Rested Leeds United players head for a huge week that could go a long way to deciding their promotion fate in this season’s Sky Bet Championship.
Three games in six days, with the last of them a massive home game against top two rivals West Brom, will challenge Marcelo Bielsa’s men, but they were able at least to put their feet up for a days last weekend with the head coach giving them some days off to recharge their batteries.
It was back down to some serious training again on Monday and some serious preparation for a home game with Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, followed by a trip to Queens Park Rangers next Tuesday and the last of the triple header promising to be another big night at Elland Road.
Asking the players to play three matches in such a short time at this stage of the season has raised questions about the EFL’s decision making and the power of Sky Sports to switch games to suit themselves, but the Whites have to get on with the task and the upside of it could be plenty of points to lift them back into top spot if they get it right.
Leeds go into the first of the matches outside the top two places after both Norwich and Sheffield United enjoyed 4-0 victories last Saturday while the Whites were not in action.
Maybe more worrying was the goal difference gap that is beginning to develop between Leeds and their main rivals that effectively looks like giving the others teams in the top four an extra point.
With things tight and seemingly set to go down to the wire it could be crucial to have the best goal difference.
At this stage it is nothing that cannot be put right with a thumping win over struggling Bolton, but Leeds have not looked like hammering anyone recently and their last victory by more than a two-goal margin was way back in September when Preston were beaten 3-0.
The bid to improve the number of goals scored could be hit by a knee ligament injury suffered by top scorer Kemar Roofe. He is definitely out of the Bolton game and will miss further matches, but the club has not put a figure on how many.
In a statement they did say: “Leeds United forward Kemar Roofe will face a period on the sidelines following confirmation that he damaged knee ligaments during the win over Swansea City at Elland Road.
“Roofe will work hard with the medical team at Thorp Arch to return to action as quickly as possible.”
At least Leeds have striker Patrick Bamford fit again to lead the attack and still have Tyler Roberts in reserve who can play up front, but the loss of Roofe limits their options at a crucial time and is yet another in a line of injury setbacks this season.
Roofe played in a number 10 role in the most recent game against Swansea and his absence looks to open the way for on-loan Izzy Brown, who is yet to make his debut for Leeds after overcoming injury, but has impressed in the U23s.