding a major rethink of Neil Redfearn’s formation.
Head coach Redfearn has used Morison as a lone striker for the past two months and the United boss admitted that fielding January signing Edgar Cani in place of him up front tomorrow would be a “big ask” of the Albanian.
Cani has made two substitute appearances since joining Leeds on loan from Catania and Redfearn is more likely to adopt a two-man strikeforce against promotion candidates Watford if Morison fails to recover in time.
“I’m quite hopeful with Steve,” Redfearn said. “He feels a lot better.
“It was a precaution and we took him off early but he wants to get out there and play. We’ll try to get him fit and available.”
Cani, a 6’4” centre-forward, was signed as cover for Morison during the recent transfer window and the 25-year-old is Redfearn’s only other option in that isolated role.
Redfearn said: “Edgar’s got to adjust to the standard of football here and get up to the tempo. It (the Championship) is an unforgiving division and it’s a thankless task as a lone striker. It’s a big ask for him.
“We’ll have to see how things pan out but it’s important that we put out a side that’s going to compete and get a result.”
Byram, however, is likely to be included in Redfearn’s line-up having overcome the swollen knee which kept him out of United’s visit to Brighton. The 21-year-old completed a training session at Thorp Arch yesterday.
“Again, it was really a precaution with him,” Redfearn said. “He’s been important in our recent run and we missed him the other night but sometimes you’ve got to make these decisions.
“It was right to take that decision with Sam. I’d rather miss him for one game than five.”
Leeds have a lengthy roll of confirmed absentees with Tommaso Bianchi, Granddi Ngoyi, Aidan White, Zan Benedicic all injured and Giuseppe Bellusci one game into a two-match ban.
The club’s defeat at Brighton ended a sequence of three straight wins, denying United a fourth back-to-back victory for the first time in five years.
Redfearn said: “Sometimes you’ve just got to hold your hands up. On the night Brighton were better than us. We looked a bit jaded and we didn’t play like we can.
“You can focus on the Brighton game but three days earlier we beat the top of the league (Middlesbrough) away from home. We’re upbeat but we’re not infallible.
“We’re capable of being beaten like anyone else but at the moment our supporters are getting used to us winning. We’ll be looking for another result.”