Charlton Athletic v Leeds United: We need our captain Sol back says Evans

Sol Bamba.
Sol Bamba.
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Steve Evans hopes Sol Bamba will complete a week of training ahead of Saturday’s visit to Charlton Athletic after deciding not to risk the Leeds United captain in the club’s 2-1 win over Hull City.

Bamba was missing for the third game running over the weekend as Evans heeded advice to leave the centre-back out of a competitive Yorkshire derby at Elland Road.

Bamba suffered a fractured toe last month and has not played since completing a one-match suspension at the end of October.

Evans considered recalling him for the visit of Hull but stuck instead with a centre-back pairing of Liam Cooper and Giuseppe Bellusci as Bamba continued his recovery.

The Leeds head coach said: “The medical team were telling me he’d be back in training (this week).

“That could have happened Thursday or Friday but the medical advice was just that he was still feeling a bit of soreness.

“It’s really about his pain threshold now.

“He was diagnosed as being out for three or four weeks and we were three weeks on Friday. The big man wants to play.

“When you’re captain of a club you have to demonstrate it on and off the pitch and to see Sol hugging everyone walking into that dressing (after the win over Hull) shows that we need our leader back.”

Meanwhile, a number of United’s senior players featured for the club’s Under-21s away at Hull City last night.

Winger Jordan Botaka and striker Lee Erwin both started in a line-up which also included Italian midfielder Tommaso Bianchi – fit again after a lay-off following knee surgery – and fellow midfielders Casper Sloth and Kalvin Phillips.

Botaka’s header gave United a 32nd-minute lead, but Hull, who had former Whites winger Robert Snodgrass in their line-up and making his way back from a long-term injury, levelled through Greg Olley (62).

United Under-21s: Grimes, Coyle, Vann, Purver, Denton, Bianchi, Phillips, Sloth, Botaka, Erwin, Mulhern. Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Stokes, Parkin, Walters, McDaid.