Leeds United defender hands Marcelo Bielsa major boost with Under-23s minutes ahead of Norwich

Leeds United defender Junior Firpo picked up some vital minutes for the club's Under-23s on Friday night.

By Joe Urquhart
Saturday, 30th October 2021, 9:29 am
Updated Saturday, 30th October 2021, 9:30 am

The Whites hosted Arsenal at Elland Road in Premier League 2 action and the full-back played out 30 minutes of the 4-2 defeat in LS11.

Firpo was selected from the start by head coach Mark Jackson before being replaced on the half hour mark by Leo Hjelde in front of a near 9,000 crowd.

The 25-year-old has been missing from Bielsa's first team line-up since the win over Watford earlier this month due to a muscle injury.

He has featured in six games since his summer move from Barcelona and is now expected to return to the senior squad for Sunday's trip to Norwich City.

Leeds travel to Carrow Road this weekend in the top flight looking to secure a second victory of the 2021/22 season.

Daniel Farke' s hosts are yet to take three points having gathered just two points from nine games and were heavily beaten by Chelsea last week 7-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Bielsa is still set to be without last season's top goalscorer Patrick Bamford, full-back Luke Ayling and centre-back Robin Koch but Firpo is set to provide a boost with his return.

Leeds United defender Junior Firpor. Pic: Getty

Raphinha and Jamie Shackleton - who missed the midweek trip to Arsenal in the League Cup - are also available for the Whites.

"Firpo and Raphinha are likely to be available and Bamford won't be," Bielsa told his pre-match press conference.

"Kalvin is also available. Shackleton is likely to be available and Ayling won't be. There is no precise return date for Ayling, Bamford or Koch."

Norwich defender Christoph Zimmermann has undergone ankle surgery and is expected to be out for up to six weeks.

Ben Gibson is suspended after his red card in the capital last week while midfielder Billy Gilmour is eligible after being unable to face his parent club.

Todd Cantwell has also been absent in recent weeks with Farke saying he isn't yet back up to the standard required to play in the top flight.

The 23-year-old was missing for personal reasons before picking up an Achilles injury in training.

Former Leeds academy product and long-term absentee Sam Byram remains sidelined for the hosts but is edging closer to full fitness after nearly two years out.