Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa gestures

Noel Whelan has suggested the real reason for Jean-Kevin Augustin’s latest Leeds United absence is down to an underlying problem with his hamstring.

The former Leeds forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, insists it has been “one step forward, two steps back” for both player and club in the lead up to the Championship’s return.

The Athletic’s Phil Hay reports that Augustin is being assessed by Leeds for a hamstring injury and he will struggle to feature again this season.

The 22-year-old was already missing for Marcelo Bielsa with a previous hamstring strain when the Championship was suspended due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Having seen the striker for a total of 48 minutes since joining on loan in January, Whelan believes there may be more to Augustin’s fitness woes than meets the eye and claims it can’t just be blamed on Leeds’ injury prevention methods or over-training.

Whelan told Football Insider: “Well there might be more something more underlying that’s a problem, it seems to be that hamstring that’s a problem.

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“Whether it’s not properly healed up, whether he’s got a weakness in that area, only specialists can tell us that but what I do know is that it’s not a good sign.

“He’s had a lot of time now to get himself fit, get himself into peak fitness, lose the wait, do the cardio that you need to get yourself into a certain type of fitness and weight – I keep talking about that fighting weight, that’s massively important for an athlete. 

“It just seems to me it’s one step forward, two steps back for this player and for Leeds United. It’s proving that it’s not been the best signing we needed in the January window.” 

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa

Augustin has played just three times for Leeds this season, with all his appearances coming from the substitutes’ bench.

Patrick Bamford has been Bielsa’s first choice up front all season, with Eddie Nketiah handed just one league start before his loan was cut short.

In other Leeds United news, a cocky first-teamer has been torn apart by a former Elland Road ace.