MARCELO BIELSA has highlighted the goalscoring threat of birthday boy Tyler Roberts who will be Leeds United’s no 10 in Friday night’s Championship hosting of Derby County should Pablo Hernandez miss out through injury.
Whites playmaker Hernandez has been suffering from a thigh problem and Bielsa will not play the Spaniard against the Rams if there is any risk of aggravating the injury further.
With Samu Saiz having joined Getafe and Lewis Baker having returned to Chelsea and now on loan at Reading, Bielsa has revealed that Roberts will again fill the no 10 role if Hernandez is absent - a role the 19-year-old performed in Sunday’s third round FA Cup loss at Queens Park Rangers.
Wales international Roberts was particularly unlucky not to score in the first minute when his fierce volley from the edge of the box smashed against the right-hand post before whizzing across the line and hitting the opposite post before bouncing clear.
The teen saw two other efforts from close range blocked in either half, impressing Bielsa who will now hope to see Roberts copy Hernandez in terms of creating chances as well.
Roberts looks set to play just in front of Mateusz Klich in centre midfield with Adam Forshaw in the holding role.
“He had three chances to score so this is very good for a number 10,” said Bielsa, analysing Roberts’ performance at Loftus Road.
“In the build up of the offensive play he didn’t have the same impact.
“He was influential because he participated in three important chances to score, but he didn’t build the offensive play that could have helped the team. Pablo builds the attacks and Tyler is more focused on finishing the attacks. Klich can adapt to any other player who plays with him.”
Roberts will turn 20 on Saturday and the forward said last weekend: “It will be a nice to play a game (against QPR ) and hopefully put myself in contention for the Derby game.”