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Leeds United will travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Premier League clash on Saturday night, and Marcelo Bielsa hopes to keep the winning streak going.
Facing the game, Bielsa has delivered the latest news in fitness. The Argentine has confirmed that Diego Llorente has fully recovered.
The Spaniard, who joined the Yorkshire club during the summer transfer window, has struggled with a groin injury he sustained in October. He hasn’t played a game since and it looks like he’ll have to wait a while to make his Leeds debut.
Although he’s made a full recovery, Bielsa isn’t looking to rush him. The Argentine has made it clear that he wants the 27-year-old to regain physical form for the game playing for the U23 team before appearing for the first team.
Therein lies the big problem. Leeds under-23s will not play before December 13, which means Llorente is likely to face Newcastle United on December 16. In short, the Spaniard could miss the games against Chelsea and West Ham, and will only be called up if there are other injuries.
Bielsa has addressed the media today, cited by Leeds Live:
“He is healthy, he is fit to play and the ideal would be for him to play for the under-23 before playing for the first team because he hasn’t played for a while now.”
“We’ll see. We hope we don’t have a situation where we have to accelerate his process in the team.”
As it stands, Captain Liam Cooper and Robin Koch are likely to continue in the rear.
In recent games, Pablo Hernández and Jamie Shackleton have not appeared. Both have struggled with injuries, although in Hernandez’s case, there is a theory of a possible feud between him and Bielsa, following his petulant reaction after he was substituted in a 4-1 loss to Leicester.
Bielsa added: “Knowing you can manage their playing time and the level is a little lower. This is the ideal process. Especially when players have repeated muscle injuries. Shackleton, Pablo and Llorente are in this situation ”.
Hernandez, who played a major role in helping Leeds return to Premier Leahie last season, suffered a muscle injury before the game against Arsenal. He also missed last weekend’s 1-0 win against Everton, but the truth is that Leeds have yet to feel his absence.
The Spaniard has suffered a stopped start this season. However, he remains a very influential figure in the club and fans would love to see him back shortly.
Leeds is 12th in the Premier League table, and a win against the Blues would take them to the top half of the league.