Paul Hart has urged the Leeds duo to be ready for first-team action.
Jordan Botaka and Lee Erwin once again featured for Leeds Under-21s yesterday, and Paul Hart has told LUTV what he said to the first-team duo before the game about their need to remain ready for senior duties at Elland Road.
Hart said: “Before the game, I told them [the senior players] why they were playing, what is expected, and what might happen through the Christmas period. It’s a notoriously difficult time for football clubs, and the players have got to be on the mark so they are ready to step in [at first-team level] if needed. They did exactly that, for me. They worked hard, got their leg-work in, and they are good footballers as well.”
Steve Evans’ men are currently enjoying a good run of form with a fairly settled side, and it is hard to imagine why the manager would change his first-team for the sake of it in the coming weeks.
However, as, Hart says, the festive schedule is notoriously hard to traverse with a fully fit team, and Evans may have to look at some of his fringe players to fill in over the next few weeks.
This means Erwin and Botaka, who have yet to impress with Leeds this season, could be promoted back to the senior team, and Hart has revealed that he told them this prior to their game yesterday.
The academy director urged them to put in full effort for the Under-21s, as they need to remain fully fit and raring to go if they ever are called up by Evans. And judging by Hart's reaction, they did just that, putting in good performances in a 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday.
Botaka and Erwin possess potential, but have yet proven they are suited to the Championship, and their performances for the development side will determine whether Evans calls them up in the coming weeks.