LEEDS UNITED have opened formal talks with midfield play-maker Pablo Hernandez regarding a new deal.
The Spaniard, who joined Leeds from Qatari club Al-Arabi in August 2016, has proved one of the club’s most consistent players in a disappointing league campaign, with the club keen to extend his current contract, which expires in June.
Hernandez may turn 33 next month, but his positive performances have swayed the club towards offering fresh terms, with the former Swansea City player having netted seven goals in all competitions and provided seven assists.
Meanwhile, misfiring Sunderland loan striker Ashley Fletcher has been handed a vote of confidence by manager Chris Coleman, who is backing the confidence-sapped Middlesbrough loanee to dig deep and come through the most challenging spell in his career.
The ex-Barnsley loanee has netted just once this season for Boro since his £6.5m summer move from West Ham and has yet to score for the rock-bottom Wearsiders, who elected to pair teenagers Joel Asoro and Josh Maja up front last weekend.
Coleman said: “He has found it tough coming into a struggling team. He is coming into a club with a lot of uncertainty, he has had one or two moments in games where if he hits the back of the net, things could be different.
“He will come through it, but with Josh and Joel, they are also young but they like playing together, especially when we play two up top.”
Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka has hinted he may revisit a move for Hull City captain Michael Dawson in the summer after the Tigers pulled the plug on a switch back in January.
On a City Ground return for the ex-Reds defender, Karanka said: “I am not sure… because Michael is a player who knows the league; he is a player I have a really good relationship with.
“He knows the club and would love to come here. Let us see what happens, because this kind of player is not the kind of player you have to need (in a positional sense) exactly.
“And you do not look at his age, because the things he can give you in the changing room are amazing – and that is particularly the case with him.
“He is 34, going on 35 and he plays every single week. He is playing and he is scoring goals. It is about more than his ability as a player, because I also like him very much as a person.”