Leeds United: Whites have strength for the battle

Leeds United manager Simon Grayson believes the strength of his squad will be a major advantage in the coming weeks after emerging from the injury crisis which troubled him earlier in the season.

Grayson has entered the Christmas period with the vast majority of his players fit and available, and only Richard Naylor and Patrick Kisnorbo are likely to miss the glut of Championship games around December 25.

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Club captain Naylor is recovering after knee surgery and Kisnorbo has travelled to America to continue his recovery from a serious Achilles injury, but Grayson had no other concerns as he prepared for yesterday's trip to Burnley.

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United's boss was beset by selection issues two months ago, when his list of absentees ran close to double figures, but he believes the gradual return of influential players is behind the promising run of form which has taken the club back towards the Championship's play-off places.

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Grayson said: "We've got just about everyone available for selection and that's a major thing for me.

"Eight weeks ago we had 10 or 12 people out injured and we didn't have the depth we needed.

"When we were losing the game (against Crystal Palace) last weekend, you looked at our bench and saw Ross McCormack, Billy Paynter, Lloyd Sam and Davide Somma. Sanchez Watt wasn't even in the 18.

"But those players have to be aware that, while they're out of the team, they need to stay fit and sharp so they can influence games from the bench.

"If they do that, they've got a great chance of starting the next game.

"Everyone's going to get a chance in the Christmas period.

"Strength in depth was a big reason for our success last year and

that's one of the reasons why we've been doing well in the last few weeks."

Grayson, meanwhile, laughed off suggestions that he might send Somma out of Elland Road on loan following bizarre reports of a temporary move to Swansea City.

Somma was wrongly reported to have joined Swansea on loan this week, despite the recent closure of the emergency loan window and the striker's impressive form for Leeds this season.

"The window's shut and that was obviously a misunderstanding," said Grayson.

"I've no intention of sending Davide Somma on loan to anybody."

Pontus Jansson heads in the winner against Norwich. PIC: Simon Hulme

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