'We can't be naive' - Leeds United alert to potential transfer need as injury absence continues

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Willy Gnonto could boost Leeds United's attacking options for the game against Norwich City but Pascal Struijk's return remains up in the air.

Gnonto was absent from the squad that faced Preston at Elland Road on Sunday with a hip flexor problem. The Italian international sat out for a spell earlier in the season after surgery for an ankle injury and has struggled to break into the starting XI thanks to the form of Daniel James. Boss Daniel Farke hopes to welcome Gnonto back to the matchday squad when the Canaries visit Elland Road on Wednesday night.

"All players who were in contention for the last game are available for the next game," said Farke. "Some progress with Willy Gnonto, he has not joined us in team training so far but we have a session this afternoon. He was out for the last 12 days. We'll make a late decision, he could perhaps become a topic for the squad but not for the starting XI. I expect him at least to be back for Saturday. Pascal Struijk still out, but that's it."

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Leeds have been without Struijk since the Boxing Day defeat at Preston North End due to a groin issue that is expected to keep him out of the games against Norwich City and Plymouth Argyle at least. It was initially hoped that the Dutchman's absence would be short but Farke says the club are monitoring him closely and also keeping their options open in the January transfer window in case they need to act.

"We will assess him over the next few days and hopefully he will be back soon," said Farke. "We will assess him also over next next days pretty pretty carefully, so hopefully he can return soon and then it would also ease up a bit on the centre-back position our situation. We have to for what the next days will bring because actually, we were hoping that he would return after a light problem pretty soon but meanwhile it's been four and a half weeks. We can't be naive, we also have to assess each and every day what happens with this position."

Leeds do have Charlie Cresswell in reserve at centre-half but Farke has made it clear the youngster will not be picked until his situation is clarified. His perception that the defender was not fully focused on matchdays due to his desire to play for Leeds and a lack of minutes and his message to Cresswell has been to either come to him and insist he’s ready to accept his role and fight for gametime or find a club who can meet the club’s valuation of him.