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Leeds United have coped without Liam Bridcutt for months, but now they need him back

Liam Bridcutt Leeds United in action with Jack Payne of Huddersfield Town

Getting Liam Bridcutt back from injury could be crucial to Leeds maintaining their recent form.

Leeds United's rise to the play-off places in recent months has been even more astounding considering they have done it without key summer signing Liam Bridcutt.

There was huge clamour among fans for Leeds to sign Bridcutt in the summer after an impressive loan spell last season.

Liam Bridcutt Leeds United in action with Jack Payne of Huddersfield TownLiam Bridcutt Leeds United in action with Jack Payne of Huddersfield Town

The Whites eventually got the transfer done, after a 3-0 opening day loss to QPR underlined how badly they missed him.

Bridcutt played just four games for Leeds before being hit by injury, with his last game back on September 13, a narrow win at home to Blackburn.

Fortunately for Leeds, since then other players have stepped up, but the loss at Brighton on Friday was a match in which Bridcutt's experience and tenacity would have been required.

Of Leeds current options, there is reason to be concerned.

Eunan O'Kane is playing through injury, shaking off a recent knock, while Kalvin Phillips faces a suspension.

Ronaldo Vieira has been fantastic, but Leeds cannot rely on the 18-year-old to dominate more experienced opponents week in and week out heading into a busy phase of the season in terms of fixture congestion.

Leeds BridcuttLeeds midfielder Liam Bridcutt

Loanee Matt Grimes has been a non-factor and Leeds can't expect him to produce.

All of this makes Bridcutt's return even more important for the Whites, even though this week's match at home to play-off rivals Reading may be too soon.

He is close though, with manager Garry Monk telling BBC Radio Leeds last week that Bridcutt is back working with his teammates.

He said “He’s come back with good determination, you can see that already he’s in the few days that he has been training.”

Further good news about his progress will be warmly received.

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