Leeds United are expected to be without key performers Pablo Hernandez and Gaetano Berardi for a sustained period of time to offer another blow to Marcelo Bielsa’s promotion hopes.
The Whites have made an impressive start to the season under the guidance of the Argentinian coach and went into the international break top of the Championship following four wins and two draws from their opening six matches.
But their preparations for Saturday’s clash at Millwall – a match, ironically, where their promotion ambitions started to unravel last season – have suffered an untimely blow with the news that two of their key performers so far face spells on the sidelines.
Hernandez, who was absent from the side in their last match against Middlesbrough, is now expected to miss five weeks with what the club have only described so far as a “muscular injury”. Leeds had hoped the international break would allow the inspirational Spaniard time to recover, but it’s now expected he’s undergo a course of treatment and miss as many as six matches at a key time of the season.
It is understood Hernandez will target a return to action for Leeds after the next international break, with a trip to face Blackburn at Ewood Park on October 20.
Berardi, meanwhile, is also expected to miss the next three weeks and could be sidelined for the around five more games.
The Swiss defender, who made his name as a full-back on either flank, has operated at the heart of the Leeds defence this season to great affect under Bielsa and his absence will also be seen as a blow. Berardi left Elland Road after the Boro match on crutches, though Leeds are yet to confirm the exact details of his injury.
Berardi’s absence will likely mean a recall to the side for Pontus Jansson alongside club captain Liam Cooper.
News of Hernandez and Berardi’s absence follows news earlier this week that £7million summer signing Patrick Bamford also faces four months out with a knee injury.
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