Leeds United v Huddersfield Town: Striker inches closer to return

Chris Wood challenges Grant Hanley
Chris Wood challenges Grant Hanley
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Leeds United striker Chris Wood pushed his claim for a start in Saturday’s Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield Town with a goalscoring outing in a training-ground friendly against Peterborough United yesterday.

Wood completed an hour of the match at Thorp Arch, following up his late appearance as a substitute in Saturday’s Championship win at Blackburn Rovers and giving Steve Evans food for thought with United’s head coach looking for a fourth straight league victory this weekend.

Wood made a long-awaited comeback from a hamstring strain in the final five minutes at Ewood Park, his first senior game since the end of January, but a longer run-out yesterday put him in contention for a more prominent role against Huddersfield at Elland Road.

Evans indicated over the weekend that he was likely to keep faith with a front two of Mirco Antenucci and Souleymane Doukara following Antenucci’s run of four goals in three games and Doukara’s strike in a 2-0 win at Cardiff City last Tuesday.

Wood, however, has increased Evans’ options after being put through a careful fitness programme as United worked to prevent a recurrence of his injury. Despite his strike in yesterday’s friendly, Peterborough claimed a 3-2 win.

Evans said: “He’s worked so hard. It’s easy to say ‘get yourself in super condition’ but he’s gone and done it. He’s proved the point.

“But Doukara and Antenucci are in fine form. They work so hard for the team and that’s the first criteria here.”

Centre-back Liam Cooper missed Saturday’s game at Blackburn Rovers with a hamstring strain but will be fit to face Huddersfield Town after completing a full training session yesterday.

Midfielder Toumani Diagouraga has also overcome the muscular problem which forced Evans to replace him in the closing stages of Leeds 2-1 victory at Ewood Park.