Leeds United boss reveals training plan for upcoming stress test as Daniel Farke confirms line-up mix

Bruce Rollinson
Leeds United manager Daniel Farke says he is likely to rotate his starting line-up over the festive period in order to guard against players picking up workload-related knocks and injuries.

Farke says Leeds will 'listen to the science' with regards to player fitness over the next fortnight, in which United are scheduled to play four times. Leeds first host Ipswich Town tomorrow lunchtime in what could prove to be an especially consequential fixture in the grand scheme of the Whites' season, before travelling to Preston North End and West Bromwich Albion over the next six days. Leeds' festive fixture schedule concludes on New Year's Day with a home game against Birmingham City.

The United boss admitted on Thursday it was hardly a secret that he would rotate his options over this period. Farke has tended not to make sweeping changes to his starting line-ups this season, however the quick turnaround between fixtures at the midway point of an already demanding campaign is likely to force his hand.

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Fortunately, Leeds have options in reserve with cover in most positions for those who have played central roles so far this season. The likes of Willy Gnonto, Jaidon Anthony and Ilia Gruev have seen decidedly fewer minutes than many would have anticipated, although this is largely due to the good form of first-choice options.

"I think it's important to listen to the science, listen to the data," Farke said in his pre-Ipswich press conference. "Each and every day we analyse for example, data about recovery and how tired players are or if there is an injury risk. We take a lot of care and try to manage the load also in training."

"You have to be smart and even more focused on good recovery, good habits in terms of good nutrition, enough sleep. Timing the training sessions is always a bit tricky for example when you have a difficult away game in the evening on the 29th [West Brom] and you are just back home and the players are not in bed before early morning, three or four o'clock in the morning and two days later you have to play the next game.

"You have to adapt the training times a bit and you have to be smart on your recovery," Farke added.

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Leeds have not struggled with injuries this season as much as previous years, however with matches coming thick and fast the squad will be put to the test.

"I think it's also not a secret that I would predict we won't start all four games in ten days with the same starting line-up," Farke admitted. "You have to mix it up a little bit, that's also quite normal, that's what we always do, this is more or less the approach but I'm obviously used to this period on this level.

"Yes, although it's a family time of year Christmas - not for the football players. We have to be focused on the games and this is what we will do."

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