|Leeds United 2 v 0 Bristol City|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 24th November 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Two debuts likely with Leeds down to the bare bones
Friday, 23rd Nov 2018 13:34 by Tim Whelan
With Leeds suffering a major injury crisis at the back, a couple of players will have to be drafted in from the under 23s to make up the numbers against Bristol City.
Just when Jamal Blackman was about to get the first team league action he was hoping for, he suffered a broken leg playing for the under 23s against Birmingham this week. This has finished his season and effectively brought his loan spell to an end, and he has now returned to his parent club Chelsea.
The timing of his injury couldn’t have been worse for the player or the club, as Marcello Bielsa told his weekly press conference that Blackman would have taken Peacock-Farrell place for Saturday’s game. I thought that was a curious bit of man-management, as with Blackman indisposed Bielsa could have just kept quiet about his intentions, but our supremo wanted Peacock-Farrell to know where he stood after his errors at West Brom.
“For him and his future it’s important for him to know he had lost his position as a starter. In this case he got it back without doing anything to get it back, destiny gave it back to him but I wanted him to know the level of his performance.” But then it turned out that destiny had other ideas, and the Northern Ireland international will now miss the game after all, after suffering a knee injury in training.
So we will now have either Kamil Miazek or Will Huffer in goal against the robins. 22 year-old Miazek began his career at Feyenoord but returned to his native Poland without making a first team appearance for the Dutch giants. He did manage four games for Chojniczanka Chojnic, but was released by the Polish club before coming to Leeds on a free transfer. Leeds Academy goalkeeper Will Huffer is the other option, but it seems likely that Miazek will face Bristol City, if only because of his greater experience.
It has been suggested that Leeds could take another goalkeeper on an emergency loan, which we would be entitled to do outside the transfer window now that both senior keepers are injured. Burnley’s Tom Heaton has been suggested as a possible candidate, but Bielsa was tight-lipped when asked if Leeds were thinking of such a move. "I can't tell you about the possibility of bringing someone in."
And we’re also running out of central defenders, with Pontus Jansson joining Gaetano Berardi on the treatment table, leaving Liam Cooper as our only remaining experienced player in that position. So we might finally be getting our first sighting of Finnish under-21 international Aapo Halme, who has been at the club since January.
Halme is still only 20 and suffered a long-term injury shortly after arriving at Elland Road, but he is highly rated back in his native Finland, and he’s 6 foot 5, which should come in handy in central defence. I’m looking forward to seeing him in action, in the hope that he will live up to his promise and become the backup central defender the squad so urgently needs.
Elsewhere in the back four we are still without either of the specialist right backs, so we will have to continue with the nightmare of playing Stuart Dallas in that position. Ayling is likely to be out for the season and Berardi isn’t back soon Leeds will have to consider the option of bringing Lewie Coyle back from his loan at Fleetwood once the transfer window opens in the new year.
There is better news on the injury front elsewhere in the squad, with Izzy Brown and Patrick Bamford back in training. We have been linked with a move for Spanish striker Fernando Llorente who is currently warming the bench for Tottenham and previously played for Bielsa at Athletic Bilbao. But perhaps he won’t be needed if Bamford can prove his fitness by January.
So overall the club’s injury situation might not be too bad, but it doesn’t half make life difficult when all the fitness problems are in the same area of the field.
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