Noel Whelan claims that Pablo Hernandez will be straight back into the Leeds United starting XI at the expense of Helder Costa against Queens Park Rangers.

The former Leeds striker and lifelong fan of the club, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the return to fitness of the 34-year-old was music to his ears and that he will almost certainly be thrown into the side on Saturday.

Bielsa revealed that the Spanish playmaker would be fit to play against Mark Warburton’s men while also confirming injury doubts for Patrick Bamford, Ezgjan Alioski and Barry Douglas.

Having been bitterly disappointed by what he has seen from Costa since stepping into Hernandez’s shoes, Whelan claims that the Elland Road favourite will make an immediate return after Bielsa’s update from the training ground.

Asked if the Spaniard would be back in the starting XI, Whelan told Football Insider: “Yeah, absolutely. I look forward to seeing what he’s going to do tomorrow because Costa, one good game out of five, he’s not taken his chance.

“He’s not done enough to stay in that team. Pablo has got a really, really strong chance of stepping straight back in and taking his place. Really, five games out, someone with the quality of Helder Costa should have claimed that position.

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“He just hasn’t done it. One good game against West Brom and you’ve got a 34-year-old in Hernandez who’s going to step right back into his shoes.”

Costa has played in every single one of Leeds’ Championship fixtures this season, six appearances coming in the starting XI, but he has managed to contribute just one assist which came in a substitute outing.

Leeds head into Saturday’s game against QPR sitting third in the table, knowing a win could see them leapfrog West Brom at the top of the pile.

In other Leeds United news, Darren Bent claims a senior player is in a “strange position” at Elland Road after an official update.