Leeds United boss gives updates on Willy Gnonto, Sam Byram, Liam Cooper and Pascal Struijk - and on January transfer window

DANIEL FARKE has confirmed that Willy Gnonto is a major doubt for Sunday’s Roses home game with Preston North End.

The Italian forward - who has been linked with a move to West Ham - has hurt his hip flexor.

The game also comes too soon for Pascal Struijk, who is still not ready for a first-team return due to a groin/abductor issue.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Better news sees Liam Cooper back in the fray after a groin problem, while Sam Byram has also completed a full week’s training following recent hamstring trouble.

Leeds United boss Daniel Farke. Picture: Getty.Leeds United boss Daniel Farke. Picture: Getty.
Leeds United boss Daniel Farke. Picture: Getty.

The Leeds chief said: “There’s some mixed news. There’s definitely good news with Sam Byram as he has now had a full training week and it’s beneficial for him, so he’s fully available for the next game.

"There’s (also) good news with Liam Cooper. He is back in team training for the last two sessions and a topic for the game on Sunday. We have to see if it’s enough for 90 minutes and it’s good he is back in training and we have one more defensive option back in training.

"There’s been progress with Pascal Struijk, but he’s not back in team training yet and we don’t expect him to be involved in the upcoming weeks and he’s definitely out for Sunday and I also don’t expect him to return on Wednesday or (next) Saturday, so he will definitely be out for a bit longer.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Willy Gnonto is a major doubt. He has some problems with his hip flexor and was not able to train in the last days or just part of team training. I would label it as a major doubt if he makes it into the matchday squad.”

Leeds are working behind the scenes to boost their options in the January window, but Farke insists the club won’t be paying out ‘crazy money’ this month.

Some reinforcements in the full-back/defensive positions are the main focus, with Luke Ayling and Djed Spence having both left the club and speculation continuing to surround the future of Charlie Cresswell, reportedly the subject of a recent failed loan offer from Millwall.

Farke continued: "I like to be really open and transparent in the summer on what we need to sign. January is always a bit complicated because the players who are currently playing are more or less not available, or you have to spend crazy money.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We don’t have the chance to do this - not because we are unambitious but because of the financial rules we have to accept. For that, it’s always a bit tricky to sign a player in January - without having a pre-season and friendlies for example.

"Obviously, the group before this window was not too big and we have given two defensive minded players away in Luke Ayling and Djed Spence and we also have the topic on Charlie Cresswell, which will be decided within the next two weeks.

"Overall, it is definitely the case we are not big in our numbers in our defensive positions and we are fully aware of this. But we will speak about business once business is done.”