Charlie Cresswell back in Leeds United fold as Daniel Farke considers FA Cup changes

Charlie Cresswell is back in the Leeds United fold and could make his first appearance since August as Daniel Farke looks to freshen his team in the FA Cup fourth round.

Since Leeds went out of the League Cup at the second-round stage, Cresswell's only appearance has come as an 89th-minute substitute at home to Queens Park Rangers in October.

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Now, though, he has made up, saving Leeds the headache of having to look for another centre-back in a transfer window where they could do with strengthening in at least one full-back position, preferably both.

With Farke looking to add freshness beyond changes enforced by injuries to Archie Gray, Dan James and Pascal Struijk, it could even mean only a seventh Leeds start, and second of the campaign, at home to Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

"He was in training in the last weeks and pretty professional, and absolutely open and honest," said Farke of the son of former Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, York City and Tadcaster Albion striker Richard. "We have agreed we wanted to use this January window to make sure where his futre is and where his mind is.

"I said I won't call him to the matchday squad until he's really ready to go and knows exactly where his place is and what he wants to do. We had conversations in the last few days, he made clear he has thought about his position.

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"He definitely wants to stay and is ready for the fight and that's always good news.

RECONCILED: Leeds United centre-back Charlie CresswellRECONCILED: Leeds United centre-back Charlie Cresswell
RECONCILED: Leeds United centre-back Charlie Cresswell

"I was not annoyed about the situation because it's understandable, he has a CV where he was a regular starter at this level last season (on loan at Millwall). He's a proud and confident young player and I like this about Charlie.

"It was quite normal as a human being that when you're not playing that much, as a young player you're over-thinking the situation.

"We had good conversations in the last days so right now the door is open. He has to impress on the training pitch and when he gets his chance, use it."

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Leeds are facing Championship opponents whose midfield will be weakened by the fact Darko Gyabi is ineligible as he is on loan from them, and their former player Adam Forshaw is cup-tied.

The temptation will therefore be there to make changes.

"We take this game more than seriously," insisted Farke. "We are a deep believer in cup runs. Whenever we represent Leeds United we want to be at our best and this is also an important game for us."

But there was a caveat: "It's necessary to find a good balance, not just because of resting but because the feeling is of competition in the squad. Some more recovered players with fresh legs are more beneficial for this game and for that there will be some changes."

James is out of Saturday’s game and next week's Championship trip to Bristol City with an adductor injury. Struijk will also miss both, but will be further assessed next week. Gray has a bruised knee, but is expected in training next week.

Willy Gnonto is fit again and should have his eye on James' place.

This is the last round of this season's competition where ties go to a replay if scores are level after 90 minutes.