Leeds United are set to face Derby County at Elland Road on Friday evening in a fixture between two sides with similar ambitions for the season.
If Marcelo Bielsa wants to record three points against Derby he’s going to have to do it without a handful of key players. No surprise there.
The story of Leeds’ season has been dominated by injury problems, and the Friday night fixture has provided little relief from the relentless list of setbacks.
Indeed, Bielsa confirmed that Pablo Hernandez is likely to be missing through injury on Friday, an absence which would pave the way for Tyler Roberts to replace him in the starting eleven (via Yorkshire Evening Post).
Roberts has impressed on a handful of occasions this season, most notably against Preston North End and more recently against QPR in the FA Cup.
Not only has Roberts matched the level of technicality which supporters have come to expect from Leeds this season, he also possesses the star quality to make something from nothing, to shock the opposition with a darting, speculative long shot.
Perhaps the number ten position is not tailor-made for Roberts, particularly given his lack of experience, but the reaction from some Leeds supporters to Bielsa’s update has been surprising.
A handful of supporters took to Twitter following the news and strongly suggested that it would be a gross error of judgement to start him in place of Hernandez, but that reaction must be considered in the context of the Spaniard’s paramount importance to Leeds’ attacking play.
It seems that Roberts will have the opportunity to silence a handful of doubters if he is eventually given the nod against Derby.
Here’s what some Leeds fans on Twitter had to say about the potential of Roberts replacing Hernandez vs Derby…
Dear God, don't speak of such things…
— El Grimmo (@VileAnimal1919) January 9, 2019
— Jake Anderton (@JakeAnderton) January 9, 2019
— Dean LUFC Croxall (@Deanoc72) January 9, 2019
exactly my expression when I heard!
— matty clarke (@geezlufc) January 9, 2019
— Jon Hill (@JJHillz) January 9, 2019
seriously ?!!! FFS!
— PHIL BROWN (@PHMB7) January 9, 2019
Will have to stop following you if you continue to break my heart
— Hessing (@JackHessing1) January 9, 2019
I'd like to see Shackleton at 10 for once but expected as much
— Lewis Armitstead (@1ManArmytstead) January 9, 2019
Hate to be pessimistic, but I can't see how we beat Derby with Hernandez missing. He's our main creative spark. Got to hope Roberts and Klich have a few chances each from 25 yards. #lufc
— Brandon Yates (@BielsasEnganche) January 9, 2019