Leeds United set to be without key defender for Millwall clash

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Leeds United are set to be without defensive enforcer Pontus Jansson for the visit of Millwall at the end of March.

The Lions’ next action after the international break is against the Championship promotion-chasers.

And Leeds’ 1-0 home reverse to Sheffield United last weekend – which saw them slip out of the automatic promotion spots – had a further setback with Jansson twisting his knee in a tackle with Billy Sharp.

The Swedish international, 28, pulled out of his country’s European Championship qualifiers against Romania and Norway and is expected to be sidelined for a maximum of three weeks.

Leeds do not believe the centre-back will return to the first-team fold until the April 6 trip to Birmingham City.

Swiss international Gaetano Berardi is the likely replacement. He tore his hamstring muscle off the bone in a 2-0 win over Ipswich Town in October.

Leeds’ medical staff sat down with Berardi, who had been first-choice alongside Liam Cooper, and decided against surgery which could have ruled him out between six to nine months.

United also have injury doubts  over Adam Forshaw, who has missed eight matches with a knee problem.

Striker Kemar Roofe, absent with knee ligament damage, is not far away from a return. The 26-year-old has scored 14 goals this season but has been missing since February 13.

Leeds forward Patrick Bamford reckons the break from league action has come at the wrong time.

The ex-Crystal Palace striker said: “When you lose, if you asked most of the boys, if there was a game on Tuesday then they’d have preferred that than having two weeks off.”

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