CHARLIE Taylor is poised to return to training after a two-month lay off with injury tomorrow, with head coach Garry Monk admitting: “It’s great to have Charlie back”.
Taylor injured his Achilles in the second half of the Championship clash at home to Brentford on December 17 and has been unavailable for United’s 13 games since then.
But the 23-year-old left-back is finally set to return to training at Thorp Arch tomorrow, with Monk having said last week that the York-born defender would “not need too long” to return to full fitness. Gaetano Berardi has been operating at left-back in Taylor’s absence.
“He should be back in training on Tuesday so he is pencilled in for then,” said Monk, asked when Taylor would return.
“It’s great to have Charlie back and he will come into the squad.
“But we will have to have a good look at him and assess him.
“We know where he is physically, but but once he is back out on to the pitches with ourselves then we will have a good look at him and see when he is available for selection.”
Full-back Taylor will return to a defence in which right-back Luke Ayling and centre-back Kyle Bartley are both one booking away from picking up a two-match ban.
Ayling and Bartley both have nine yellow cards each and a tenth caution
before the cut off date of the second Sunday in March would mean a two-game suspension.
Fifth-placed Leeds have four more games to play before the cut off date, starting with this Saturday lunch-time’s Championship showdown with sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road, a game that is potentially vital to United’s quest to finish in the play-offs.
Centre-back Pontus Jansson already has 12 yellow cards for the season and will pick up a three-game ban if reaching 15 at any stage of the remainder of the campaign.
Taylor’s return could be particularly important in the event of suspensions as right back Ayling gives Leeds a fourth option at centre back after Jansson, Bartley and Liam Cooper.
Monk will; now run the rule over Taylor at Thorp Arch with a view to when the defender will make a competitive return.
Monk said: “It’s an interesting one with Charlie because he is naturally probably the fittest or one of the fittest players in the squad.
“I’ve seen many players like that over the years where they can be out for a long period and not need too long to get back to it.
“Of course, we need to make sure the programme is followed and we know where he is fitness-wise.
“But when he is back out on the pitches and into the football sessions we will have to assess him and see where we think he’s at and make judgement accordingly to that.
“What we can assume is that being in Charlie’s favour is naturally he is probably one of the fittest players in the league.
“He’s that type of body type – lucky for him – and I wish I had that when I was playing and coming out of a rehab situation.
“He will be fine and we will judge it accordingly when we see him back out on the pitches.”