Leeds United Championship rivals Leicester City could lose six players for a month in big promotion boost

Leeds United are set for a significant boost in their bid to close the gap on Championship promotion rivals and current first-placed side Leicester City.

The Whites are without a number of players this week and next as the final international break of 2023 gets underway. As many as 18 Leeds players could be in action for their countries at senior and youth international level, which is among the highest number of absentees of any Championship club.

After this month's international fixtures are complete, the next global break in the domestic football calendar will be in March, except for teams with players at the Africa Cup of Nations, which is due to take place in January and February next year.

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The tournament scheduled to be hosted in the Ivory Coast will run from 13 January – 11 February, 2024, and will be comprised of 24 teams. Presently, Leeds do not have a single senior player in Daniel Farke's squad who is eligible to represent a country at next year's AFCON tournament, although England youth international Darko Gyabi could declare for Ghana due to his parentage. His participation at the Finals is altogether unlikely, though, given he is an active England U20 squad member and yet to receive an approach by the Ghanaian Football Association.

Leicester on the other hand, could be without a number of players, on an international secondment to the tournament. Nigerian duo Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho, Zambia's Patson Daka and Ghanaian teenager Abdul Fatawu are all highly likely to be selected for their respective nations.

Meanwhile, summer signing Stephy Mavididi remains eligible for the Democratic Republic of Congo and has been approached previously by the country's federation with a view to representing the Leopards. Fringe attacker Wanya Marçal Madivádua could also join up with Angola, alongside ex-Whites winger Helder Costa, for the tournament if he receives a call-up.

In all, the Foxes could be without six first-team players for up to a month, including a throng of attackers. Iheanacho, Fatawu and Mavididi all featured against Leeds during United's 1-0 win at the King Power Stadium earlier this month, while Ndidi has established himself as a stalwart of the successful Leicester sides of the recent past since signing from KRC Genk in 2017. The Nigerian has made over 200 league appearances for the Foxes.

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