Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch has suffered an injury blow over Diego Llorente ahead of his side’s Premier League game against Leicester City on Saturday afternoon.
The Whites make the trip to the King Power Stadium later today hoping to get Marsch’s reign in charge off to a good start, but The Athletic’s Phil Hay delivered some late injury news.
He stated: “Llorente is probably out, as are Phillips and Cooper, but the latter two are making very positive progress, Marsch said.”
The new manager himself revealed in his pre-match press conference: “It’s difficult to say. We’ll evaluate Patrick and whether or not he can be on the bench, but he’s close, I can tell you that, he’s close. Diego Llorente was not in training today and he’s questionable for the weekend, and there are a few others that are step by step to make sure we prepare them as well as possible, but not too hard.”
While Llorente’s performance against Spurs last weekend certainly left a lot to be desired, the last thing Marsch needed ahead of his first game in charge is an injury to one of his senior players.
The American is already without the likes of Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper, while Patrick Bamford seems unlikely to make his comeback to the starting line-up for the trip to the Foxes, and is more in contention for a place on the bench.
Llorente’s performances towards the back end of last season in the Premier League showed the kind of quality he can bring to the table when he’s fully fit and firing, with former Leeds striker Noel Whelan championing the Spaniard’s leadership skills.
The 47-year-old raved: “He looked every bit that leader and that quality centre-half that we were all expecting when he signed for the football club. There was great excitement about him it took a long time to get to see him consistently.
“But when we did, we saw him grow and grow and grow. We saw him get stronger and better as the games went on. If you ask any Leeds United fan who watched him in that second part of the season and ask them who would be the first centre-half on the team sheet, they would say Llorente.”
His absence prompts yet another line-up change that Leeds could have done without, and it’s a body blow which will surely leave Marsch gutted.