Grim prospects for Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper as Bielsa opens up on Leeds transfers
Marcelo Bielsa admits Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper will likely be sidelined until March – and has provided a small update on Leeds United’s plans for the January window.
Leeds struggled in their second Premier League season, winning just three of their 18 games played. Indeed, their last three games ended in defeats – the first time under Bielsa’s leadership – as injuries and illnesses took over the Whites.
Two of their biggest players, Phillips and Cooper, recently suffered hamstring injuries against Brentford. The initial prognosis was that both were likely to be absent for two months.
However, Bielsa now concedes that a return in March seems more likely.
The boss was also asked how Leeds’ plans are affected by the injuries ahead of the January window.
“We have recovered players, although Kalvin Phillips and [Liam] Cooper will be back in March, ”he said. [Charlie] Cresswell and [Jamie] Shackleton will return towards the end of January, so the number of players we have is going to increase soon.
“We’ll see where we are in January and we can take advantage of that in January if the right player shows up.”
Leeds will have four returning players to face Burnley on Sunday, as Bielsa revealed here.
However, one man they would like to appeal to is Patrick Bamford.
The talismanic attacker has only been seen once since September 17. It was then that after coming off the bench in his second leg against Brentford, he suffered hamstring strain.
And while Bamford himself suggests he might be ready, Bielsa remained much more cautious and a bench role seems more likely.
“It’s the fourth week since Patrick’s injury, Patrick is in good health, but he hasn’t played for four weeks. But that puts him in doubt given his lack of training.
Adam Forshaw’s contract extension
One man who returned to form in a dramatic fashion was Adam Forshaw.
Having been out for two years with a hip problem, his return to action has been a huge plus for Leeds.
His deal expires next summer, however, and talks about an extension have accelerated.
Asked about the situation, Bielsa said: “The extension of Forshaw’s contract is something between the player and the institution. Clearly, his return to the club has been satisfying. Whether he played as a defensive midfielder or a box-to-box midfielder, he offered solutions. In the absence of Kalvin Phillips, he helped us resolve the issues.
“He gave us options that are very much needed in the No.8 position. Its performance level is the same as before. And two years later, he’s able to play at the same level as before – and that’s not common.
“He’s made a big effort to get back to this level and I’m sure he’s taking advantage of it.
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