Brighton v Leeds Utd: Statistics point way to sharper Chris Wood, says Steve Evans

HEAD COACH Steve Evans expects Leeds United's top scorer Chris Wood to return to action in much leaner shape.

Chris Wood is treated for the hamstring injury that has kept the Leeds United striker on the sidelines (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).

The New Zealand international has missed the last five games with a hamstring problem and is not expected to be fit for Monday night’s trip to Brighton & Hove Albion.

However, Wood could return against Bolton Wanderers a week today in what would be a welcome boost for a side that has found scoring a problem.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

United have netted just 30 goals in 32 league outings this term, with Wood contributing eight of those despite not having played since the 1-1 draw at Brentford on January 26.

“With Chris Wood, his body is a temple,” said Evans. “But we have made it more lean, more mean and more keen.

“We have looked at the best statistics of his career, what kind of weight ratio he had then and all that stuff. The big man has bought into it.

“The performances will be the judge, but I am just saying people will see him leaner and meaner. And I mean meaner in terms of power and performance.

“Everyone inside the training camp and the training centre here at Thorp Arch sees it on a daily basis, how much sharper he is looking and how much better he is looking.

“The performances will be the judge of that, but he deserves enormous credit for taking it on board and going and doing it.

“It is easy to talk about it, it is harder to do it.”

Monday’s trip to Brighton is likely to come too soon for Wood, but Evans added: “Possibly for Bolton, but I will just let people be the judge when they see Chris Wood as to whether they see a Chris Wood that this football club signed, in terms of lean, mean, hungry, ready to go.

“We could play him at Brighton, but there would be the same element of risk that we had at Brentford and that just cannot be an option. He has worked so hard.”