Marcelo Bielsa is set to turn to Ilan Meslier ahead of Kamil Miazek in the Leeds United goal as the club are braced for losing Kiko Casilla to a lengthy ban for racial abuse, Football Insider has learned.
Casilla has denied an FA charge of an alleged racial slur at Charlton’s Jonathan Leko but a decision will be made next week on the goalkeeper’s punishment that could see him suspended for up to 12 matches.
A Leeds source has told Football Insider that Bielsa is braced for an extended absence of his first choice goalkeeper and is ready to put his faith in 19-year-old Meslier.
The French loanee was overlooked for a place on the United bench for six consecutive Championship matches as giant Pole Miazek, 23, was chosen ahead of him from late September to the end of last month.
But Bielsa brought Meslier in from the cold for last Saturday’s 2-0 win over QPR after a U-turn on the identity of his number two.
Casilla is set to continue in goal against Blackburn Rovers this weekend, but the outcome of his FA hearing will be known by the time the Championship resumes after the international break.
Meslier is then set for an extended run in the Leeds goal as Bielsa believes he is better equipped to stand in for Casilla.
Meslier has the greater amount of senior experience of the two young keepers after making 30 appearances for parent club Lorient’s first team in Ligue 2 in France.
He also believes the Frenchman is better able to cope with the fierce Elland Road spotlight as well as the playing style that sees the team build from the back and play risky passes to beat the first opposition press.
Meslier has been on the bench for eight of Leeds’ Championship matches this season, while the Pole was the substitute keeper for seven of them as well as the League Cup clashes against Stoke City and Salford.
In other Leeds United news, Noel Whelan has heard who will take over the centre-forward mantle if Patrick Bamford gets injured.