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Leeds United injury statement clouds the issue further

An official statement issued on the club's website late on Sunday night appeared to contradict the comments of head coach Neil Redfearn.

The "Leeds Six" story broke on Friday evening as the team were already settled into their London hotel ahead of the Charlton game on Saturday.

A Twitter frenzy erupted when news of the six players - Marco Silvestri, Mirco Antenucci, Giuseppe Bellusci, Souleymane Doukara, Dario Del Fabro and Edgar Cani - claiming to be injured broke. The immediate comment made en masse was that Neil Redfearn had made no reference to six injured players in his routine press conference on Thursday afternoon.

An injury rundown is a standard feature of any press conference, and Redfearn provided an update on the only real absentee, Lewis Cook, and made reference to the long term injuries of Aidy White, Tommaso Bianchi and Zan Benedicic.

The official statement issued by Leeds United on Sunday evening said the following:

"Leeds United Football Club wants to clarify that during the days leading up to the away Championship fixture at Charlton Athletic on Saturday April 17 six first team players suffered injuries.

"While our first team squad did not train on Wednesday, after the Norwich City fixture the night before, the club were aware that several players were carrying injuries after the game. The first team squad and management returned to training on Thursday and Friday when these injuries were assessed by the club’ s medical team.

"Upon assessment of the players, the medical team decided to take caution and on Friday six players did not finish the full training session.

"Every member of the Leeds United squad receives first class treatment from the club’s head physio and his team at Thorp Arch. It was the medical team’s view from Thursday onwards that some first team players would struggle to be fit for Saturday’s game at Charlton.

"It was declared that the six players were unavailable to travel to London on Friday, the club needs to protect its assets. The club completely stands by the internal medical recommendations that it receives."

This suggests that staff at the club were completely aware of the injuries and had been all week. When quizzed about the six players after Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Charlton in the Sky Bet Championship, Redfearn claimed the injuries being simultaneously reported was "freakish". 

The situation is further muddied by the fact that full-back Gaetano Berardi travelled to Charlton carrying an injury, and as a result was only fit to take a place on the bench as an unused sub. This contradicts the apparent caution being taken by the Leeds medical staff with the six players that didn't travel.

Many fans and media personnel have also made reference to the fact that Leeds have this season signed Zan Benedicic on a season-long loan against medical advice - he has been injured since September following knee surgery - and also signed Palermo midfielder Granddi Ngoyi on loan without the player undertaking a medical. Ngoyi was immediately injured and didn't feature for over two months until his debut last Tuesday against Norwich City.

Were the 'Leeds Six' really injured for the Charlton game?
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