‘Big doubt’ over Leeds United star as Daniel Farke stresses that Championship top-two battle is still a

‘Big doubt’ over Leeds United star as Daniel Farke stresses that Championship top-two battle is still a four-horse race with Leicester City, Ipswich Town and Southampton

LEEDS UNITED manager Daniel Farke has stated that crucial player Ethan Ampadu is a serious doubt for Tuesday’s Championship home game against Sunderland owing to sickness, putting his ever-present league record in risk.
The Wales international, who has been brilliant in a very consistent 2023-24 season, is battling illness.

Farke said: “There’s a question mark behind Ethan Ampadu; he’s (been) struggling with illness in the last 48 hours and was unable to train with us yesterday or today.”

“So it will be a close contest if he is available. We have a brief session tomorrow morning. To be considered for this opportunity, he must be available. However, there are concerns about his qualifications.We still have to be cautious with Connor Roberts and Willy Gnonto, and it was a pleasant surprise that they were included in the (Coventry) squad because the doctor had stated that they would be totally healthy after this week and would prepare for a short-term appearance rather than 90 minutes.

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“Both looked sharp, but Connor, in the end, felt a bit of a reaction in his muscle.

“We took him out of training yesterday. It was no new injury, but just a precaution and the same with Willy as the object data was that his muscle was a bit tired. I think, with them, they will probably both be available, but I cannot confirm if they are available for more minutes than the last game.
“In the next four or five days, we have to be a bit careful and I expect them to be fully ready for ninety minutes just for the Middlesbrough game, if I am honest.”

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Farke claims that players and staff had pondered in a’self-critical’ manner on the weekend’s setback at Coventry, United’s first in the league in 2024.

Similarly, the former Norwich manager thinks that everyone should consider ‘the wider picture’ in terms of the league table, citing Leeds’ extraordinary run this year.

The weekend witnessed further twists and turns in the fight to finish in the top two, and Farke has repeated that fourth-placed Southampton cannot be underestimated, despite a three-match losing streak and only two wins in their last eight games.

The Saints face Coventry on Tuesday, the first of three consecutive home games.

Farke continued, “It’s critical to consider the big picture.

“Around Christmas, when we were 17 points behind Leicester, if someone had told me that with five games to go, we would be only two points behind them – okay, they have one game in hand – and several points ahead of Southampton, many people would have said it was unrealistic.

“We’ve done it, and there’s a lot to be proud of. It’s vital to view the big picture.

“We also need to discuss how we might improve.

“Also, Southampton is still in the race. They face the most tough and convoluted position to finish in the top two, but they have skill and have previously demonstrated the ability to win several games in a row.

“Four teams remain in contention for the top two spots. It’ll be a tight contest.

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