Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch has heaped praise on Stuart Dallas and revealed when the versatile star could return from a leg break.
The right-back, who can also operate as a left-back or midfielder, has made 37 appearances this campaign. His only goal came in the 3-1 victory over Burnley back in January.
Dallas has been one of Leeds’ most reliable players during a disappointing and injury-hit season. But he will miss the final four league matches – which are crucial to the Whites staying up – after suffering a broken leg in the 4-0 defeat to Manchester City last weekend.
On May 1, a club statement revealed Dallas had fractured his thigh bone and would therefore be out for a ‘lengthy’ period.
Ahead of the Leeds trip to Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, Marsch was asked about the Northern Ireland international. He gave a press conference a slightly more specific recovery time.
“We can safely say six months. It could be longer, nobody wants to rush him,” Marsch said (via Yorkshire Evening Post).
“I think the bone has to heal and then they have to look at all the things like articular cartilage and the meniscus and everything seems to be relatively intact, so the anterior cruciate ligament is intact.
“I’m not a doctor but a lot of the main structure of the knee is in place and then it’s just got to heal a little bit over time and and see how it reacts to more and more.”
Jesse Marsch labels Dallas a ‘fantastic player’
The American coach added: “We all know Stuart is such a big part of the group. He’s such a fantastic person and player.
“I think he had the current ongoing record for most consecutive matches so he’s also an ‘ironman’.
“It’s motivation for us but, more importantly, I think it’s an indicator for the fact that Stuart will be back stronger than ever.”
Marsch also gave an update on several more of Leeds’ injured stars. Patrick Bamford could soon return, while centre-back Liam Cooper is fit again.
“Patrick has been on the (training) pitch, so we remain cautiously optimistic with that,” Marsch said.
“We still have two and a half weeks, and we’ll go step-by-step, but we are hopeful that we can get them into training by next week.
“Tyler Roberts (hamstring), Adam Forshaw (fractured kneecap) and Cree (Crysencio Summerville) are all moving in the right direction.
“Liam Cooper trained today, Diego (Llorente) trained today, so we should have, other than those four or five guys, we should have our full complement of players.”