Marcelo Bielsa has been quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post – during his pre-Birmingham City press conference – as saying that three Leeds United players will miss Saturday’s clash, but Pablo Hernandez has returned to the side.
Leeds play host to Birmingham City as they look to bounce back from the disappointing defeat to Millwall prior to the international break. The Whites sit in fifth place, but only two points off the top of the table.
Bielsa’s side have won just two of their last six Championship fixtures, losing to Swansea City and Charlton Athletic as well as Millwall. Last season, Leeds suffered home and away defeats to Birmingham City.
The Argentine manager confirmed during his press conference on Friday afternoon that captain Liam Cooper has not recovered from his injury. Neither have Jamie Shackleton and Adam Forshaw, but Hernandez is back fit.
“Pablo is going to be inside the group,” Bielsa said. “Shackleton, Forshaw and Cooper we are going to wait a little bit more until the next week. Out of all three Cooper will be the last one to come back to training and Shackleton will be the first. He will start to train, Cooper will be one more week.”
TBR’s view – Hernandez return crucial, but Cooper absence a blow
Cooper’s presence inside the Leeds team is calming. It gives Leeds the assurance that they are defensively solid, but without him, the side looks a lot more fragile without the Scotland international at the back.
Ben White has been excellent, but he is still young. Gaetano Berardi is suspended, so it is expected that Luke Ayling will play at centre-back on Saturday afternoon. Ayling is naturally a right-back. But the side are stronger with Hernandez.