Leeds United could be without three key players for their match against Brentford on Wednesday night.
In what would be, potentially, Pontus Jansson’s first return to Elland Road, Marcelo Bielsa has revealed there are doubts about whether Liam Cooper, Ezgjan Alioski and Barry Douglas would be able to feature in the game.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference – via the club’s official Twitter account – he said: “Cooper, Douglas and Alioski, we’re not sure whether these three players can play, but we cannot say they will not play either.”
| Marcelo provides an update on the team: “Cooper, Douglas and Alioski, we’re not sure whether these three players can play, but we cannot say they will not play either” pic.twitter.com/fY7bItykaW
— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 20, 2019
Leeds struggled massively with injuries last season – as the Yorkshire Evening Post noted, there were 31 individual occasions players had to spend on the sidelines – and it appears the current campaign has started in a similar fashion for the Whites.
Cooper, arguably, could be the biggest blow to Bielsa’s side if he were unable to make the game as there are not many individuals within the squad to replace him (Transfermarkt), whilst his stats this season have been impressive once again.
The skipper has been hugely influential at the back, as he leads the team with 4.7 clearances, has made 1 tackle per game and contributed with 1.7 interceptions in the three Championship appearances so far (as per WhoScored).
Douglas has been a mainstay on the left-hand side of the defence as well this season, having contributed one tackle, 0.3 interceptions and 0.7 clearances in his three outings, whereas Alioski has been used from the bench in two matches.
The Macedonia international’s injury will have, perhaps, come as a blow as he could have been a replacement for the Scottish full-back, though it appears Bielsa already has a contingency plan in place should they not be able to play on Wednesday.
The Argentine revealed that Stuart Dallas would move over from the right-back position he has currently been occupying (because of an injury to Luke Ayling) and play on the left as Jamie Shackleton would take over on the right (Twitter).
The Northern Ireland international has been playing well for Leeds, as WhoScored noted that he has managed to achieve 1.7 tackles, 1 interception and 2.3 clearances in the three Championship fixtures so far.
Although nothing has been said about how long they could be missing for, Leeds’ injury woes from last season appear to continue to hamper them this time around and losing those three key players could be a big blow for the club.
Brentford severely dented the Whites’ automatic promotion hopes last season (BBC), and with the addition of Jansson to their side now, Bielsa’s side would have surely wanted to take revenge on the Bees. However, with the likes of Cooper, Alioski and Douglas all potentially missing, that task may have been made incredibly harder to achieve at Elland Road on Wednesday.
Leeds fans, how big of a blow will it be if the trio are unavailable? Let us know your thoughts by sharing them in the comments section below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!