Leeds United left-back Charlie Taylor remains a fortnight away from a return to training as the club continue to wait on his recovery from an Achilles problem.
Taylor has been absent for almost two months with an injury sustained a week before Christmas, but Leeds are pencilling him in to resume light training later this month having resisted interest in the 23-year-old during the transfer window.
United’s current player of the year was expected to attract firm bids last month having entered the last six months of his deal and declined invitations to discuss a contract extension, but an injury suffered in a 1-0 win over Brentford on December 17 sidelined him throughout January. Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion are continuing to monitor Taylor with a view to signing him for a tribunal fee when his contract at Elland Road expires in June, but Monk intends to use him during the Championship run-in and hopes Taylor will rejoin the season quickly after returning to full training.
“We’re hopeful that in the next 10 to 14 days he’ll be back out on the training pitch,” Monk said. “Time’s the healer. That’s the unfortunate thing with his injury. With a lot of other injuries you get a proper timescale and it generally goes to that schedule.
“He’s progressed very well and he’s not far away but we’re thinking he’ll be another 10 to 14 days. We’re lucky with Charlie because he’s such a natural athlete and it’s not going to take him long to get back up to speed. But he’ll need some work when he does comes back.”
Leeds have used Gaetano Berardi to fill the left side of defence in the absence of Taylor, who has now missed nine successive fixtures, and the Swiss defender will start again at Huddersfield Town on Sunday.
Liam Cooper is back in contention for this weekend’s derby after serving a one-match ban during Wednesday night’s 2-1 win at Blackburn Rovers. The centre-back was sent off in Leeds’ FA Cup defeat at Sutton United.