Leeds man given green light to make Blackburn return as pundit hails massive boost

Ian Poveda battles for the ball with Huddersfield Town's Josh Ruffels during the Sky Bet Championship match at The John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield

Leeds United star Ian Poveda looks likely to make a return to loan club Blackburn Rovers this week for the final few weeks of the Championship season.

The winger made 14 appearances for Leeds last season, upon United’s return to the Premier League. A free-transfer signing from Manchester City in January 2020, Poveda appeared destined for big things at Leeds under then-boss Marcelo Bielsa.

However, a falling out with Bielsa last summer led to Poveda being farmed out on loan to Blackburn Rovers for the season. And the player started well, featuring in eight matches, scoring once and assisting with two goals, for Tony Mowbray’s side.

But a devastating ankle injury saw Poveda return to Leeds and ultimately undergo surgery. At that point, it looked unlikely if the 22-year-old would feature again.

However, Poveda has worked hard with the Leeds medical team and is now nearing a return to action.

Indeed, Blackburn boss Mowbray claims a decision will be made on Poveda this week that could see him return to Ewood Park.

And we understand Leeds are unlikely to stand in his way, with his first-team prospects better served at Blackburn right now.

Getting back out on the field would represent a huge boost for Poveda. He will have been devastated by his ankle injury at a time when he was starting to pick up some momentum.

However, the prospect of returning to first-team football will give both him and Leeds a major lift.

And Poveda will hope to use his time back at Blackburn to show new Leeds boss Jesse Marsch what he’s about.

Blackburn currently have four matches left of the regular season. Sitting in eighth, Rovers trail sixth-placed Sheffield United by two points as they chase a play-off berth.

Noel Whelan welcomes Ian Poveda news

Poveda’s imminent return to action has earned praise from Leeds community and foundation coach Noel Whelan.

Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan admits it’s thrilling to see the winger back in business.

“Nobody likes to get injured as a player and Ian Poveda, unfortunately, picked up a really bad one,” he said.

“It came at a really bad time, as well. He had scored a goal the week before. That’s exactly the sort of experience we wanted him to get by sending him out on loan.

“It can be devastating for a loan player. You’ve got to come back to your parent club, see the other players out on the training ground. Mentally, it’s draining and tough.

“The medical staff deserve credit. They’re always keeping on top of the recovery and the rehabilitation.

“The fact that he could come back and finish the season – it’s such a huge thing.

“Both for his confidence and his fitness, to finish the season strongly will be a massive boost.”

Leeds are well blessed for wingers with Dan James, Jack Harrison, Crysencio Summerville and Raphinha on their books. However, the latter is now being tipped for a surprisingly lowball cash move this summer.