Leeds United v Watford: Leeds chief Redfearn guarding against careless whispers

NEIL REDFEARN will continue to protect his young stars even if Leeds United’s results suffer as a consequence.

Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn.

The Elland Road club’s three-game winning run came to a shuddering halt in midweek with a 2-0 loss at Brighton & Hove Albion on a night when Sam Byram was rested with a swollen knee.

Byram was keen to play but Redfearn took the decision not to risk the highly-rated 21-year-old and there was no doubt United suffered in his absence.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Despite that, the Leeds head coach insists he will continue to protect the youngsters in his squad.

He said: “It was a real precaution with him again. He has been important in the recent run and we missed him the other night. But, sometimes, you have got to make these decisions. Some of these guys are young and we have got to respect that. We have got to rest them when we can.

“With youth comes that lack of experience with regards to knowing their own bodies and what they are capable of. Sometimes what happens with young kids is that it is whispers and bangs.

“And if it is a bang then they are out for a while. The problem is the young lads don’t always recognise the whispers if there is a niggle there. It was right to take that decision with Sam. I would rather miss him for one game than five.”

Watford travel to West Yorkshire looking to maintain a scoring run against United that has yielded 17 goals in the last five meetings.

With the Hornets very much in the promotion race, Redfearn is aware his side will have to be at their best to end an eight-game winless run against Watford.

He said: “We are going to have a big bearing on what happens to a lot of people. But we want to keep our season alive for as long as we can because there are still a lot of games to play.

“We want to do well and we have got the bit between our teeth. We know what we’re capable of and we have got a clear direction and focus.

“This is a good game to look forward to, they are having a good season. They are an exciting side who score goals. We are in the middle of a good run. Barring Tuesday’s blip – and sometimes you have just got to hold your hands up and say that on the night Brighton were better than us – we are playing really well at the moment.

“We have had good results, and I am expecting an entertaining game.”