Forshaw injury blow for Leeds ahead of Bielsa’s first game in charge
Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa has been dealt a blow before his first game in charge against Stoke on Sunday with news of Adam Forshaw’s injury.
Midfielder Forshaw has been ruled out for up to eight weeks after sustaining a foot injury that requires minor surgery and Bielsa said he had been forced to change his plans for his side’s opening Sky Bet Championship match.
‘He will be back in about six to eight weeks,’ said Bielsa via a translator. ‘He has an injury to the ligament of his foot.
‘It’s a bizarre injury, not very usual. It’s bad news for the team because Adam Forshaw is a big player.
‘But it’s not very bad news because we have other solutions for Adam and his position.’
Leeds, who appointed former Argentina head coach Bielsa in a bid to end their 14-year Premier League exile in June, sold midfielder Ronaldo Vieira to Sampdoria this week.
But Chelsea midfielder Lewis Baker is one of five summer signings, arriving on a season-long loan.
Bielsa confirmed he had no other injury concerns for his first competitive game in England, with Baker and other new recruits Jamal Blackman, Barry Douglas, Jack Harrison and Patrick Bamford all in contention for their debuts.
Bielsa said Chelsea goalkeeper Blackman, also on a season-long loan, will start on the bench, with Bailey Peacock-Farrell given the nod.
Pontus Jansson is likely to be among the substitutes against Stoke having only returned to the club six days ago following his World Cup exploits with Sweden, Bielsa said.
Expectation levels have soared among Leeds fans and media interest has also grown since Bielsa replaced Paul Heckingbottom, but the Argentinian did his best to play it down.
‘If we compare the history of Leeds and my own history we will find out the media attention regarding myself is not very important,’ he said.
Bielsa admitted to some nerves before the visit of Stoke, who are expected to mount a strong challenge to bounce straight back to the Premier League under their new manager Gary Rowett.
‘There is always tension when you have competition and if there was no tension I would be worried,’ Bielsa added.
‘The first game is our first challenge, where we will be able to show what we can do and when you take this into account you always have question marks.’