Six Out For Leeds Tonight But Good News For Saints With One Back
Tuesday, 23rd Feb 2021 10:45
Saints had six players out injured for the visit of Chelsea on Saturday, but the good news is that one of them will return to the squad for the trip to Elland Road, however Leeds United have injury issues of their own and they themselves could be six men down when they host Southampton.
The good news for Saints supporters is that Stuart Armstrong returned to training yesterday and appears to have been able to take part in the full session and came through it ok.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has said the nature of his injury is such that he is unable to play 2 or 3 games in a short period, Armstrong played the full 90 minutes against Wolves in the FA Cup but went off after only 69 in the League fixture 3 days later clearly feeling strain.
He was missing for the draw against Chelsea but was pictured in training on Monday ahead of the trip to Yorkshire.
Ralph Hasenhuttl now has to consider how and when to use him, from the point of view of a log jam of games, it will be another six days before our next fixture which is on Monday evening at Everton, so this may persuade Ralph that he can start the Scotsman and with almost a week before the next game he will have plenty of time to recover.
But conversely he also has to consider whether starting him would mean that Armstrong will not have a chance to get back to 100% fit and therefore hold him on the bench in case of an emergency.
Of course only the player and the Saints medical staff know how much discomfort it is giving him and what is needed to clear it up, so with a hectic period of games coming up in March including some important ones against Sheffield United and Brighton as well as the FA Cup Quarter final against Bournemouth, Hasenhuttl might decide to err on the side of caution.
Either way it is good to see that Armstrong's injury is not serious, but we need to make sure it doesn't get worse.
But our opponents this evening have injury issues of their own and they could be missing six players from their squad for the game this evening.
Most important is the one to England midfielder Kalvin Phillips, perhaps Leeds most influential player he has missed the last two matches with a calf injury that will keep him out not just for this match but for the foreseeable future.
Leeds' record signing Rodrigo returned to training a fortnight ago following groin issue, but Bielsa has confirmed the Spain international remains out for the visit of Southampton.
Winger Ian Poveda has yet to make a start in the Premier League for Leeds, but he has come on as a sub on 10 occasions so has been a good option off the bench aside from the last 4 matches he has missed after turning his ankle, he too looks set to miss the game tonight.
Robert Koch was a rock in the Leeds defence up to December, but sustained a knee injury that required surgery and it was said to be a 3 month recovery period, he is still a way off returning to action.
Gaetano Berardi, who has stepped up his comeback from a knee injury he sustained in the Championship game at Derby in July. He has returned to training in the last couple of weeks but is not up to the levels needed for a Premier League game yet.
The sixth member of Bielsa's squad who wil be missing is Adam Forshaw, the midfielder has now been out for over a year after suffering a hip injury and is unlikely to play in the near future, he won't play tonight, but like Beradi having not featured in the Leeds squad in the Premier League his loss wont be a blow to Bielsa having done without both of them all season.
So Leeds too have injury issues just as Saints have, essentially they are four men down, but two of those have been key players up till recently and another a key player up to a couple of months ago.
Like Saints they can put out a decent starting XI at the moment, but may struggle off the bench.
Photo: Action Images
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