Leeds United: Key trio back in contention to face Preston
CHRIS Wood, Charlie Taylor and Pablo Hernandez are all back in contention for Leeds United ahead of Boxing Day's Championship trip to Preston North End.
Eunan O’Kane, though, is set to miss both Monday’s clash at Deepdale and Thursday’s visit to Aston Villa but the midfielder is “progressing very well” ahead of a possible return in the new year.
Top scorer Wood felt his hamstring tighten during the recent mid-week win at home to Reading and missed last weekend’s home clash with Brentford as a result.
But the 25-year-old striker has been back out on the grass this week with head coach Garry Monk hoping that the New Zealand international will return to training on Friday.
Left-back Taylor injured his Achilles in the Brentford game but he too is now back in contention to face Preston while no 10 playmaker Hernandez has been training for the past week after recovering from his hamstring problem,
O’Kane, though, is still not completely over his ongoing groin issue and will miss United’s next two games but the new year home clash against Rotherham United is a possible game in which the Republic Of Ireland international may return.
“For Woody, it wasn’t as serious as what we first thought which is good news,” said Whites head coach Monk.
“He has been back on the pitches for the last three or four days ticking all of the boxes and we are very hopeful that he will be back in training tomorrow.
“Charlie is one of those where we just have to look after and wrap him up and try and get him ready for the games.
“Pablo is training and he’s been training for over a week’s training now.
“Obviously the Brentford game came a little bit too soon for him – he’d only just come back out.
“But he has had a really good week so far and again he’s another one that will be back in contention for these games coming up.”
Explaining the latest situation with O’Kane, Monk revealed: “I think Eunan is struggling to make these next two games. I think they come a little bit too soon.
“But he is progressing very well.
“It’s one of them injuries where you have to assess it on a daily basis so he’s getting better, the pain is a lot less and he’s strengthening the groin area which is good.
“He’s been out on the grass doing various tests and he is looking stronger each day and we are very hopeful with Eunan that he should be back after these two games and this period and back into training.
“Hopefully that can be the end of it but it’s a day to day process with Eunan and we will assess it as it comes along.”