Date: 29th October 2018 at 8:30am
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OPINION

Lewie Coyle can save Leeds United millions of pounds in the January window as they face up to losing Luke Ayling for many months.

The Yorkshire Evening Post report the United right-back will undergo scans today (Monday) on the knee injury he sustained in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest amid growing concern he has suffered ligament damage and might not play again this season.

Losing Ayling, the club’s first-choice right-back since he joined in the summer of 2016, for such a long time would be a devastating blow, and comes as versatile defender Gaetano Berardi is also set for another extended spell out.

But the answer to what is the latest in a series of injury conundrums dealt manager Marcelo Bielsa a third of the way through the campaign lies with Coyle, who is playing consistently excellently in League One during a half-season loan at Fleetwood United.

The 23-year-old could save Leeds a bundle of cash – proven left-back Barry Douglas cost £3million over the summer – after thriving under Joey Barton in England’s third tier.

Coyle has started all 16 of Fleetwood’s league matches this season and demonstrated the qualities that suggest he can consistently deliver for a club with Championship promotion ambitions.

He is defensively solid, durable, effective going forward and capable of slotting straight into a Leeds side whose key members are dropping like flies.

Loaned out to League One side Fleetwood for a second consecutive season, the Elland Road academy product has shown he can make it at his parent club, something that was in doubt this time a year ago.

Leeds do not need to spend big on a defender in January. The perfect fix is already on their books.