Marcelo Bielsa hopes Eddie Nketiah will be fit to return to Leeds training next week but has confirmed the on-loan Arsenal striker would again miss out against Blackburn on Saturday.
The clamour to start the on-loan England Under-21 striker has reached new heights over the past month, but an untimely abdomen injury has denied him that chance, leaving Patrick Bamford’s status as a starter untouched, for the time being at least.
And Bielsa admitted that the injury will keep Nketiah sidelined for the Elland Road clash against Rovers on Saturday, with Gjanni Alioski (side) and Jamie Shackleton (thigh) also missing out.
However, the Leeds boss hopes the striker could be available again for Leeds in the coming weeks, though he would not confirm reports he faced a month out.
“It’s the same I said before. His injury is in his abdomen,” Bielsa said on Thursday. “Week to week we evaluate the time of recovery. Now is one week and they told us one more week to see how he progresses. In the next seven days I will inform you if he is able or must continue to recover.”
Asked about reports the player could become more unsettled the longer his wait for selection goes on, Bielsa insisted Nketiah is happy at Leeds.
“I think if he feels comfortable with us, this is key for him to stay or not,” he added. “He must say it [if he wants to stay], not me.
“We have the same position as when he arrived at Leeds. After leave and share with him, our opinion is better than initially before he arrived here. That was very good.”
Bielsa talks up Leif Davis
With Alioski again missing out, Leeds do, however, have Barry Douglas available again at left-back after his recent injury issues, though he could miss out with Leif Davis looking impressive when given the chance to shine.
Asked if the Academy star was close to a start, Bielsa said: “He is one option at left-back. We have in this position Alioski, Douglas, Dallas and Davis is another option. Good value. Inside the young players we have at Leeds he’s a very good player and he has good options in the future.”
One shadow that looms over Leeds is the FA charge for using racist language imposed upon Kiko Casilla.
When questioned about it, Bielsa was giving little away but did state: “It is one institutional situation. The club is behind this case. Now we don’t have any news on it.”