Pontus Jansson all set for immediate Leeds United return

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PONTUS JANSSON looks set to make an immediate return to the Leeds United side for Saturday’s Championship clash at Sheffield United with new Whites head coach Paul Heckingbottom reporting the Swede as “fine” after his ankle injury.

Centre-back Jansson was stretchered off after half an hour of last weekend’s 4-1 loss at home to Cardiff City and former head coach Thomas Christiansen said immediately after the game that the defender would miss the clash at Bramall Lane.

But new Leeds head coach Heckingbottom has revealed that Jansson trained as normal today, providing the Whites with a welcome boost amidst a raft of absentees in defence.

Fellow centre-back and captain Liam Cooper remains suspended for another two games following his second red card of the season while Gaetano Berardi now begins a two-match ban for his dismissal in last weekend’s loss against Cardiff.

Conor Shaughnessy is also recovering from an ankle injury while Luke Ayling is out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair damaged cartilage to his ankle.

Star no 10 playmaker Samu Saiz also remains banned for another two games.

Pontus Jansson.

Pontus Jansson.

Heckingbottom will, though, have midfielders Eunan O’Kane and Kalvin Phillips back from suspension but striker Caleb Ekuban remains sidelined as he continues to recover from breaking a bone in his foot while doubts still concern the participation of deadline day striker signing Tyler Roberts who arrived at the club having taken a knock.

“Pontus has trained, he trained today so he is fine,” said Heckingbottom.

“It is a boost because that’s where the majority of the players missing are.

“If we can get him on the pitch, if we can get him involved on Saturday then it will be great because that is an area where when someone comes in and you look at the available players, that is an area where we are light.

If we can get him on the pitch, if we can get him involved on Saturday then it will be great because that is an area where when someone comes in and you look at the available players, that is an area where we are light.

Leeds United head coach, Paul Heckingbottom

“The sooner we can get a few defensive players back the better.”

Asked for the latest situation on Roberts, Heckingbottom revealed: “It’s still the same.

“He’s still not 100 per cent.

“We did a light session today and he was involved so we will see how he reacts after that.”

Pontus Jansson injures his ankle against Cardiff City.

Pontus Jansson injures his ankle against Cardiff City.

Asked if he thought Roberts could feature and make his Whites debut against the Blades, United’s new head coach said: “Possibly.

“We have got a lot to factor in and not only that but for the long term as well.

“Tyler is someone who I have seen play quite a lot and I have spoken to his agent a number of times about taking him on loan myself so I know about Tyler.

“But I’m also about making people better and people earning places in the team and earning the right to play and if people aren’t ready, there are people out training every day who are ready.

“We have to make sure that, one, he is right to play and we can improve him whilst we are working with him and secondly that he deserves to play.”

Providing an update on Ekuban, Heckingbottom said; “It’s similar as well.

“He has been on the pitch, been on grass with us and, again, he’s had a few weeks out.

“It’s the same sort of assessment (as Roberts).”

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