Leeds United’s playoff bid was given a massive setback after Kemar Roofe was ruled out of the second leg against Derby County on Wednesday.
The striker scored the only goal in the first leg of the tie but will now be unable to play at Elland Road.
Leeds’ top scorer this season looked back to his best against the Rams on Saturday. His dynamic movement and goalscoring threat made him a handful for defenders, and he got what he deserved when he found the back of the net early in the second half.
The Englishman now has a record of four goals in three games against Frank Lampard’s side this season, and he seemed poised to add to that in the return fixture.
Bielsa’s system is perfectly set up for a player like Roofe, and he will be a huge miss in the second leg on Wednesday.
Patrick Bamford is more than likely going to be the player who replaces the 26-year-old in Leeds’ starting XI, but problems elsewhere may have also scuppered Bielsa’s plans.
Bamford may have returned regardless of the fitness of his strike partner, as injuries to Tyler Roberts and Adam Forshaw could’ve seen Roofe drop back into a number 10 position as he did earlier in the season, with Bamford starting up top.
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That now, of course, cannot happen as the striker is set for a spell on the sidelines, so Bielsa may have to rejig his side to prepare for Derby.
Jamie Shackleton is one option in the middle, but the 19-year-old hasn’t seen many first-team minutes this season. another option would be to move Pablo Hernandez into the attacking midfield position and bring in Jack Clarke to play on the right wing.
Hernandez is more than capable of operating centrally, and it allows Shackleton to remain as Bielsa’s substitute option if he is needed.