Lee Erwin and Jordan Botaka appeared for Leeds United’s development squad today as the pair tried to put themselves back in contention for the club’s post-Christmas fixtures.
Botaka and Erwin were left out of yesterday’s Championship win over Preston North End with head coach Steve Evans voicing concerns about Erwin’s fitness and preferring other options to Botaka.
Lewie Coyle and Kalvin Phillips – both of whom also played in today’s Under-21 clash with Sheffield Wednesday – were named among the substitutes yesterday in a first-team squad which featured no fewer than seven academy products.
Evans said Erwin, a summer signing from Motherwell, could either “get fitter or go to Scotland” but said the striker was committed to an intense training plan.
Erwin has made only two appearances as a substitute since joining Leeds and spent time on loan at Bury in October.
Evans told the BBC: “Lee needs to get fitter. He can either get fitter or go to Scotland but the nice thing is he’s working hard at Thorp Arch.
“When we get him where we want - which is only where he was at Motherwell. Someone here let him go out of control – he’ll have a future at Leeds United, I’m sure.”
Botaka, meanwhile, has been promised opportunities during the Christmas period despite Evans choosing to overlook the winger for recent games against Preston and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“He missed out because I preferred different options,” Evans said. “But Jordan’s a lovely lad. He’s worked hard and he’s done nothing wrong. It was an unfortunate elimination more than anything.”
Forward Eoghan Stokes scored the only goal as Leeds’ Under-21s inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Sheffield Wednesday at Thorp Arch in their final game of 2015.
Casper Sloth and Tommaso Bianchi were also fielded by academy boss Paul Hart.
United Under-21s: Peacock-Farrell, Coyle, Vann, Purver, Denton, Sloth, Phillips, Bianchi, Botaka, Stokes, Erwin. Subs (not used): Grimes, Lyman, Parkin, Walters, McDaid.