Noel Whelan has insisted Leeds United can cope with the “shattering” blow of losing Barry Douglas for the rest of the season.
Whelan correctly predicted to Football Insider on Monday evening that Douglas had ruptured the medial ligament in his knee against Millwall at the weekend and would be sidelined for the rest of the season.
This was confirmed by Leeds in an official statement on Tuesday morning, as they revealed the left-back would be out for between two and three months.
The left-back was not in Leeds’ starting XI against Millwall but replaced Ezgjan Alioski at half-time and was hurt in a challenge with Millwall’s Jed Wallace after Marcelo Biesla had made a further two changes from the bench.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, our brilliant new columnist Whelan explained why United can thrive in the absence of the Scotland international for the final seven matches of the league campaign.
“It’s a shattering blow for Douglas, who deserves enormous credit for playing on despite clearly being in great pain in the final stages of the win over Millwall,” Whelan said.
“It would be a big blow to Leeds’ automatic promotion hopes if Alioski wasn’t playing so well at left-back. We have enough players to cope, and it doesn’t worry me.
“It would have been the first time this season we would have had a fully fit squad to choose from, with Kemar Roofe coming back from injury.
“But we’ve showed plenty of times before we can cope without key players and I’m sure we will do so again.”
Douglas has made 27 appearances for Leeds, including 21 starts, since signing from Wolves last summer for a fee of around £3million.
He was the established left-back in the first half of the season but has not started a game since New Year’s Day, when he suffered his second muscle injury of the campaign.