Marcelo Bielsa has earmarked a major Leeds United role for Adam Forshaw when he is fully fit again, Football Insider understands.
The central midfielder, 28, started the campaign in the starting XI but has had just one substitute appearance since August due to injury.
A Leeds source told Football Insider that Bielsa regards Forshaw as an absolutely integral player and plans to use him extensively when he is available for selection.
The January 2018 signing from Middlesbrough has been ruled out of Saturday’s trip to Luton Town, which extends his spell on the sidelines to nearly three months.
But he is closing in on a return that could come next week, when Leeds are in Championship action against Reading on Tuesday and Middlesbrough four days later.
Bielsa sees Forshaw as vital to the team’s playing style as his clean distribution and ability to dictate the rhythm of matches helps Leeds dominate games and wear opponents down.
The manager and his coaching staff have noted how Leeds’ completed passes statistics have dropped considerably during Forshaw’s extended absence.
Forshaw is likely to compete with Mateusz Klich, Jamie Shackleton and Tyler Roberts for one of the two advanced midfielder spots in front of anchorman Kalvin Phillips when he is fit again.
He played the full 90 minutes of Leeds’ first six league matches of the campaign, but has subsequently had just a 45-minute appearance as a sub in the 1-0 defeat to Charlton in late September.
Forshaw has made 52 appearances for United since joining from Middlesbrough last year.
In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that the club have agreed the terms of a £5million-plus deal.