Leeds United have been dealt a double blow with the news that Gaetano Berardi and Pablo Hernandez are set for lengthy spells on the sidelines due to injury, according to the Team Talk website.
Neither will be available for this weekend’s Championship clash against Millwall, where the Whites will hope to build on their fine start to the season.
With four wins and two draws from the opening six matches, Leeds sit on top of the table and are one of two sides – their previous opponents Middlesbrough being the others – to remain unbeaten.
However, the points for the 0-0 draw at Elland Road before the international break came at a heavy cost for the home side.
Berardi left the ground on crutches while Hernandez did not even make the squad.
Leeds have not revealed the exact nature of the Switzerland international’s injury but Team Talk claim he will be out of action for around three weeks and could potentially miss five matches.
New manager Marcelo Bielsa has used Berardi as one of his first-choice centre-backs this season alongside Liam Cooper.
His refusal to reinforce this area during the transfer window may now come under more scrutiny as he has to reshuffle his defensive options.
And Leeds will miss Hernandez’s creativity in midfield as the Spaniard recovers from a muscle problem.
The report claims the club hoped a period of rest during the international break might be enough to get him back to full fitness, but it is understood he will not play again until late October at the earliest.
Bielsa will therefore have plenty to think about as he considers his starting line-up for the trip to Millwall on Saturday.
Pontus Jansson is the obvious replacement for Berardi and as if losing Hernandez was not bad enough, Patrick Bamford – a potential to come into the side – is another long-term absentee with knee ligament damage.