Transfer window is pivotal to Leeds United in their push for the top

Leeds United's Pontus Jansson (left) and Aston Villa's Jonathan Kodija (right) battle for the ball during the Championship match at Villa Park, Birmingham.
Leeds United's Pontus Jansson (left) and Aston Villa's Jonathan Kodija (right) battle for the ball during the Championship match at Villa Park, Birmingham.
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LEEDS United’s head coach Garry Monk is in relaxed mood ahead of the January transfer window opening for business.

United start the new year in fine fettle, a run of eight wins from 11 games having propelled them into the play-off spots.

Just Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion, the Championship’s pace-setting duo, have beaten Leeds during that sequence and another victory on Monday at home to struggling Rotherham United would further underline United’s burgeoning promotion hopes.

Amid all these positives, however, there remains a transfer window that could be pivotal to those dreams of a Premier League return.

Charlie Taylor is into the final six months of his deal and on the radar of several top-flight managers, while supporters are desperate to see the futures of loan pair Pontus Jansson and Pablo Hernandez tied down.

A clause in Jansson’s August switch to Elland Road stated a deal could be made permanent for £3.5m in January if he had made 20 appearances, a tally the Swede will reach if he faces the Millers. Hernandez, meanwhile, joined on a six-month deal from Al-Arabi last summer with a view to a permanent move following in January.

Kyle Bartley is another loanee who has played a pivotal role this term, but it is understood a break clause in his switch from Swansea City is in Leeds’s favour and, therefore, he cannot be recalled to South Wales against Monk’s wishes.

“Everything is going to be taken care of internally,” said United’s head coach when asked about the upcoming window.

“I don’t think there are any worries for any of us or any of our players.

“They are committed and the club are working behind the scenes to make sure everything is done when it needs to be done and dealt with in the right way.”

Pressed on Jansson, a cult hero at Elland Road, Monk added: “That is also (going to be) internally dealt with and we are all very comfortable with that.

“We have the option and it will be for us to decide, but Pontus is very committed, you can see that from his performances. Internally, we deal with all these matters properly.”

Taylor could return against the Millers from a sore Achilles, while Bartley is hoping to recover from the knee injury that kept the defender out in the 1-1 draw at Aston Villa. Eunan O’Kane, however, is not expected to be fit.

On Monday’s game, Monk added: “Rotherham are fighting and scrapping for every point. But it is a local derby, and we will be expected to win it at home.”