David Prutton has suggested that he believes Leeds United’s squad will have the fitness needed to resume the Championship season and continue their battle to secure promotion to the Premier League.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side returned to training on Monday ahead of the potential resumption of the Championship season, as they bid to get themselves fully prepared and back to as close to full fitness as possible for the restart of the campaign.
The Whites are in a strong position to go on and secure promotion to the Premier League when the campaign does get up and running again, but Bielsa will be hoping for his side to avoid any complacency in the remaining matches as they look to finish the job and earn automatic promotion.
Leeds have a seven-point gap to third placed Fulham with just nine matches remaining in the Championship season, and Bielsa will be looking to get his players as fit as possible so that they can get off to a strong start when the campaign resumes.
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Writing in his latest column for Yorkshire Evening Post, Prutton suggested that he believes the approach to fitness that Bielsa has at Elland Road should mean the Whites are able to get back up and running in the month leading up to the potential restart of the campaign.
He said: “We have seen teams not have that when they have been playing in different competitions and we have seen teams hit the ground running earlier than others and some that have a bit of burn out because of how they have approached it.
“But I don’t think a month is completely insurmountable when it comes to getting yourself up and running, not at all. I just think it will take a different thought approach and it would be churlish of us for all these footballers to come back and for us to absolutely cane them for not being the right shape.
“It’s been tough for everyone involved in a relative nature but also in the sense that there is a certain level of fitness that Leeds wanted to uphold. Whether that has been doable on their own we will soon see but I think they will have a decent stab at it.”
Prutton is probably right to suggest that Bielsa’s strict focus on ensuring his players are as fit as possible should put Leeds in a strong position to have returned to training in a reasonably solid condition, and that with further training they will be as prepared as possible for the season resuming.
The Whites will be looking to get off to a strong start so that they can avoid any talk over whether the suspension to the Championship season has impacted their ability to get over the line in the race for automatic promotion, and they remain in a very strong place to ensure a return to the Premier League.
Leeds did fall away in the closing stages of last season, with some of their players appearing to have been affected by a combination of the pressure surrounding the promotion run in and the burnout from the hard work they had put into the campaign.
The long break in the season this time around should mean that the Whites avoid any potential burnout in their squad, which means they could well be in a really strong position to go one better than last term and secure that automatic promotion place.