Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has been dealt another frustrating injury blow this week…
Ahead of their FA Cup third-round clash with Premier League rivals West Ham United this afternoon, young striker Joe Gelhardt suffered an ankle injury during training on Thursday and is now expected to be out for three weeks.
“Marcelo Bielsa talking at his pre-West Ham presser – Joe Gelhardt is out. Injured [his] ankle in training yesterday and is out for three weeks. [Tyler] Roberts also out for similar period. Rodrigo not ready but [Patrick] Bamford likely to be involved on Sunday,” claimed The Athletic’s Phil Hay on Twitter.
“[Kalvin] Phillips, [Liam] Cooper, [Jamie] Shackleton, [Charlie] Cresswell and [Pascal] Struijk all still absent too.”
Just when will it stop?
The Yorkshire giants seemingly get a new injury every single week and it’s seriously stalling their progress under Bielsa.
Over the festive period, the 66-year-old head coach was missing as many as nine first-team players as his Whites side were demolished by the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal. It had gotten so bad that a 15-year-old – Archie Gray – was named on the bench.
Some of those absent have since made a return, helping United to a very crucial win over Burnley last weekend – Daniel James and Jack Harrison both found themselves on the scoresheet after a stint on the treatment table.
However, this latest blow puts pressure on Bielsa as he now has an important call to make upfront.
Patrick Bamford is likely to return from injury, having missed 15 of their last 16 league games but he is surely not ready to put in a full 90-minute shift just yet – though, he is the only striker available, leaving the Argentinian with a tough decision.
‘Patrick Bamford, at least, is expected to be available to play against the Hammers, but a 90 or even 120-minute performance is not only likely to be beyond him, it would be neglectful of Leeds to ask it,’ wrote Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Graham Smyth ahead of today’s encounter.
Gelhardt may have been in line to start down at the London Stadium this afternoon and as a player that supporters have already taken to, it will be a big blow to not see him in action today.
“He’s like a human wrecking ball. I like him, he’s really exciting. He’s fast, he’s aggressive, he gets on the ball, he takes people on. Once he gets into the box, he loves it. That’s where he can do most of his damage,” the manager told Sky Sports.
Therefore, his absence is merely another gutting setback to Bielsa, the squad and the fanbase, The 66-year-old must getting a little more worried as each day passes with his team picking up so many injuries this season.