December is only six days in, but it seems that the Advent cheer is flowing at Elland Road after the Whites opened three doors this afternoon.

For Leeds United fans, it’s been a great campaign so far under the wing of new boss Marcelo Bielsa. Riding the crest of a wave in 2nd place, rather than floundering in the troughs of the surf, these fans have seen some sparkling football over the last 20 games.

They are also fans who have seen injuries bite into an already thin squad. These injuries are being patched up with Under-23s drafted in and putting in sterling efforts to keep the charge up. So far, it is a strategy that has paid off, thus justifying Bielsa’s decision to run with such a trim squad.

The latest players to hit the treatment room are club captain Liam Cooper and winger-cum-defender Stuart Dallas. Both of these injuries came from the 1-0 victory over Sheffield United at the weekend. Both injuries will see Cooper and Dallas out for at least six weeks.

Yet, with the festive season just around the corner, Marcelo Bielsa opened three doors at once on the advent calendar at his presser today.

The first door, one that many Leeds United fans were kind of expecting, was news that Jamie Shackleton would be starting. We wrote yesterday, here on The72, that Dallas’ absence opened an interesting door for the Whites – Bielsa confirming in his presser (below) that Shackleton will start against QPR.

However, whilst it can be argued that Shackleton’s door was always going to open, it was the opening of doors two and three that was the surprise today.

Taking the latter first, Izzy Brown arrived at Leeds United already injured, the Whites knowing that they’d be playing a part in his recuperation before his loan came into full effect. Brown has made two appearances for the Under-23s: playing 45 minutes in the first and an 80-minute outing against Newcastle United in the Premier League Cup.

Patrick Bamford has been out injured since suffering his injury in the Under-23’s game at Elland Road against Bristol City. He’d made seven appearances after a near £10m transfer from Middlesbrough, scoring once. Fans have seen his fitness come on, including an absolute pearler of an effort in training.

As Phil Hay points out (above), there is no guarantee that either will feature on Saturday at Elland Road against QPR. However, with Bielsa opening these particular doors on the Leeds United advent calendar, fans are rightly celebrating.


About Author

Cynicism turned to optimism but without the woop woops and ringing bells. Leeds United supporter through thick and thin, more thin than anything recently. Write mainly about the Whites but turn my hand to other clubs. Lover of salted crisp sandwiches. Not a hipster.

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