By Noel Whelan

10th Jan, 2021 | 10:00am

Exclusive: Whelan drops big Helder Costa claim after Leeds update

Pablo Hernandez and Helder Costa will “definitely” start for Leeds United against Crawley Town in the FA Cup.

The former Leeds striker and lifelong fan at Elland Road, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, has insisted there is “no reason” the attacking duo would be left out by Marcelo Bielsa after their lack of starts in recent weeks.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, as relayed by the Athletic’s Phil Hay, Marcelo Bielsa suggested he would name a recognisable side against the League Two outfit despite the Whites’ demanding fixture list.

Leeds played five games in 17 days during the festive period, with three wins and two draws under their belts, although the Argentine boss made very few changes to his side.

Costa made just one nine-minute cameo from the bench while Hernandez featured as a substitute in four of the Whites’ games.

Whelan believes that the pair, who both made their last start in early November, will return to the starting XI in a strong starting XI.

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Whelan told Football Insider: “You look at the likes of Pablo, he’ll be in there, he’ll be playing, he needs game time.

“This is an opportunity for some of these younger players to go out there and show their worth, along with some of the players that have been on the fringe and not getting time.

“The more experienced players, like Pablo, like Helder Costa, they will definitely be playing, there’s absolutely no reason why they will not be playing in this game in the FA Cup.

“There’s plenty of players out there now where you know I think our squad has got enough depth there to put out a really strong competitive side along with the youngsters.”

Costa started Leeds’ opening eight games of the Premier League season but has played just three times in the Whites’ last nine top-flight fixtures.

Hernandez meanwhile has started just twice in eight appearances this term.

In other news, top-flight club tipped to re-sign Leeds United attacker this month.