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Leeds: Jesse Marsch dealt fresh injury blow ahead of Leicester

Leeds United have been dealt a fresh injury blow ahead of their Premier League meeting with Leicester City on Thursday evening.

What’s the latest?

Speaking in his pre-match press conference (via the Yorkshire Post), Jesse Marsch revealed that Pascal Struijk will be unavailable for selection for the trip to the King Power Stadium tomorrow evening, as the defender picked up a knock in training this week.

However, the 48-year-old went on to suggest that, all being well, the Dutchman should be back in time for the visit of Fulham on Sunday afternoon.

Regarding the condition of the 23-year-old, the American manager said: “Pascal picked up a little bit of an injury and won’t be available for tomorrow but we’re hopeful that by Sunday he’ll be available. We’ll see how the next few days go.”

Bad news

Considering just how impressive Struijk has been in the Leeds backline so far this season, the fact that the centre-back will not be fit to feature against the Foxes on Thursday is undoubtedly bad news for Marsch and his side.

Indeed, over his nine Premier League fixtures in 2022/23 – all of which have come at left-back – the £13m-rated talent has been in exceptional attacking form, scoring one goal, providing one assist and creating two big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 0.7 shots – 0.4 of which have hit the target – making 0.8 key passes and completing 0.9 dribbles per game.

The £29k-per-week defender has also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, helping his side keep two clean sheets, as well as making an average of 3.3 tackles – the joint eighth-most in the entire league – 1.7 interceptions, 1.6 clearances and winning 7.3 duels – at a success rate of 53% – per game.

These returns have seen the player who Marsch himself claimed is currently playing at a “high level” average an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.91, ranking him as the Whites’ sixth-best performer in the top flight – a quite extraordinary feat considering the fact he has been playing in an unfamiliar position.

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As such, while Leeds do have Junior Firpo available for the trip to Leicester, it is nevertheless clear to see that the absence of the 23-year-old will come as a huge “blow” – in the words of Graham Smyth – to the Whites’ chances of bringing all three points back to Elland Road on Thursday night, as Struijk has been an integral part of Marsch’s backline this season.