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Forest Green v Leeds United: Jansson sits out as Whites kick off pre-season campaign

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Pontus Jansson will be missing as Leeds United begin their pre-season friendly schedule at Forest Green Rovers tonight with the defender in the final stages of a post-World Cup break.

Jansson was given time off by Leeds after the end of Sweden’s campaign in Russia and will be absent from the squad which head coach Marcelo Bielsa uses at the New Lawn this evening.

Pontus Jansson.

Pontus Jansson.

The centre-back is expected to return to Thorp Arch later this week and involve himself in the latter stages of a busy run of friendlies. Tonight’s match is the first of six in the space of 13 days for a group of players who have been training under Bielsa for the past three weeks.

Bielsa had initially aimed to put his squad through a full month of work before their opening friendly but his plan to begin pre-season seven days earlier was scuppered by a delay in him finalising a two-year contract with Leeds.

The 62-year-old, however, wasted no time in declaring certain players surplus to requirements and he will arrive at Forest Green with a relatively small number of senior professionals having seen just two new signings materialise so far.

Goalkeeper Jamal Blackman and midfielder Lewis Baker, both of whom have arrived on season-long loans from Chelsea, are due to feature with most of the players likely to be put through 45-minute outings by Bielsa.

Marcelo Bielsa.

Marcelo Bielsa.

United have relatively few injury concerns but Vurnon Anita and Conor Shaughnessy have been recovering from ankle surgery and Tyler Roberts returned to training a fortnight ago after five months on the sidelines with a cracked shin bone. Roberts has failed to make a single appearance since his £2.5m move from West Bromwich Albion in January but Leeds expected him to feature in their pre-season programme and prove his fitness in time for the start of the Championship term.

The clash at Forest Green will be followed by Thursday’s meeting with York City and Sunday’s trip to Southend United. Bielsa’s squad play Oxford United, Guiseley and Las Palmas next week.

Tyler Roberts.

Tyler Roberts.