Marcelo Bielsa reveals Leeds United's Boxing Day plan after Pablo Hernandez blow

Leeds United are set to be without Pablo Hernandez for up to a month

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 4:50 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 6:32 pm

Stuart Dallas is set for a return to the Leeds United midfield as Marcelo Bielsa prepares to be without the services of maestro Pablo Hernandez for the festive period and beyond.

The Spaniard pulled up in the first minute of the Whites’ 2-1 defeat at Fulham on Saturday and, according to boss Bielsa, will be out for around a month.

“It was an injury in his hamstring,” said Bielsa. [He will be out] for approximately one month.”

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Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. (Getty)

At Craven Cottage, Bielsa responded to the early injury blow by sending on Gjanni Alioski to play left-back, freeing up Dallas to take on a role in United’s midfield.

That is what he plans to do again on Boxing Day, when Preston North End visit Elland Road, because midfielders Tyler Roberts and Jamie Shackleton are still not ready to return to competitive action.

“Tyler Roberts and Shackleton are available,” he said. “One month they have not been playing.

“They are healthy but they need time before competing.

“I am going to play Alioski, with Dallas in the midfield.”

Bielsa has already used Dallas in the middle this season and believes the Ulsterman’s status as an all-rounder ticks a lot of the boxes when it comes to a central position.

“He is a dynamic player, versatile, he can play on the left or on the right side without problems, he has good mobility,” said the Whites head coach. “He appears in the final third with a good tempo, with surprise.

“He can cross and he can finish too. He defends, he attacks.”

Barry Douglas, who was absent in London at the weekend, is currently suffering from illness.

And there is still no news on a date for Adam Forshaw’s return, three months after he last played in a fixture for the Whites.

“We don’t know when he will come back,” said Bielsa.