Jansson set to hand Leeds United major boost by returning for Blades clash

Pontus Jansson is stretchered out of Saturday's defeat to Cardiff City.
Pontus Jansson is stretchered out of Saturday's defeat to Cardiff City.

Pontus Jansson looks set to hand Leeds United and new head coach Paul Heckingbottom a major boost by playing in Saturday’s Yorkshire derby at Sheffield United.

The defender was stretchered out of last weekend’s 4-1 defeat to Cardiff City but according to posts by a relative of Jansson’s on Twitter, he will be available for Heckingbottom’s first game in charge at Bramall Lane.

Pontus Jansson goes down after a collision with Cardiff defender Sol Bamba.

Pontus Jansson goes down after a collision with Cardiff defender Sol Bamba.

Heckingbottom, who replaced Thomas Christiansen at Elland Road following Christiansen’s sacking on Sunday, faced the prospect of heading into Saturday’s game with Matthew Pennington as his only available centre-back.

Liam Cooper is continuing to serve a four-match ban and Conor Shaughnessy is missing through injury but Jansson could be back in the team this weekend, despite being carried off after half-an-hour of the meeting with Cardiff.

He and Cardiff defender Sol Bamba were involved in an off-the-ball collision inside Cardiff’s box, leading United’s medical staff to call for the stretcher.

Bamba later insisted the clash was accidental, saying: “We both slipped and I caught his ankle. It was an accident. I’ve been in to apologise and I hope he’s not too badly injured.”

Christiansen initially indicated that Jansson would miss the clash with Sheffield United and Leeds have made no comment on his fitness since sending the centre-back for scans over the weekend.

But writing on Twitter, Peter Jansson, the defender’s brother, said he was “ready for Paul’s selection on Saturday.”

United are in serious need of a positive result at Bramall Lane after six league games without a win left the club seven points adrift of the play-offs.

Heckingbottom has two others players available to him after midfielders Eunan O'Kane and Kalvin Phillips completed three and two-match suspensions respectively.