Leeds United have received a significant blow ahead of their trip to Millwall this weekend with the club confirming on their official website that Jamie Shackleton is out for four weeks with a hamstring injury.
Shackleton was outstanding during the first-half of the Whites’ clash with West Brom on Tuesday. And you could understand why some supporters felt that his absence after the break was a key reason why the Baggies were able to take control of the game.
With Adam Forshaw also missing the game, Bielsa has a tough decision on his hands. Tyler Roberts came off the bench in the 1-0 win. But Bielsa substituted him off again to give the defence more support.
Stuart Dallas was the man to move into the middle when Roberts came off. But he has been a revelation at right-back, and asking him to play 90 minutes in central midfield looks a gamble.
So perhaps the player that Bielsa should consider using alongside Kalvin Phillips is Robbie Gotts. Bielsa has threatened to hand the 19-year-old his senior debut on a number of occasions.
The teenager has been on the first-team bench 21 times without getting on the field. He has been excellent for the under-23s and looks destined to follow the likes of Shackleton and Jack Clarke into the senior side.
It would be a risk to throw him in at Millwall. But he looks to have the same amount of tenacity and quality on the ball that Shackleton provided against West Brom.
He will need to show that he has the same composure that Shackleton showed when he got into the first-team. But his performances for Carlos Corberan’s men suggests that he is capable of stepping up.
Leeds fans are understandably frustrated to see two more first-team players ruled out with injury. Of course, Bielsa cannot sign anyone anytime soon to alleviate that problem. But handing players like Gotts and Pascal Struijk their debuts may just give the squad a much-needed boost.
And Gotts certainly looks to have the potential to quickly establish himself as a genuine option for Bielsa over the coming months if he is given that chance.