Leeds Utd struggler told it’s now or never with relegation potentially hinging on his displays
Stuart Dallas’ unfortunate injury has ramped up the pressure on Junior Firpo, with one pundit throwing down the gauntlet to the struggling Leeds Utd left-back.
Leeds confirmed Stuart Dallas had suffered a femoral fracture during a challenge with Jack Grealish on Saturday evening. The injury will keep the versatile 31-year-old out for an extended period and will now ensure Junior Firpo gets the nod to start at left-back.
Firpo – a £12m signing from Barcelona last summer – has endured what can only be described as a nightmare debut season in England.
He has repeatedly looked vulnerable in his own half and his latest yellow card against City brought his tally to 10 in just 20 league outings.
Firpo has also struggled to influence proceedings on the offensive end too. His league totals for goals and assists currently stands at zero and one respectively.
Yet with Dallas now sidelined, Leeds have no choice but to hope Firpo can up his game for the final four matches.
Everton’s shock win against Chelsea and Burnley’s revival under Mike Jackson has seen Leeds dragged back into the relegation mix.
And with Arsenal and Chelsea up next, there is a real fear around Elland Road that their Premier League status might be coming to an end.
Tough challenges await Junior Firpo
Firpo will be as vital as any in helping Leeds to ensure that does not happen. Against Arsenal he will have to contend with Bukayo Saka and against Chelsea he’ll be tasked with limiting Reece James’ influence from wing-back.
And speaking to Football Insider, former Leeds striker Noel Whelan threw down the gauntlet to Firpo.
“He’s got a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders now,” said Whelan.
“He’s got to get better and get a continuous run of games under his belt – and put some proper performances in.
“It’s got to be more consistent from Firpo – both going forward and defending.
“This is the part of the season now where we need the real heroes of the season to step up, because we all know the situation we’re in. It’s a real dogfight down there now.
“We need Firpo to come in and play at the top of his game and show the form which made us sign him in the first place.
“That left-back spot is up for grabs for a long time if he wants it. So it’s up to him now to put some serious performances in and give this team a massive lift.”