Adam Forshaw return boosts Marcelo Bielsa's options for Fulham Carabao Cup clash as Rodrigo draws on last season's injury crisis
Adam Forshaw’s return in Leeds United’s Under-23s’ 4-0 win at Liverpool has bolstered Marcelo Bielsa’s options for Fulham.
The Whites visit Craven Cottage on Tuesday night in the Carabao Cup amid an early-season injury crisis.
Bielsa was already without injured centre-half pair Robin Koch and Diego Llorente before Pascal Struijk failed to have his three-game suspension overturned following a disputed red card against the senior Reds at Elland Road.
The 22-year-old sat out against Newcastle United on Friday with Luke Ayling replacing him in central defence, only to hobble off with an injury late on. Raphinha also picked up a hip problem in the latter stages in the 1-1 draw at St James’ Park, which went ahead without Jack Harrison who has tested positive for Covid-19.
Forshaw’s 30-minute appearance for Mark Jackson’s 23s at Liverpool Academy on Sunday afternoon comes as a welcome bit of good news.
The central midfielder’s interception and pass set Joe Gelhardt on his way for the final goal in Leeds’ emphatic victory.
Forshaw also created another pair of opportunities, teeing up Gelhardt for a shot that was superbly saved and feeding Sam Greenwood, whose effort struck the post.
Gelhardt scored a pair of wondergoals in the rout, the first a driven effort from close to halfway and the second a thunderbolt into the top corner from 30 yards.
Amari Miller and Struijk added the others and Gelhardt should have completed his hat-trick but saw a penalty saved.
Struijk was able to play in the game to maintain his fitness levels, with Premier League 2 action not counting towards his ban, taking up a first-half midfield role then slotting in at left-back in the second half.
Bielsa will not be able to count on the defender at Fulham in the cup, however, and may choose to dip into Jackson’s squad more significantly than he did for the second-round win over
Crewe Alexandra, particularly with Saturday’s visit of West Ham United to Elland Road looming large.
Leeds’ record signing Rodrigo says last season’s injury problems have helped prepare the squad for the current predicament.
“We have lost Jack now for Covid, we have some problems with the centre-backs.
“I don’t know what’s happened with Luke, I hope it’s nothing really bad.
“I hope he can be able for maybe not the next game - maybe not for this next game against Fulham but maybe for the next game next weekend in the league.
“We will see. We have different options. It’s not the first time that this has happened with us. Last season, in a part of the season we had more or less the same problem. We know that we are a short squad but everything is good to play and to help the team.”