Marcelo Bielsa hopes Leeds United will be able to call on both Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper ‘in a week or two’ with both players in the final stages of their recovery.
The pair both suffered hamstring injuries in the 2-2 draw at Elland Road in early December and have played no part ever since. The pair have been badly missed – especially with Phillips in midfield – as Leeds have continued their battle for survival.
However, Bielsa claims the pair are now in the “final stages of their recovery” and also delivered some good news on Junior Firpo. The summer signing from Barcelona limped out of the win at West Ham after also suffering a hamstring issue.
“Cooper and Phillips are in the final stages of their recovery from their operations,” Bielsa said on Monday. “Firpo is in the final stages of his recovery. He will be available next weekend or the following one.”
However, it’s not such good news for Patrick Bamford.
The striker is in danger of suffering something of a lost season. He’s not started a match since the 1-1 draw at Newcastle on September 17.
And it seems his return is not yet any closer.
“Bamford has not improved. He continues with the problems at the bottom of his foot and he has not started jogging, so his situation continues the same way.”
Bielsa added: “[Jamie] Shackleton, [Adam] Forshaw and [Charlie] Cresswell are all healthy now. The four players we still don’t count on are Firpo, who should be available this weekend because his injury involved his tendon, we may be cautious with his return, Cooper, Phillips, who both should be fully recovered by the beginning of March.
“Bamford has an injury we cannot predict when he will return. Depends on the pain going away so he can start jogging again. Since the injury started the pain hasn’t gone away. Of course, he is going through the demanding treatments for the injury he has.
Bielsa on Aaronson transfer miss
Leeds failed to add to their squad during the January transfer window. Indeed, they saw two offers for the main target, Brenden Aaronson, turned down by his club RB Salzburg.
Race for Kalvin Phillips will be hotly contested
Kalvin Phillips is going to be a very sought-after man in the summer.
However, rather than criticise the board, Bielsa was simply delighted to avoid the sales of key men Raphinha and Phillips.
“It’s very valuable we were able to keep the players wanted by other teams. That in itself has importance.
“With respect to no signings coming in, the possibility to improve the squad was not there.
“The club made the necessary efforts and they also showed a willingness to contribute. A willingness to invest more money.
“As a result, I can only value everything that has been done.”