Gang of four to kick-start snappy New Year for Leeds United

First published in Sport

FOUR senior players were poised to return for Leeds United’s Roses clash at home to Bolton Wanderers today.

Strikers Luciano Becchio, El-Hadji Diouf, and Jerome Thomas could all return after missing the 2-0 defeat at Hull City.

Meanwhile, skipper Lee Peltier, whose groin injury kept him out of a clash against one of his former clubs, may also bounce back today.

Said United manager Neil Warnock: “Beccs had a little bit of a knock on his thigh and it wasn’t worth the risk at Hull with Bolton coming up so quickly. Hopefully, he’ll be okay.

“Dioufy was the same. I thought with Bolton coming up it was important to give him a breather and give Ross (McCormack) 90 minutes.

“Jerome Thomas was also struggling with two games in four days. I decided Bolton was more important for those players than Hull.”

If Peltier returns he will help stiffen a defence now shorn of Aidy White, whose fifth booking of the season against Hull means he starts the new year suspended.

Warnock will be hoping his charges can reproduce the stirring form of their last outing at Elland Road, where they beat promotion pushing Middlesbrough 2-1.

Said the Leeds chief: “You don’t want to lose any game, never mind back to back, but it’s how you pick yourself up.

“We’ve had two tough games at Hull and Forest, but I thought we could have won at Forest.”

Warnock, who is hoping to swiftly recruit at least a couple of new players in the first week of the transfer window, added: “We have to get straight back into it. We’ve played well at Elland Road and we have to be raring to go.”

Bolton, who are managed by former Leeds striker Dougie Freedman, and who have struggled to adapt to life in the npower Championship since dropping out of the elite division, have doubts over striking duo David Ngog and Benik Afobe.

Republic of Ireland international midfielder Keith Andrews is also battling an Achilles injury to be fit for the Roses showdown.

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