Leeds United captain Sol Bamba is being lined up for a return from injury against Hull City as head coach Steve Evans fights to regain control of the club’s season.
Bamba has been nursing a fractured toe for the past fortnight but Evans believes the centre-back has a “big chance” of being fit for this weekend’s Yorkshire derby at Elland Road – and admitted: “We’d love our captain back.”
The Ivory Coast international lost his place in United’s line-up after incurring a one-match ban last month but an injury sustained during the recent international break prevented Evans from including him in his squads for last weekend’s defeat to Rotherham United or Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Queens Park Rangers.
Back-to-back defeats have put pressure on Leeds and Evans following a brief turnaround in the aftermath of his appointment as head coach and the Scot made only one addition to his squad during the emergency loan market, signing midfielder Liam Bridcutt from Sunderland until January.
Bamba’s return would help to strengthen his hand, however, and the experienced centre-back could start against Hull after Evans criticised parts of Giuseppe Bellusci’s performance at Loftus Road.
“Sol’s got a real chance of being ready for Hull,” Evans said.
“I must admit I had a couple of concerns with Bellusci in the second half (at QPR). To be fair to him and Cooper, we defended well – especially Cooper – but we’d love our captain back.”
Leeds fell to 17th in the Championship after a tepid display on Saturday which ended with an away crowd of more than 3,000 berating Evans and his players.
Evans said: “There are players here who cost a lot of money or are on a lot of money. They need to stand up and be counted now.
“The supporters hurt no matter where Leeds United get beat. They’re entitled to not be happy.”