Wood fights to return for Leeds’ ‘must-win’ encounter

Chris Wood.

Chris Wood.

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Steve Evans is crossing his fingers for the return of Chris Wood this weekend after opting not to gamble on the striker’s fitness in Tuesday night’s defeat at Ipswich Town.

Wood is bidding to put himself in contention for Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at Sheffield Wednesday, having missed Leeds United’s last three games with a hamstring strain.

The forward sustained a minor injury during last month’s 2-2 draw with Derby and has not featured since.

Evans, who is looking to sign at least one new striker in the January window, played Souleymane Doukara alone up front against Ipswich but despite the Frenchman scoring after just 13 seconds, Ipswich fought back to claim a 2-1 victory with two second-half goals.

Doukara’s early effort was one of just two shots on target and Evans is hopeful that Wood will recover in time to strengthen his hand ahead of a trip to Hillsborough which United’s head coach said Leeds had to win.

The Elland Road club slipped 12 points back from the Championship play-offs after their defeat at Portman Road.

Evans said: “Was he (Wood) close? No, not really. It was maybe 60-40 and if we were two games away from the end of the season then we could have played him.

“The medical staff have worked him really hard so we’ll see what reaction he’s got and, if he’s come through his hard work, he’ll be fit for Saturday. If he’s still feeling it, then it might be a problem.”

Evans said that Tom Adeyemi’s absence from the last two squads was a “form issue,” saying the Cardiff loanee had looked “sloppy and a bit laboured”.

Evans admitted a poor display at Ipswich had again highlighted the need for new signings.

Leeds have secured Sunderland’s Liam Bridcutt and Middlesbrough’s Mustapha Carayol on loan in this window but Norwich City are refusing to discuss a temporary deal for striker Kyle Lafferty.

Celtic will attempt to kill United’s interest in midfielder Tom Rogic by offering the Australia international a new deal.

Evans said: “We’ve got some good players here, we know that, but we need to get some quality into the club.

“We’ve been close with a couple. It’s frustrating because we’re trying to sign better players and better players normally come from better levels.

“Therefore, it’s up to other people behind me to try and sometimes get them through. Everyone knows we need to improve the quality.”

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