Leeds United continue to be dealt major injury blows as they will now be without Robin Koch and Liam Cooper when they face Burnley on Sunday, via premierinjuries.com.
The Whites have been stricken with injuries since they returned to the Premier League, with Jamie Shackleton recently returning and Adam Forshaw still sidelined. Now, Marcelo Bielsa will need to consult the drawing board as he mulls over his very limited options in central defence.
Luke Ayling has been the man to fill in for Koch, who has made a huge impact since he joined the club in the summer. But now with the skipper also out of action, Leeds could be staring down the barrel of a loaded gun unless they recruit again in January.
Bielsa initially claimed he would not be on the market for another centre-back next month, but he is running out of options. At the moment, Pascal Struijk and Oliver Casey are match fit ahead of Burnley, as well as Diego Llorente who has just returned from his own injury, as per the club’s website. One must step up to plate at Elland Road tomorrow.
Whilst it’s a big opportunity for the out of favour Struijk and his young teammate, it’s far from good news for the team. If Koch and Cooper are looking at long recovery periods, Bielsa must accept that he will need to bring in a new central defender or he risks a huge upset as his men prepare to face the likes of Spurs and Southampton.
It’s undoubtedly a frustrating situation for Victor Orta and Andrea Radrizzani, who worked together to sign both Koch and Llorente this summer. They also signed new goalkeeper Illan Meslier on a permanent deal. This defensive haul must have had them convinced they were stacked at the back, but their triple injury blow only highlights how fast the situation can change.
This must serve as a wake up call for Bielsa and the board, who will reluctantly have to recruit once again once January comes round.