The Athletic’s Phil Hay has revealed that Leeds United duo Junior Firpo and Raphinha are “likely to be available” for this weekend’s Premier League clash against Norwich City.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have endured a nightmare start to the top-flight season thus far, picking up just the one win and finding themselves just outside the relegation zone.
Both Firpo and Raphinha have suffered their share of injury issues in recent weeks, with the former missing the past couple of games, and the latter being forced off last time out against Wolves.
However, Hay has delivered a promising update to the club’s fans about the duo’s injury status heading into Sunday’s crunch clash against fellow strugglers Norwich.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “Injury latest at Leeds: Firpo and Raphinha are likely to be available but Bamford missing again for Norwich on Sunday. Phillips fine after his return on Tuesday.”
Given the awful form in which Leeds currently find themselves, the double boost of having both Firpo and Raphinha back and raring to go is a massive boost to Bielsa.
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has previously lauded the bargain that Leeds got in Raphinha in particular, declaring: “He’s full of energy, he’s got a (good) work ethic as well where he works for the team, he just does everything right.
“I’m a big fan of his and the recruitment there to find that player, because for £17m, there will be people now scratching their head going ‘why didn’t we get him?'”
While Raphinha’s return is superb news, having the attack-minded Firpo back for a game against the Premier League’s leakiest defence is sure to please Leeds fans, too.
In his real breakthrough season with Real Betis during the 2018/19 campaign, he managed three goals and four assists in La Liga, as well as averaging 0.8 shots, 0.8 key passes and 1.3 dribbles per game.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Evening Post, player analyst Josh Hobbs said of the flying full-back: “Going forwards, he’s a good dribbler – particularly when he gets up to speed and he can steam past players. He likes to play a pass into midfield and then sprint down the line to receive in behind and get into the box.
“His delivery in wide areas is usually a fizzed low cross, which is dangerous as often if the player at the front post misses it, can be met by somebody running centrally or to the back post.”
The £10.8m-rated ace has the attacking instincts to cause real problems for the Canaries this afternoon, and Bielsa should be throwing him into the starting line-up after his return from injury.
Hay’s update on the duo is sure to leave Leeds fans absolutely buzzing.