By George Overhill

27th Mar, 2023 | 7:20pm

Willy Gnonto and Max Wober are both doubts to face Arsenal but Leeds United are “optimistic” they don’t face a long spell out, Phil Hay reports.

The crucial pair both picked up problems on international duty with the defender suffering a hamstring problem in the first half of Austria’s win over Azerbaijan on Friday (24 March), before the teenager limped off early as Italy beat Malta on Sunday (26 March).

Both have returned to West Yorkshire for assessments by Leeds United medical staff, and the club are subsequently “hopeful” that neither are set for a lengthy absence.

Hay writes for The Athletic on Monday evening (27 March) that the Whites appear optimistic that the duo will be available now for “most” of the Premier League run in.

“The pair, who turned in influential performances in a crucial 4-2 win over Wolves ahead of the international break, have undergone checks by Leeds’ medical staff after returning to England, reassuring the club that neither faces a long-term spell on the sidelines.”

Leeds travel to league-leaders Arsenal on Saturday (1 April) before a pair of relegation six-pointers against Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace on the Tuesday and following Sunday.

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In the circumstances this is the best news Whites fans could have hoped for, with many inevitably fearing the worst when two of the most important parts of Javi Gracia’s squad both went off injured for their countries.

The two signings this season have had the greatest impact on the club of anyone, with Wober possibly the most crucial of all thanks to the effect he has on his teammates at the back.

With him in the middle Robin Koch and Junior Firpo have improved a great deal, and it is concerning to think of a relegation battle with the sort of defensive play that plagued much of the season prior to the January window.

Gnonto may have surprisingly become less central since the arrival of Gracia, but there is a reason why a queue of the biggest clubs in England and Italy are paying attention to the 19-year-old ahead of the summer window.

His influence has decreased slightly as clubs have paid more and more attention to nullifying his threat, but whether he starts or comes off the bench he is arguably the biggest threat the club has.

Arsenal away would be a tough fixture to pick up points whoever is in the team currently, but if Wober and Gnonto can return in the near future it would be an invaluable boost to the club’s survival chances.

In other Leeds United news, a major Elland Road exit may have complicated a deal to buy a player at the end of the season.

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