Leeds United goalkeeper Rob Green insisted he was confident the club would last the pace in the Championship despite Friday’s 2-0 defeat to Brighton and mounting selection problems at Elland Road.
The experienced Green backed Leeds to overcome “bumps in the road” and cope with the strain of injuries and suspensions as he attempted to draw a line under an underwhelming night at The Amex.
Leeds succumbed to an early penalty and a red card shown to Kalvin Phillips as in-form Brighton scored twice from the spot to establish a 10-point gap between United and the Championship’s automatic promotion places.
Phillips will serve a suspension against Reading tomorrow night, missing a clash with the league’s third-placed club, and head coach Garry Monk has a growing issue in the centre of midfield with Eunan O’Kane nursing a groin injury and Liam Bridcutt still to make his first-team comeback from a fractured foot.
The loss to Brighton, however, did not stop Monk’s side holding onto a position in the top six and Green remained optimistic about their chances after a strong first half of the season, playing down concerns about the depth of Monk’s resources.
“You look at the sides this season in the league and we were fourth (before the Brighton defeat) and into the play-offs,” Green said. “That’s what it makes it an interesting prospect. I think we’ve shown that we’re capable of competing, even against the supposed fancied teams.
“Numbers, when the games are coming thick and fast, can be an issue but everyone in the squad is going to get used and we’ve still got room for improvement, which is the beautiful thing. We know we can improve so there’s no reason why not.
“We’re going to get big bumps in the road and the test is pulling ourselves through it and coming through it in the next game. (Tomorrow) will be another day where we sit down and see where we are with everyone.”
Reading have surprised the Championship as much as Leeds, moving confidently into the top six after settling quickly under new boss Jaap Stam. They consolidated their position with a valuable win over Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
Leeds have not lost back-to-back league games since early September and Green said: “You’ve got to be bounce back. You don’t want to lose two games on the bounce.
“We’re on a fantastic run at home and we beat Aston Villa last week.
“If we go back to imposing ourselves on the opposition then we can do it again.
“It’s a game against another team that are going well at the top and if you’re up there then that’s the challenge. It’s better than being down the bottom, having to win to try and pull away from the opposition.”