By Jonty Banks

20th Jan, 2023 | 3:10pm

Joe Gelhardt still training with Leeds United despite loan interest from Wigan - Phil Hay

Leeds United striker Joe Gelhardt is still training with Jesse Marsch’s first-team despite “major interest” for his services on loan this month, according to Phil Hay.

Gerhard, 20, has struggled for game time at Elland Road this term, making just 14 appearances and amassing a total of 188 minutes in the Premier League.

This season the striker has fallen beneath the likes of Rodrigo, Willy Gnonto and new club-record signing Georginio Rutter in Marsch’s pecking order and has subsequently been subject to plenty of interest from Championship clubs in the winter window. [Phil Hay, Thursday 19 January]

Taking to Twitter on Friday (20 January) ahead of the Whites’ clash against Brentford on Sunday (22 January), The Athletic’s Hay revealed the latest transfer developments regarding Gelhardt.

He tweeted: “There’s obviously major interest in Gelhardt (Wigan leading the race to sign him on loan). He’s still here as it stands and trained this morning with the rest of the squad.”

Minutes needed

It is surely only a matter of time until Gelhardt is confirmed to be leaving the club this January, as sitting on the sidelines isn’t doing his development any good whatsoever.

With Rutter arriving at the club this January and Patrick Bamford back to full fitness, the Englishman has fallen yet further down in Marsch’s plans and would be lucky to get any Premier League action in the coming weeks.

A Championship side such as Wigan makes obvious sense, as they are desperately in need of recruits to propel them off the bottom of the division – and the 20-year-old will likely be given the opportunity to impress from the starting line-up most weeks.

The Whites striker must look towards the likes of Cameron Archer for inspiration, as the Villa striker improved his reputation with a stunning spell at Preston in the second half of last season. If Gelhardt can impress and start scoring regularly, he may well fire his way into Marsch’s first-team plans in the 2023/24 season.

In other Leeds United news, this player has jetted into the UK with his dad to be toured around Thorp Arch before signing for the Whites.