Friday afternoon’s press conference from Marcelo Bielsa brought yet more injury woes to the ears of Leeds United supporters with the news that Joe Gelhardt will sit out the next three weeks with an ankle problem.
The 19-year-old has been a revelation this season and his absence is another blow to Bielsa who already has seven first-team players sidelines as the club’s injury crises shows no sign of easing anytime soon.
Despite this, there is some cause for optimism for the Whites faithful ahead of Sunday’s tricky looking FA Cup tie at West Ham as the Argentine boss confirmed main striker Patrick Bamford will return.
Bielsa did not state whether he would start Bamford at the London Stadium but with Tyler Roberts also confirmed to be out for a month with a muscle problem, there may be no other option.
It’s expected that much like in the League Cup game at Arsenal in October, a strong team will be fielded with one or two players rested as a precaution ahead of the league game at West Ham on Sunday week.
It’s news that is likely to concern some Leeds fans given the potential for more injuries and only two places separating them from the relegation zone, however Bielsa has reiterated his stance on wanting to win every game he plays.
With that in mind, here is our predicted Leeds United eleven for Sunday’s game:
GK: Illan Meslier – The Frenchmen is unlikely to be rested given Kristoffer Klaesson’s worrying form for the U23 side.
RB: Cody Drameh – Likely to be drafted back in to give Luke Ayling a rest.
CB: Robin Koch – Needs minutes under his belt after he was fast tracked back into the team from injury.
CB: Diego Llorente – Suspended for the next league game so almost certain to start here.
LB: Junior Firpo – Was excellent against Burnley and Bielsa unlikely to upset the momentum.
CDM: Adam Forshaw – Starting to look really sharp and keeps getting better the more he plays.
CM: Stuart Dallas – Lack of other options mean ‘Mr Reliable’ will be back in the midfield.
CAM: Mateusz Klich – Excellent against Burnley and has a chance to recapture his old form.
RW: Dan James – Came on to score last Sunday and needs minutes following injury.
LW: Crysencio Summerville – Scored a hat-trick for the U23’s on Wednesday and will give Raphinha a rest.
ST: Patrick Bamford – Has been held back as a precaution but will be unleashed again from the start.