Marcelo Bielsa has admitted that new Leeds recruit Izzy Brown is nowhere near fit enough to feature for the first team.
The Chelsea midfielder has yet to make an appearance for United since arriving on a season-long loan at the end of last month.
Brown has joined fellow Blues stars Jamal Blackman and Lewis Baker at Elland Road, but none of the Chelsea contingent have yet to start for Bielsa, with only Baker making a substitute appearance to date.
Brown is still recovering from a long-term knee injury and has not played since he picked up the injury playing for Brighton in January.
And the Argentinian coach says Brown will not be featuring any time soon, despite a flood of injuries at Elland Road, while he admitted there may be more of the club’s U23s involved in the squad against Preston tomorrow.
“It’s not good that a player plays 45 minutes before another game but even worse is when you need a player to play a game and he doesn’t have the fitness. It’s better to have more activity,” said Bielsa.
“It’s (Brown) a very different case. It’s been a long time since he played, he hasn’t played football with us so far. It’s impossible to say when he will be fit. It won’t be a short time.”
Bielsa, who was cautious about Leeds’ promotion credentials when asked on Monday, is currently without injured strikers Kemar Roofer and Patrick Bamford with 19-year-old Tyler Roberts starting his first Championship game this season at Millwall. He lasted 68 minutes at the New Den after missing several good chances and was replaced by Stuart Dallas.
Bielsa confirmed neither Roofe or Pablo Hernandez would be fit to face Preston, while Gaetano Berardi and Jamie Shackleton will also miss out again against a Preston side, who beat Leeds in the Carabao Cup last month.
“I always have the feeling of confidence. It doesn’t matter who we play against, I always believe we will win,” added Bielsa.
“They are a special team. Preston’s players have the skills to move the ball. It’s a mix between skills and aggression and it’s an attractive mix. They have a position in the table they do not deserve.”