Ad nauseum, or so it seems, I writes that Leeds United are running on a squad so pared back that it seemed skeletal in its make-up.
That was at the start of this campaign, the bare basic squad installed at the insistence of new Manager Marcelo Bielsa. Trimmed back it might have been then, but now it is looking more than a little bare and emaciated in places.
Injuries have started to bite at Elland Road, and they are biting deep. Such is the depth of these, especially among the defensive cohort, that the Whites are having to look within for remedy. As gaps start to appear, as more injuries stretch the already stretched that little further.
The ethos underpinning Leeds United, that ‘small squad approach’, isn’t really open to a great deal of stretching before the elasticity provided by dual-purpose players shows signs of crumbling.
In a way, that has already started and there are definite signs of wear and tear developing. It is only two or so games ago that the Whites were forced to plunge into the Under-23 talent pool and bring up TWO goalkeepers for first-team duty. Will Huffer got the not that day, Kamil Miazek heading up a supporting role on the bench.
This week has seen defenders Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas become the latest to suffer injuries. Bielsa has already said that Jamie Shackleton will replace Dallas, and Aapo Halme will likely slot in at the side of Pontus Jansson at the heart of defence. Whichever way you approach it, glass half-full or half-empty, it isn’t the most ideal of situations.
Essentially, with the next transfer and loan window still 25 days away, Leeds United were/are having to plug the ever-increasing gaps with players from the youth sides at Elland Road. So far, it is a gamble that has worked.
However, in any game of high stakes gambling, sooner or later the luck runs out. When that happens, things turn bad – that could happen for Bielsa’s Leeds United. At the moment though, things are good and the Whites are riding both the wave and their luck.
However, with the January window about to open in less than a calendar month, the question is will the Whites resolve be tested?