Leeds United head into the weekend looking to recapture the form that saw them gain a comfortable lead in the top two before the New Year, as they prepare to face a Nottingham Forest side keen to close the gap to just a point.
The Whites have been the red-hot favourites to clinch automatic promotion throughout the vast majority of this season, but their recent results have seen them make hard work of the race for the top two.
Over the festive period, Marcelo Bielsa’s side have seen their gap cut from 11 points down to a mere three heading into this weekend. It hasn’t been a good run, with just two wins in the last nine league games, showing how poor they have been in that time.
Like most teams, Leeds haven’t been without their fair share of injury problems throughout the season and while it should never be an excuse for those at Elland Road, it hasn’t boded well coinciding with their already very thin first-team squad.
As Bielsa and his squad prepare for a crunch double-header against promotion rivals, Forest and Brentford, we wrap up all of the current injury news at Elland Road to see who’s not available…
The experienced central midfielder has seen his season blighted by a niggling injury that just doesn’t seem like letting up any time soon.
Having not featured since September’s defeat to Charlton Athletic, Forshaw has been struggling with a hip injury that is not showing any signs at the moment of relenting soon.
Phil Hay of The Athletic revealed at the end of January that the club were hoping to see Forshaw get through the last stages of his recovery in the coming weeks and are hoping to avoid him needing surgery, knowing that will rule him out for the rest of the season. However, he has already missed a huge chunk of it already and Leeds have managed to maintain their top two push.
Roberts has been another that has been frustrated with injuries that have kept him out for lengthy spells, only to return for a handful of games before suffering another setback.
The attacking midfielder came on for an impressive cameo against Wigan Athletic last time out as he nears full match fitness.
He will be pushing for a start tomorrow evening when the Whites face Forest, especially given that he was the most lively player on the pitch and seemed to be the only man eager to make anything happen in the final third.
Marcelo Bielsa might be tempted to give him a bit more time just to be completely sure that he has recovered 100% from the muscular injuries that have made his campaign so far very stop-start.
The energetic central midfielder has also suffered from muscular injuries in similar regard to Roberts, with short stints in the side here and there but not really managing to muster up a run of games.
Shackleton featured briefly in the win over Millwall as Leeds looked to see out the memorable comeback but did not play in the following defeat to Wigan.
Leeds’ under-23s played on Monday afternoon against Sheffield Wednesday and Shackleton put in a strong performance and put more minutes in the tank as he steps up his work towards being fully fit, just as Roberts is.
Yet another player suffering from regular visits to the treatment table since his arrival from Molineux is Barry Douglas.
A mixture of knee and muscular injuries have stopped him from really capturing the form that saw him help lift the title as Wolves’ left-wing-back in 2017/18.
Footage from LUTV has revealed that he is taking part in the regular training sessions and is likely to be in the squad for the trip to the City Ground on Saturday evening.
Marcelo Bielsa spoke in his press conference for 59 minutes on Thursday about the dynamic of integrating new signings into his squad and how their lack of action is a massive stumbling block to throwing them in at the deep end.
Jean-Kevin Augustin arrived at Leeds without much game-time and Bielsa was eager to outline that he has been unavailable for that reason and until he is up to speed, that will most likely remain the case.
Ian Poveda is in a similar position but could be in-line to make his debut against Forest on Saturday, having had more time with the squad to train.
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Only the one suspension for Leeds to worry about, but it is a big one as midfield lynchpin Kalvin Phillips sits out with a three-match ban following his rash and dangerous tackle in the closing stages of the QPR defeat.
Last season saw Phillips sent off for a similar tackle in January too, as he went in late and forceful against Saturday’s opponents, Forest.
This game is the last of his ban and he will be free to face Brentford on Tuesday night.