Millwall boss Gary Rowett has explained that midfielder Ryan Leonard missed his side’s 1-0 defeat to Wigan over the weekend due to a slight hamstring problem.
Leonard had featured from the bench in Millwall’s previous two league outings after overcoming a knee problem which had kept him out for around four months, but the 27-year-old was left out of the squad for the trip to the DW Stadium.
This meant Leonard was not able to help out his side during their 1-0 defeat to the Latics which saw Shaun Hutchinson’s own goal settle proceedings, with the result meaning Millwall lost ground in their pursuit of a Championship play-off spot.
Speaking to London News Online, Rowett has now confirmed that Leonard was omitted from the squad as a precaution, with the midfielder having felt he would not be able to make a fully-fit contribution from the substitutes’ bench.
“Lenny (Leonard) had a tight hamstring, he’s done well to get back and I felt he’d be a risk,” said Rowett.
“He didn’t feel he’d be fully fit if he had to come on after 20 or 30 minutes today, so we decided to leave him out as a precaution.”
Leonard was a regular in the Lions’ midfield during the early stages of the season when Neil Harris was still in charge, but the centre-midfielder’s injury problems mean he is still yet to start a league game under Rowett.
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I can see Leonard being an excellent fit in Rowett’s Millwall side which is why the Lions will be keen to get him back to full fitness as soon as possible, and they will be hoping his hamstring problem means he is not absent for very long.
Leonard looked a solid player during his regular appearances earlier this campaign, but I think Lions supporters are still yet to see the best of him and there is every chance he could start becoming a key player between now and the end of the season.
Rowett will need all the reinforcement available to him if Millwall are looking to maintain their play-off bid this term, so it would even represent a positive step if Leonard is able to be introduced from the bench over the coming weeks.