Leeds United legend Eddie Gray insists Marcelo Bielsa’s side have “enough in their locker” to avoid relegation from the Premier League despite worrying claims over the fitness of star man Kalvin Phillips.
The Whites have found the going tough on their second season back in the top flight and currently lie 15th. Indeed, a plethora of injuries have taken their toll on Bielsa’s plans with the Argentine liking to work with a small group. And it seems Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Brentford has thrown up three worrying new concerns.
The major issue surrounds talismanic midfielder Phillips. The England man was replaced after 55 minutes in the contest with the Bees and went straight down the tunnel for treatment.
The bad news does not stop there for Leeds either, with reports claiming Patrick Bamford sustained a hamstring strain celebrating his last-gasp equaliser. Furthermore, skipper Liam Cooper also hobbled off early in the encounter with a leg injury.
Bielsa will provide updates on all three players in his press conference at Thorp Arch on Thursday.
Leeds also remain without Robin Koch, who has been sidelined since August with a pelvic issue. Pascal Struijk also missed Sunday’s game with an issue sustained in the previous game against Crystal Palace.
However, Luke Ayling made his long-awaited return on Sunday, while another returnee, Adam Forshaw, continues to go from strength-to-strength.
Leeds also have a solid base of players to call on in their Under-23s if required – here we ranked six of their best by Google searches.
Kalvin Phillips the main concern
However, the main concern will be that of England star Phillips.
Despite fears he may be missing until February, Gray is still backing Leeds to survive the dreaded drop.
“Injuries are a problem for all sides,” Gray told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“The thing about it is that you look at sides and people go on about injuries and that’s right.
“But if you take say three or players out of the Chelsea side and took four players out of their side then they would struggle.
“It’s the same with most teams.
“Not every team has got 17 or 18 top class players that can play every week so for teams lower down the table it’s probably more of a hindrance because of the strength in depth that the other clubs have got.
“But it’s something that you have got to cope with in football.
“It’s not just our club, every club will go through a period in the season, injuries or suspensions here and there so it’s something you have got to cope with in football and it’s always been the same.
“You always get injuries to key players or somebody suspended but I think we will have enough in our locker to be okay.”
Dan James lauds ‘amazing’ Bielsa
Summer signing Dan James is one player Leeds can, however, continue to rely on.
The £25m man has become a regular under the Argentine and clearly likes what he sees in the winger.
And it seems the feeling is mutual, with James waxing lyrical about Bielsa and his coaching methods.
“He’s amazing. He’s a manager who is recognised around the world as a top manager by all the other coaches. They all really respect him,” James told the YEP.
“As soon as I came in, from day one, he wanted me to learn – and he knows that I want to learn every single day and that is what I have been doing. I have learnt so much from him since I have come in and I want to keep doing that.
“Everything on the training field, everything inside, all the analysis and things like that… I want to take it on board with what he has to say to me.
“He always has a reason for something. And even when you don’t understand it so much, he will explain it to you. He’s always there to help.
“I just needed to keep working hard every single day under Marcelo and I’ll always continue to do that. Obviously, the training routine is a little bit different, but he knew that’s how I play every week. So I think adapting didn’t take me long.”
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