Leeds United could be without experienced central defenders Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson for Saturday’s Championship clash against Norwich City.
With limited cover at centre-back, Marcelo Bielsa faces a challenge ahead of the trip to Carrow Road.
Neither were available for last night’s 2-2 draw with Swansea City, Cooper withdrawing in the warm-up with a muscle injury, unable to take his place alongside Gaetano Berardi – who the new manager has favoured in the middle.
Jansson was not even on the substitutes bench due to a back problem, forcing Bielsa into a late reshuffle of his defensive options with Luke Ayling joining Berardi in the centre.
According to Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Phil Hay, the Argentine confirmed after the match that both players could be sidelined this weekend.
“Re: Jansson and Cooper. Bielsa not able to say at this stage if either will be fit for Norwich on Saturday,” he tweeted.
“Cooper still being assessed. Withdrawn towards the end of the warm-up.”
Re: Jansson and Cooper. Bielsa not able to say at this stage if either will be fit for Norwich on Saturday. Cooper still being assessed. Withdrawn towards the end of the warm-up.
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) August 22, 2018
Leeds needed goals from Kemar Roofe and Pablo Hernandez to claim a point after Oliver McBurnie had twice put the hosts ahead.
The result kept the Whites on top of the table, ahead of Middlesbrough on goal difference and two points clear of Swansea in third place.
Bielsa may have to turn to Conor Shaughnessy for Saturday’s match, although the Irishman has not featured yet this season. The 22-year-old is the only other specialist centre-back in the squad
The other option he has is to continue with Berardi and Luke Ayling in the middle but as both are specialist right-backs, this could leave Leeds exposed.
Jamie Shackleton was drafted in to play at right-back last night and performed well but he has no experience at centre-back.
It may also force Bielsa to consider making at least one loan signing to bolster his options in this key position.