By Will Butcher
Garry Monk has revealed that Pablo Hernandez will be unavailable for Sunday’s heavyweight encounter against Newcastle.
The one-time Spain international picked up a hamstring injury prior to the international break against Norwich, as the Yorkshire giants secured a last-gasp 3-2 win to move into the playoff places.
Speaking ahead of Leeds’ Championship clash against Newcastle that is set to be played in front of a sell-out crowd, Monk revealed that the attacking midfielder will not return for Sunday’s clash against the league leaders.
“A negative was Pablo Hernandez straining his hamstring at Norwich,” Monk said, as quoted by Leeds’ official Twitter account. “He is unlikely to make the weekend which is disappointing.”
? @GarryMonk "A negative was Pablo Hernandez straining his hamstring at Norwich, he is unlikely to make the weekend which is disappointing”
— Leeds United (@LUFC) November 18, 2016
If former Swansea boss Monk opts to implement the same 4-2-3-1 formation despite the loss of Hernandez, then homegrown star Alex Mowatt or Matt Grimes are likely to be considered to play in the number 10 role behind Chris Wood.
Hernandez was one of 11 new signings this summer, along with the likes of Pontus Jansson, Rob Green and captain Liam Bridcutt.
Also formerly of Swansea, Hernandez has been one of the first names on Monk’s teamsheet this season as Leeds looks to consolidate their position in the playoffs.
But their chances of securing a 10th win in thirteen league and cup games has taken a huge blow, as Monk prepares his squad to face the Toon.
Football Insider verdict:
The loss of Hernandez for Sunday’s clash is a huge blow. The playmaker has been the heartbeat of Leeds’ team in recent games, supplying two assists as well as two goals of his own. With questions marks raised over potential replacements Grimes and Mowatt, Hernandez’s presence in the sidelines will be felt by all Leeds players as they go in search of three points at Elland Road. The injury to Hernandez will also be seen as a huge positive to Newcastle, as they look to nullify their in-form opponents.
In other Leeds team news, Pontus Jansson has posted this message on Twitter ahead of their Sunday’s match against Newcastle.