Thomas Christiansen hopes to see his defence return to full strength this weekend with striker Caleb Ekuban the only remaining injury concern at Leeds United.
Christiansen said he was confident that Liam Cooper, Pontus Jansson and Matthew Pennington would all be in contention for Saturday’s meeting with Ipswich Town, giving the United head coach a full complement of centre-backs for the first time this season. Cooper has missed the last two games with a back injury while Jansson limped out of last weekend’s defeat at Millwall with a hamstring problem.
Pennington, meanwhile, is vying for his first appearance since the opening game of the season having nursed ankle ligament damage throughout the past month. Leeds have dealt with a long line of injuries this term but Ekuban – sent for an operation on a broken foot bone last month and likely to be out until November – is Christiansen’s only confirmed absentee.
Asked whether Cooper, Jansson and Pennington would be available to face Ipswich, Christiansen said: “They will probably all be in (contention). The only player we have injured is Caleb.”
Christiansen used the full range of his squad during Tuesday’s Carabao Cup win over Burnley, making nine changes and handing a start to goalkeeper Andy Lonergan.
Lonergan, who is into his second spell at Leeds, stepped in for first choice Felix Wiedwald and helped United progress with a series of saves in normal time and a crucial block from James Tarkowski during the penalty shoot-out.
“I have a very good goalkeeper, he’d proved that and I was anxious to see him action,” Christiansen said. “He’s had a very good attitude in training and my expectation of him was fulfilled with his (performance).”
Hadi Sacko also made the most of a rare opportunity, coming off the bench to score the opening goal in a tie which ended 2-2 after extra-time.
“He came in, scored a good goal and did good work. I know I have a good squad.”