Lansbury out to show what Leeds are missing
Midfielder Henri Lansbury could get the chance to show Leeds United what they missed as Norwich City visit Elland Road for an eagerly-awaited promotion battle on Saturday (3pm).
The Arsenal youngster was hotly tipped to join Simon Grayson’s Leeds in a loan move from the Emirates Stadium last summer. The Yorkshire club never publicly confirmed their interest in Lansbury, but they were reported to be close to a deal in August until Swansea City boss Brendan Rodgers joined the chase for his signature. In the end, Lansbury joined neither club, and the Canaries benefited from that stalemate by snapping up the 20-year-old on loan in November.
After making four appearances, his loan was extended for a month, though Lansbury was sidelined by a hamstring injury and played only once in his second month at Carrow Road.
The loan has since been extended for the rest of the season and the young Gunner has now played nine times for City, scoring twice in the past three matches – his dramatic late winner at home to Millwall followed by the opening goal in last week’s 2-1 home win over Reading.
Lansbury made way for Andrew Surman in the second half against Reading, and midfield is one area where manager Paul Lambert has a big decision to make tomorrow – whether to bring the fit-again Surman back for his first start since November, or stick with the quartet who started last week’s match against the Royals.
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Lambert was today set to give an update on the fitness of central defender Leon Barnett, who suffered a hamstring injury against Reading and had a scan earlier in the week.
If, as seems likely, Barnett is ruled out on Saturday, Elliott Ward and Zak Whitbread could be paired in central defence, picking up where they left off in the final 11 minutes plus stoppage time last Saturday, barring any late loan capture by Lambert.
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Leeds are three places and two points behind the Canaries, who are third in the table, but will go above them if they win.
More than 2,800 City fans will make the trip to Leeds in the hope of seeing their side’s first victory at Elland Road since a famous 4-0 success in the FA Premiership in 1993. Travelling fans have been urged to allow plenty of time for their journeys because of motorway roadworks and car park closures.
There are major roadworks on the M621 near to Elland Road, and two of the car parks near to the stadium which frequently used by supporters will be occupied by the Leeds Valentine’s Fair.