Leeds United have suffered over recent seasons when it came to tying down a consistent, regular keeper.
In the Cellino era it was Italian Marco Silvestri that held the #1 spot, yet he was usurped under Garry Monk for the dependability of veteran England stopper Rob Green. Green last that season with Monk, before both departed for pastures new.
Last season it was a three-way rotation of Felix Wiedwald, Andy Lonergan and Bailey Peacock-Farrell. The latter has maintained his follow-on form from the tail-end of last season and is currently the Whites #1 choice.
However, competition is healthy and Leeds brought in regarded young Chelsea stopper Jamal Blackman. The gargantuan, young keeper was meant to be that competitive back-up for Peacock-Farrell, and that was indeed his role so far this season.
He stepped out of the shadows briefly in the Carabao Cup, but was resigned to the bench or the Under -23s for the rest of his action as a White on loan from the Blues. That appearance string looks set to have ended, for the foreseeable future, after an injury suffered for the Under-23s at Thorp Arch today.
Tackle on Blackman really wasn’t needed either. Loose ball in the box which he was always getting to first and the lad left both legs in (3-0 up as well) – nasty business. Wait and see with how bad it is. #lufc
— Joe Urquhart (@JoeUrquhartYEP) November 16, 2018
This injury is a double setback, it can surely not be viewed any differently. First and foremost, it is a setback for Blackman himself, the seemingly needless tackle with Birmingham City 3-0 up and coasting. It appears, by all accounts, to have the distinct possibility of sidelining the Chelsea stopper for a decent stretch of this season.
For Leeds United, as a club, it is a setback in that it robs them of a dependable back-up and means that they’ll have to dip into the Under-23s to promote a #2 to the bench. What is alarming is that the promoted player would have zero competitive experience – Blackman featured heavily for Sheffield United last season.
In fact, you can also add the feelings of Leeds United fans into the mix. The injury to Jamal Blackman not only adds worries about promoting untried youngsters to the Chelsea keeper’s injury, it also reignites worries about the depth of Leeds’ already pared-down, cut-back squad.
It also raises fan questions as to whether the Whites will see this injury as something that does need addressing when it comes to the opening of the winter transfer window in January. Until then, it’s a case of wait and see, starting with soon-to-be news on the extent of Blackman’s injury and the length of time that he’ll be out.