Leeds United suffered a double injury blow today with news that defenders Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas are out injured for around six weeks. However, that could open a door at Elland Road.
Cooper’s injury absence was expected by fans of the Whites, he’d limped out of the Sheffield United game on Saturday having completed just 20 minutes. Finnish youngster Aapo Halme replaced Cooper for that game, likely being his stand-in until his return from injury.
However, Stuart Dallas’ injury, a fractured foot, was not an expected one – the Northern Ireland international completing the full game at Bramall Lane. Yet his absence over the next 4-6 weeks could actually open a big door for one young White – Jamie Shackleton.
Shackleton has seen injuries to others propel him into first-team reckoning. The 19-year-old Leeds-born midfielder had been impressing in the Under-23s but, with necessity being the mother of invention, he was thrust into action.
After a 17-minute debut in the 4-1 hammering of Derby County, the youngster got his first start, and 90 minutes, in the hard fought, 2-2 draw against Swansea. He is a youngster that many fans like, and Stuart Dallas’ injury gives him a perfect opportunity to build on his fledgling start at the club.
With Lewie Coyle out on loan, and with all options at right-back seemingly exhausted what with injuries to Luke Ayling, Gaetano Berardi and now Stuart Dallas, now is an ideal time for Jamie Shackleton to stamp his mark on the side.
With Leeds United entertaining QPR at Elland Road on Saturday, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Shackleton makes it into the side as a starter.