Leeds United will have Ben White anchoring midfield against Huddersfield Town

Leeds United central defender Ben White is set to fill in as a holding midfielder on Saturday
Leeds United central defender Ben White is set to fill in as a holding midfielder on Saturday
0
Have your say

Ben White will be Leeds United's holding midfielder at Huddersfield Town on Saturday, Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed.

The Whites will be without Kalvin Phillips for the lunchtime derby, suspended after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season in the final game before the slate was wiped clean.

Phillips was withdrawn after 83 minutes of the 4-0 win over Middlesbrough, when on-loan centre-back White was moved there, so it is no surprise that is how head coach Bielsa plans to deal with the problem at Huddersfield.

Fellow midfielders Adam Forshaw and Jamie Shackleton are still two to three weeks away through injury.

“For a long time we've been working with White in this position,” Bielsa revealed. “He is going to play in that role.

“Of course it's a new position for him. He has the skills to play there but he's not used to it.

“We've been working with White for a long time.”

White is on a season-long loan from Brighton and Hove Albion.

When asked who would take White's place in defence, Bielsa replied: “We're lacking three players in this part of the team but we think we're in good condition to resolve this.”

Phillips and Forshaw are able to fill in as centre-backs, while Leif Davis is missing through injury.

It would be a major surprise if Gaetano Berardi, who filled in as a central defender when Liam Cooper was injured did not play alongside the Scotland international on Saturday.

Forshaw has not played since August, and his injury has taken a frustratingly long time to heal. Shackleton has had a third muscular problem and, like Tyler Roberts – who has a hamstring strain – is due back around Christmas.

“He has been missing for three months and still hasn't completed his recovery,” Bielsa commented. “He is working hard every day, he is very professional.

“He is paying a lot of attention to his recovery, the same as the medical staff, but we don't yet have one date when he is going to come back with us.

“Of course it is frustrating for him and also for us because he is a very important player who would have naturally been able to replace Phillips.”

On Roberts and Shackleton, he was only able to say: “It is about two or three weeks's recovery time and they are working through the process.”