THOMAS CHRISTIANSEN is optimistic that Pablo Hernandez will make Leeds United’s trip to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday despite limping out of a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
Hernandez suffered a hamstring strain during Friday night’s game at Elland Road and was substituted before half-time but Christiansen said the decision to withdraw the midfielder quickly could allow him to feature at Loftus Road this weekend.
Hernandez turned in another influential performance against Villa, laying on the opening goal for Pontus Jansson with a delivery from a corner and Christiansen admitted afterwards that the loss of the experienced Spaniard had contributed to Villa’s second-half fightback.
The injury is the latest to hit Leeds, who were already without Stuart Dallas, Eunan O’Kane and Pierre-Michel Lasogga on Friday. Dallas missed out with an ankle problem while Eunan O’Kane failed to fully recover from a hip problem sustained in a 2-0 win at Barnsley. Lasogga has missed the past four matches through a combination of injury and illness but was due to resume full training with Christiansen’s squad this week.
Asked about Hernandez’s set-back, Christiansen said: “He had a muscle problem which he felt a little bit. In that moment he was clever and he understood that it’s better to come out so it didn’t get worse.”
Hernandez’s form since regaining his place in Christiansen’s line-up last month has been a telling factor in the club’s recovery from a run of seven defeats in nine games.
O’Kane, meanwhile, was replaced in central midfield by an impressive Ronaldo Vieira on Friday and Christiansen said: “Eunan would not have been 100 per cent.
“In these games I need players who are 100 per cent ready. But I believe that Stuey will be close (for QPR), Eunan will be there. Pablo I also believe will be there.”
Jansson required treatment after a second-half challenge with Villa’s Neil Taylor, a collision which allowed Henri Lansbury to equalise, but Christiansen said: “It’s a knock but he’s okay.”
He had a muscle problem which he felt a little bit. In that moment he was clever and he understood that it’s better to come out so it didn’t get worse.Leeds United coach, Thomas Christiansen