This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has reported at his press conference ahead of his side’s weekend clash with Middlesbrough, that Tyler Roberts will be absent for Leeds having sustained a hamstring injury against Reading in midweek.
It is likely that this will mean Helder Costa will come into the starting line-up as Leeds look for a fifth straight Sky Bet Championship win.
So how much of a blow is the loss of Roberts for the weekend for Leeds?
“Big blow, Roberts has been in superb form of late and one of Leeds’ key attacking presences, creating multiple chances from the ‘number 10’ role.
“Roberts recently returned from injury and hit the ground running, adding an extra element of craft to the Whites’ midfield, which had been sorely lacking without Pablo Hernandez.
“Granted, against Reading in midweek, Roberts did struggle prior to his injury and substitution, only to be replaced by Helder Costa who gave Leeds much-needed natural width.
“In spite of this, it is still a massive blow to lose Roberts for the Middlesbrough game because he is one of Leeds’ main goal threats and key players going forward.”
“I think this is a real blow for the Whites as Roberts has become an important attacking outlet for them since returning to full fitness.
“Leeds were struggling for goals prior to his return but have looked more fluent with him in the side, partially due to the fact that his inclusion has seen them switch to a back three with more attacking players in the XI.
“Leeds should still have too much for struggling Boro on Saturday though.
“Having missed a large part of the season due to injury already, the real issue will come if he continues to be hampered by his fitness, particularly during a busy festive period.”
Is the loss of Tyler Roberts a big blow for Leeds?
“This could potentially be a big blow for Leeds as Roberts has illustrated some real signs of promise in recent weeks following his previous injury setback.
“Having started the last four games for Bielsa’ side, the Wales international would have been wanting to build on the momentum gained from these appearances against Boro.
“However, given that he has been ruled out of tomorrow’s clash, Leeds may have to turn the likes of Pablo Hernandez and Jack Harrison for inspiration at Elland Road.
“Whilst the Whites will still enter the game as favourites to secure victory, they will be hoping that Roberts’ latest injury isn’t serious as the 20-year-old is clearly a key part of Bielsa’s plans for the immediate future.”