Leeds will reportedly turn to a former England goalkeeper in January after the club confirmed Jamal Blackman had been sent back to parent club Chelsea after he sustained a fractured tibia.
The 6ft 6ins keeper moved to Leeds on loan over the summer, but has had to play second fiddle to Bailey Peacock-Farrell, who has established himself as the No 1 in Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
But any hopes the club had of Blackman putting more pressure on the Northern Ireland international keeper were ruined on Friday when the player suffered the horrific injury in their Under-23s game with Birmingham.
The player was understandably in serious discomfort after suffering the injury, which means his time at Leeds is over after just two senior appearances – both in the Carabao Cup.
Confirming he had returned to Chelsea, United’s director football Victor Orta told the club’s official website: “Unfortunately due to the extent of the injury we will have to send Jamal back to Chelsea, which is really disappointing for the club.
“Not only is Jamal a really good goalkeeper, but he is also a good person too and he has been an exemplary professional since joining the club.
“He will be missed by everyone at Thorp Arch, we wish him well and everyone hopes to see him back playing again soon.”
Blackman tweeted a picture from Leeds General Infirmary following the injury, thanking staff for the care and expertise in treating him for the injury.
I would like to thank the medical staff at both Thorp Arch and Leeds General Infirmary for the excellent way they dealt with the situation and also thank all the fans for their support and messages 👊🏾❤️ pic.twitter.com/4GsA0hcRuq
— Jamal Blackman (@Big_Blacks) November 16, 2018
It all means the Whites have just Peacock-Farrell available as a senior goalkeeper until the transfer window reopens in January and it seems certain the club will be in the market to sign a replacement for Blackman.
Leeds have already been linked with a potential swoop for Burnley’s Tom Heaton, with the former England man edged down the pecking order at Turf Moor over the past two seasons.
The Clarets signed Joe Hart last summer and the former Man City man has firmly established himself as their No 1 so far this season.
However, any hopes Leeds have on bringing in England cap Heaton on a temporary basis rest entirely on the fate of Nick Pope.
The former Charlton man enjoyed a fine season in 2017/18, but suffered a dislocated shoulder in their Europa League qualifier against Aberdeen back in July.
If Burnley can get Pope back fit and challenging again for a first team spot, it’s likely Heaton will be allowed to move on and giving Leeds the goalkeeping cover they need to challenge for a place in the Championship promotion shake-up.
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