Leeds United

Leeds United's options for Newcastle clash as injury crisis goes on


Jack Harrison's hat-trick gave Leeds United a fantastic victory over West Ham this weekend and with it three points that take them further away from the danger of relegation. A win against Newcastle United next weekend and they will really pull away from the relegation strugglers, making themselves a much less realistic target for the bottom four to catch due to a significant points gap.

However, the win at the London Stadium didn't come without a cost. The Whites started with Rodrigo - returning from injury after several weeks out - as the only player with meaningful Premier League experience on the bench. However, just after 20 minutes Leeds were forced to make two substitutions as Junior Firpo and Adam Forshaw were forced off with what looked like hamstring injuries.

Leo Hjelde and Lewis Bate were brought on to make their Premier League debuts and there is a good chance Marcelo Bielsa may need to call on them again next weekend against Newcastle.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Bielsa stated that Bamford may return for the next fixture, with Tyler Roberts and Jamie Shackleton also slim possibilities. Diego Llorente will also be available after missing Sunday's game with a a suspension, meaning Ayling will surely return to right back, with Struijk and Llorente the centre back pairing.

Here are some ways that Bielsa may look to plug the gaps against Newcastle:

Dallas left back & Rodrigo in midfield

This one is perhaps the most obvious and most likely of the options.

The rest of the team will likely remain the same, but with Ayling at right back, Dallas can fill in for Firpo at left back and Rodrigo can start in the position he ended the game.

James would continue as the centre forward but Bielsa would hopefully have the option of Bamford to change it from the bench if needed.


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Hjelde left back & Dallas in midfield

The issue with the suggestion above is that Rodrigo was only deemed capable of playing for 30 minutes on Sunday, so it might be a jump to expect him to start the next game.

With that in mind, Hjelde could continue in the role he played on Sunday. Left back is not his first position but he looked very comfortable and kept Jarrod Bowen quiet for the most part.

Dallas could then play in midfield for at least the first 45 minutes, with Rodrigo likely coming on in the second half.

Dallas left back & Bate in midfield

The other option we might see if Rodrigo isn't deemed fit to start is for Bate to get a Premier League start.

The 19-year-old has had a landmark seven days, making his senior debut in an FA Cup start, before coming on after 22 minutes in the Premier League this weekend. However, he was withdrawn with half an hour left to play in order to bring on Rodrigo.

The fact that he was substituted in order to bring on Rodrigo - rather than Klich who had played for an hour - suggests that he is deemed best to be used as a substitute at the moment.

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