Leeds United v Sheffield United: Marcelo Bielsa weighs up Jack Clarke recall

Jack Clarke scores in Leeds United's 3-2 win over Aston Villa in December.Jack Clarke scores in Leeds United's 3-2 win over Aston Villa in December.
Jack Clarke scores in Leeds United's 3-2 win over Aston Villa in December.
Marcelo Bielsa is weighing up a recall for Jack Clarke this weekend after the winger came through his first competitive game since collapsing at Middlesbrough last month.

Clarke featured in Monday’s Under-23s match between Leeds United and Charlton Athletic, stepping up his return from the illness which hospitalised him four weeks ago.

The 18-year-old has been reintegrated into United’s plans slowly following the health scare he suffered during Leeds’ 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough on February 9.

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Clarke was transferred to James Cook University Hospital during the second half of that game having received treatment and oxygen from paramedics in the away dug-out.

His collapse is believed to have been virus-related and he was allowed to resume training after tests in London gave him the all-clear.

Bielsa has avoided rushing him back but Clarke came safely through Monday’s game and could be in contention to rejoin Leeds’ senior squad for Saturday’s crunch Championship derby at home to Sheffield United.

The club’s development squad have another fixture on Thursday night, against Fulham in the last 16 of the Premier League Cup.

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Asked whether Clarke was ready to feature against Sheffield United, Bielsa said: “I haven’t taken my decision yet.”

Bielsa’s starting side has been unchanged for five consecutives matches and the United head coach is expected to field the same line-up against Sheffield United.

Kemar Roofe and Adam Forshaw are working to overcome knee injuries but look unlikely to feature this weekend.

Luke Ayling, meanwhile, narrowly avoided a suspension in Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Reading after referee Gavin Ward chose not to show him a second yellow card for a foul on Mo Barrow after half-time.

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Bielsa said: “This is up to the referee and I don’t make comments on referees. If we take into account your question, we could think the referee could have taken another decision.

“But when he (Ayling) made the tackle it was not with a bad intention. His intention was not to interrupt the action of the player.”