That’s according to a recent Joe Donnohue report for the Yorkshire Evening Post, in which the journalist reveals that both Nathan Ferguson and Luka Milivojevic are major doubts for the visit of Leeds on Monday evening, as the duo are still yet to recover from injuries sustained earlier this month.
In his report, Donnohue writes: “Nathan Ferguson and Luka Milivojevic are not expected to feature against Jesse Marsch’s side as both are struggling with injuries picked up this month.”
While it is true that neither Ferguson nor Milivojevic have exactly been first-team regulars under Patrick Vieira so far this season – largely as a result of injury – the news that the pair look unlikely to feature once again on Monday evening will nevertheless come as a huge boost to Jesse Marsch and his Leeds United side.
Indeed, following his 2020 move from West Bromwich Albion to Selhurst Park, versatile right-back Ferguson has had something of a torrid time with injury, so far making just one senior appearance over his near two-year stay in south London.
And, speaking after this single outing – a 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in December last year – Joel Ward praised the 21-year-old’s work ethic in his recovery from injury:
“You have to appreciate it. It’s a testament to his character and the way in which he has picked himself up after each setback. They are only setbacks, and they are only speed bumps, and unfortunately in life, we come across those.
“As a man, he has taken them on his shoulders to make sure that he has put himself in the right position and have the right people around him. His work ethic to make sure that he is right, ready to go, and to come back, is spot on. We all want to see him be back out on the pitch and doing what he does.”
Meanwhile, club captain Milivojevic has been in and out of Vieira’s XI over the course of the current campaign, making 13 appearances in the Premier League, over which he has averaged a respectable SofaScore match rating of 6.79.
Additionally, with Michael Olise looking as if he too will be watching on from the sidelines on Monday evening – after the winger picked up a foot injury in the Eagles’ 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United in midweek – the news of Ferguson’s and Milivojevic’s continued absence will undoubtedly provide a huge boost to Leeds United’s chances of returning to Elland Road with all three points.
And, with the Whites currently sitting just five points above the relegation zone with six fixtures left to play, these marginal gains could well prove to be the difference between the club playing Premier League or Championship football next season.