Leeds United winger Ian Poveda may be in line for a return to the first-team against Huddersfield Town this Saturday, having played a key role in Marcelo Bielsa’s preparation drills at Thorp Arch.
Poveda can be seen heavily in a video posted on LUFC TV showing the senior squad working on their fitness and game plan ahead of facing the Terriers at Elland Road this weekend, suggesting the boss is set to recall the January arrival.
Bielsa has opted against naming the young forward whom we signed from Manchester City in his matchday squads since the 1-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic on February 1, with the England U20 international an outcast for the following six Championship games.
The boss noted before we hosted Bristol City last month that Poveda was fit and ready to feature in his plans, and that he only missed out on a place against Nottingham Forest and Brentford due to a want of naming other options on the bench.
But while that stance has not yet seen Poveda earn a recall, his prominent place in the club’s training ground footage would suggest that might soon change. Who misses out in order for the London-born prospect to come in would remain to be seen, however.
Should Poveda feature against Huddersfield?
Yes, he should start
Yes, but from the bench
No, he isn't ready
Bielsa tends to name two defenders, two midfielders, two attacking options and a goalkeeper on his bench: with Augustin and Tyler Roberts favoured against Forest, Bristol City and Reading, while only one forward was named among the substitutes against Brentford, Middlesbrough and Hull following Augustin’s hamstring injury.
Jordan Stevens took up Augustin’s vacant spot on the bench at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday to join Jamie Shackleton as the midfield options, while Barry Douglas, Gaetano Berardi and Ezgjan Alioski formed a three-strong defensive contingent.
It would not be too far fetched to consider removing one of the three defenders to include Poveda against Huddersfield, with Douglas perhaps the most likely to fall foul with Alioski also able to slot into midfield and Berardi capable of playing at full-back.
In other Leeds United news, a player frozen out by Bielsa this year is now expected to the club in the summer transfer window.