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 have been hit with a frustrating injury update ahead of their game against Blackburn Rovers this weekend.
Speaking in a post-match press conference after their 1-1 draw with Luton Town, Marcelo Bielsa revealed that Stuart Dallas is expected to be ruled out of action with a muscular problem.
“He feels something in the lower back/glutes, but don’t think he’s going to play in the next match.”
Dallas scored Leeds’ equaliser against Luton on Tuesday evening, as they missed out on a golden opportunity to move further clear of the promotion-chasing pack in the Championship.
Leeds are now sat top of the second tier standings, and are six points clear of third-placed Brentford with six matches remaining in this year’s campaign.
It’s going to be a tough test for Bielsa’s side against Blackburn though, with Tony Mowbray’s men currently sat tenth in the Championship table, and just six points adrift of the play-off places.
But how big of a blow is Dallas’ absence going to be for Leeds against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday?
It’s definitely frustrating.
Dallas has been a consistent, reliable figure at left-back for Leeds United this season and more often than not, goes under the radar at Elland Road.
The Northern Ireland international rarely puts a foot wrong and is one of them players that keeps it relatively simple, but does the basics very well.
It’s likely Bielsa would utilise Alioski or Barry Douglas in that left-back role ahead of Blackburn, which is a game that the Whites will firmly believe they can win to enhance their top two chances.
Bielsa will no doubt be hoping Dallas isn’t out for long, as he’s a dependable figure that works well for the team.
This is obviously really frustrating news for Leeds and for Marcelo Bielsa.
Dallas has undoubtedly been one of, if not Leeds’ unsung hero this season, and he has been such a useful player.
He has filled in at full-back, either side of defence and in midfield too, and he brings so much composure and balance to the team.
He is solid defensively and is also good at going forward, as shown on Tuesday night, he can get forward into the box and score goals.
Gjanni Alioski would be the natural choice to come in and replace him, but I personally feel that the Macedonian is better coming off the bench with his fresh legs, so there’s that drawback to him starting.
Dallas will be hoping to recover as quickly as possible, as he is a key cog in the Whites’ bid for automatic promotion.
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It’s certainly a blow for the Whites to be without Dallas, who is Mr Consistent and has been arguable their player of the season.
The Northern Irishman is a real utility player and allows Bielsa some real in-game versatility.
That said, Gjanni Alioski provided some real impetus from the bench against Luton, so his inclusion in place of Dallas at left-back could actually work positively for Leeds against Blackburn.
We know how solid Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn side can be and Alioski’s dynamism and unpredictability could be a boost for them.
They’ll miss Dallas but the Alioski’s inclusion could prove a silver lining.