Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa is set for an anxious wait over the coming days regarding the fitness of Adam Forshaw, after the midfielder missed the Whites’ Championship encounter with Barnsley through a hip injury.
Forshaw was in line to play at Oakwell during the second-tier clash between two Yorkshire outfits, but forced Bielsa into a late change with Jamie Shackleton drafted in to the starting line-up instead.
Forshaw had been a key part of Bielsa’s plans throughout the opening weeks of the Argentine’s second campaign at Elland Road, with the 27-year-old featuring in every minute available to him during the first six games of the term (WhoScored).
The Liverpool-born midfielder also travelled with the Leeds squad to Oakwell on Sunday (Leeds Live), after Bielsa shared that Luke Ayling was the only senior player currently on the sidelines as he continues his recovery from injury.
Forshaw, though, missed the chance to play Barnsley and maintain his 100% record for the campaign, as a minor hip injury meant he failed a late fitness test and was dropped in place of Shackleton, with Tyler Roberts occupying the void spot on the bench.
Speaking after the game, via quotes by Leeds Live, Bielsa revealed that Forshaw is now a doubt for Leeds’ next Championship fixture when Derby County travel to West Yorkshire, as well.
“[It was] the same problem which kept him from training after Swansea for 10 days,” the Argentine said. “He trained from Thursday to Saturday normally, but yesterday, after training, he didn’t feel well to play.
“We thought he would be okay [to play against Barnsley] today, [and] we think he will recover for the next match, but [we] cannot guarantee [that he will face Derby].”
Bielsa missing Forshaw against Barnsley meant he was without a midfielder who had contributed seven tackles, eight clearances, 12 shots and six successful dribbles in the opening weeks of the campaign (WhoScored), but an absence that did not necessarily hold the visitors back at Oakwell.
Shackleton rose to the occasion in place of Forshaw, and was deemed to be one of the Whites’ best performers in the first half by the Yorkshire Evening Post, who awarded the 19-year-old an eight out of ten rating for his first start of the term.
The Yorkshire Evening Post were particularly impressed by his ability to ghost past players and that he set Patrick Bamford up for two breakaways, while WhoScored noted that he completed 83% of his 29 passes and won possession with each of his four attempted tackles, but saw each of his three shots blocked.
Bielsa may be facing an anxious few days awaiting news of Forshaw’s fitness, but a repeat performance by Shackleton may see that the 27-year-old is not missed for too long.
Leeds fans, who would you start against Derby between a fully-fit Forshaw and Shackleton? Let us know in the comments below…
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