Marcelo Bielsa is ready to entrust young defender Pascal Struijk as a stand-in for injured midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
“Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips suffered a shoulder injury in last night’s Premier League defeat to Wolves at Elland Road,” the club said on their official website.
“While we are pleased to confirm that surgery is not required, the Leeds-born England international could still face up to six weeks on the sidelines.
“Kalvin began his rehab at Thorp Arch (on Tuesday) morning and will be working hard with the medical team to return to action as soon as possible.”
Leeds are back in action on Friday night as Bielsa’s side travel to take on 100 percenters, Aston Villa.
And Bielsa says he’s ready to use Dutchman Struijk in Phillips’ role.
“I didn’t have the definitive amount of time that Phillips was going to be out for. I understand that the information is incorrect.
“It’s not defined how long he will be out for. It could be more or it could be less. The one who will play in his place will be Pascal [Struijk].”
Asked if Phillips‘ injury was bad timing, Bielsa added: “An injury is always uncomfortable, it always comes at an inopportune time. What you say is true, it comes at a moment that is very special for Kalvin.”
Struijk was deployed as a centre-half against Wolves, so his move into midfield will raise hopes Liam Cooper will be fit.
The Leeds skipper pulled out in the warm-up ahead of the clash with Wolves after sustaining a groin injury while on Scotland duty.
However, Bielsa was coy when asked for an update on Cooper’s condition.
“I can’t confirm whether Cooper is going to be available or not as we’re two days away from the game and we’re still not sure.”
Another defender sidelined is summer signing Diego Llorente and Bielsa added: “He won’t be available for this Friday’s game.”
Bielsa talks up Robin Koch
One man who has found his feet in recent games is summer signing Robin Koch. He was bought from Freiburg as a replacement for Ben White.
After a shaky start in which he conceded two penalties in two games, he has been a tower of strength in the last three matches.
Asked for his thoughts on the Germany international, Bielsa added: “He has had performances of a good level in all of his games. In the first half against Wolves he had a performance above what he has already been showing which was good.”