The loss of Ezgjan Alioski for the rest of the season is a “massive blow” to Leeds United, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former United striker explained why the knee injury that has ruled out Alioski is the most damaging of the latest round of senior player injuries suffered by the promotion hopefuls.

Leeds announced last week that the Macedonia international won’t play again in this campaign, joining fellow left-backs Barry Douglas and Leif Davis in having his season ended by knee surgery.

Stuart Dallas was then hit by the full-back knee curse in Sunday’s draw against Aston Villa and he could face another spell on the sidelines that, remarkably, would rob Marcelo Bielsa of a fourth left-back.

Whelan explained why Alioski is the one who will be most missed by Leeds as they prepare for the end-of-season play-offs.

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“It is a massive blow to lose Alioski,” Whelan told Football Insider. “He is a natural left footer and that is something the team will really miss. To not have Douglas and Alioski is a huge blow.

“Stuart Dallas and Gaetano Berardi will always want to check back on to their favoured right foot. Alioski was playing well before his injury and is better at left-back than on the left wing. He’s very difficult to replace.”

Berardi replaced Dallas at half-time against Villa and is in line to start against Ipswich Town at Portman Road on Sunday, a match which Leeds must at least draw to secure third place.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that club chiefs are fuming behind the scenes after being trumped to “unbelievable” signing.