Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United: Wood’s knocking on selection door confirms Evans

Chris Wood
Chris Wood
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Leeds United’s squad will be on the verge of full strength for the first time in months on Saturday with Chris Wood, Liam Cooper and Lewis Coyle all pencilled in for the club’s visit to Blackburn Rovers.

Head coach Steve Evans said Wood would “be at Ewood Park for sure” after Leeds prolonged his absence from their Championship by opting not to take the striker to Tuesday night’s clash with Cardiff City.

Evans claimed a long coach journey to Wales would not have been “conducive for putting him out there” but Wood’s extended absence with a hamstring strain is finally set to end this weekend.

Liam Cooper was also missing on Tuesday with a hamstring problem of his own but Evans expects the centre-back to train this morning.

Right-back Coyle is also due to take part in today’s session having recovered quickly from the tackle which saw him stretchered from the field against Bolton Wanderers last weekend.

Evans, whose squad have 11 games left this season, has dealt with constant injury concerns in his four months as head coach, but second-choice goalkeeper Ross Turnbull – out for rest of the term with an ankle problem – could be his only absentee at Blackburn. Evans said: “I’d expect Cooper to train. Lewie Coyle is on schedule to train too and Chris Wood will be with the group on Thursday.

“We maybe have a chance to have most of our players available. Any coach will tell you that you need your big-game players.”

The United boss had suggested that he might name Wood – Leeds’ joint top scorer – on the bench at Cardiff but the forward was left behind as United travelled south on Monday afternoon.

Wood has played only twice since the end of December and last appeared in a 1-1 draw at Brentford in January.

“The final decision was the fact that it was going to take a five or six-hour journey to get there,” Evans said. “The medical staff didn’t think that was conducive for putting him out there but Chris will be at Ewood Park for sure.”