Despite sitting just two points off top spot in the Championship standings, with manager Marcelo Bielsa having made a positive start to life in England, Leeds United have been hit by the news that young goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell has suffered a knee injury. Bielsa confirmed the injury during a press conference ahead of their clash with Reading at Elland Road on Tuesday evening, with on-loan backup goalkeeper Jamal Blackman having been ruled out of action with a broken leg earlier in the campaign.
The Whites now face the prospect of playing either Will Huffer or Kamil Miazek over the coming weeks, with the next opportunity to bring in another body in between the sticks likely to come in January. Leeds have already been linked with a move for long-term target David Stockdale, who is currently on loan at League Two side Wycombe Wanderers.
Peacock-Farrell was promoted to first-team starter by former Leeds boss Paul Heckingbottom, however the Norther Irish international had come under fire due to his poor performances before suffering what is thought to be a relatively serious knee injury. The 22-year-old was heavily criticised following Leeds’ defeat to West Brom at the Hawthorns, where he was beaten four times during the 90 minutes.
Many fans are now calling upon Bielsa to make a move for Stockdale, who could still be available, despite his move to Wycombe on an emergency basis at the end of November. Stockdale was called up to the England squad by former manager Fabio Capello back in 2012, however the keeper was never able to earn a senior cap for the Three Lions.
Leeds are currently preparing for a tricky run of fixtures, however fans at Elland Road will be hoping that they can keep up the pressure on those ahead of them in the Championship standings. Bielsa’s side are still among the favourites to gain promotion to the Premier League come the end of the season, with a variety of betting offers surrounding this outcome well worth taking advantage of with online bookmakers.
Despite having a squad packed full of talent, experience is perhaps something that is lacking, something in which the arrival of Stockdale would certainly address. Stockdale helped Brighton & Hove Albion to promotion to the top-flight a matter of seasons ago, with the Englishman known for his organisation and shot-stopping ability.
However, with Bielsa unlikely to make moves in the transfer market due to supporter demands on their own, it could be that Peacock-Farrell and Huffer are left to battle it out for the No.1 spot for the remainder of the campaign. Huffer impressed after he was handed a start in Leeds’ recent Championship over Bristol City, where the 20-year-old kept a clean sheet.
Another potential arrival at Elland Road is Fernando Llorente, who has been linked with a shock move in order to link up with former boss Bielsa once more. With the Spanish forward struggling for game time under Mauricio Pochettino, with Harry Kane having been in such fine form, Llorente could well be an asset if he can return to anywhere near the form was saw during his time with Atletico Bilbao.
With summer signing Patrick Bamford sidelined through injury, Kemar Roofe is having to take on the goalscoring responsibility on his own for Leeds, with the former Oxford United man having found the back of the net eight times so far this season. However, with his high wages and advancing years, a move for Llorente is ultimately unlikely, despite his relationship with Bielsa.
Elsewhere, with Swedish international Pontus Jansson having joined fellow defenders Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi on the physio’s table, Aapo Halme could well be in line for further outings over the coming weeks. The Finnish youngster made his debut for Leeds against Bristol City, with fans at Elland Road having been impressed by the Under-21 international. The 6ft 5” 20-year-old has already been compared to former Liverpool favourite Sami Hypia.
Leeds face a trip to promotion-chasing rivals Sheffield United at the weekend, before returning to Elland Road in order to take on in-form QPR, who are led by former England boss Steve McClaren. The Peacocks will be hoping to at worst remain within touching distance with the league leaders after these matches.