Leeds United: Mowatt is expected to make swift comeback

Alex Mowatt celebrates scoring against Birmingham City.
Alex Mowatt celebrates scoring against Birmingham City.
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Leeds United expect Alex Mowatt to make a quick comeback from injury after X-rays allayed fears that the young midfielder had broken a toe.

Mowatt is likely to miss Saturday’s derby against Huddersfield Town with heavy bruising but caretaker boss Neil Redfearn said the 19-year-old would be out for “days rather than weeks.”

Mowatt’s recent return to the fold at Leeds looked set to be short-lived after Redfearn omitted him from United’s win over Bournemouth with a problem which troubled him at Birmingham City last weekend.

An injection helped Mowatt to start and score in a 1-1 draw at St Andrews – only his second appearance of the season – but he was sent for medical examinations at the start of this week amid suspicions that he was suffering from a fractured toe.

But Redfearn said: “The X-rays have shown that it’s just bad bruising. We feared for him at first because we thought it was a crack.

“He might miss the Huddersfield game but I think it’ll be days rather than weeks for him, which is obviously good news.

“He had an injection in it on Saturday, just to numb it slightly and get him through, but he did get through it. They make them tough in Donny.”

Doncaster-born Mowatt regained a place in United’s side after Redfearn’s appointment as caretaker last month, making his first start of the term against Bolton Wanderers and featuring again at St Andrews.

The club’s former Under-18s captain was overlooked completely by former head coach David Hockaday, who owner Massimo Cellino sacked less than a month into the Championship term, and he talked on Monday about his relief at being back in the thick of the senior squad.

“Since Redders has been involved I’ve been in the team but also back in and around the squad,” Mowatt said. “I’m pleased about that because I came through and played a lot of games last season and I want to keep improving and moving forward.

“I did have a few injuries but the new gaffer (Hockaday) came in and I don’t think I really had a place in his plans. He had a big squad and I’m not sure I was his type of player.

“I mustn’t have been his type of player. But that’s just football and things change.”

Leeds outclassed Bournemouth in Mowatt’s absence on Tuesday, fighting back from a goal down to take three points from Dean Court with second-half goals from Souleymane Doukara, Giuseppe Bellusci and Mirco Antenucci.

Redfearn was in charge as caretaker for the third game running and could remain in control for Saturday’s clash with Huddersfield as United owner Massimo Cellino attempts to finalise the appointment of a new head coach.

Cellino is looking to secure the services of Sturm Graz boss Darko Milanic, a Slovenian who previously coached at Maribor, and Leeds are confident of securing a deal to buy him out of a contract which runs until the end of the 2015-16 Austrian season.

Redfearn is likely to be given some first-team responsibilities under Hockaday’s successor, combining senior duties with his job as academy manager, and the 49-year-old said he would be passing on a squad with raw talent and much potential.

“I know Massimo’s got a coach in mind,” Redfearn said. “Whoever comes in, they need to understand that this is a big club. They need to understand that the club and the owner are passionate.

“But he’ll have good players to work with, I’ve got to say that. They’re a young group, they’re impressionable and they’re going to get better. This might just be the start of something.”

PERFECT RESPONSE: From Leeds United captain Liam Cooper, pictured right, celebrating the only goal of the game with Gjanni Alioski, centre, and Gaetano Berardi.

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