Jean-Kevin Augustin is facing an uphill battle to make the Leeds United team when the season resumes, Football Insider understands.
The striker, 22, is in the best physical shape since his January arrival from RB Leipzig – via Monaco – and is over the fitness issues that clouded his first months at Elland Road.
A Leeds source has told Football Insider that Augustin still has a lot to do to convince Marcelo Bielsa he should be in the starting XI when the Championship campaign gets back underway.
The manager is minded to stick with Patrick Bamford as his first choice centre-forward, with Augustin initially in reserve.
Bielsa has been loyal to the Leeds players who have taken the team to the top of the league and is unlikely to deviate from that unless injuries force his hand.
The Championship is likely to return in the middle of next month although the EFL has yet to decide a definitive date amid ongoing talks.
The English second tier is expected to take its lead from the Premier League, which will resume on 17 June.
Leeds are completing a full week of small-group training at their Thorp Arch headquarters and are in line to go to full contact next week.
Augustin has returned from the lockdown sporting a new dyed-blonde hair style as well as transformed fitness.
As reported by Football Insider earlier this month, the Frenchman has made big strides in terms of getting into shape during the two-month suspension and the club’s coaches are expecting him to make a big impact when the season resumes.
Augustin was struggling with a hamstring injury and had missed the last three of Leeds’ five consecutive wins before the lockdown in March.
But he is now fully fit and said to be in impressive condition as he gets back up to speed ahead of the restart.
Augustin has yet to open his Leeds goal account in three sub appearances but has an impressive record at Leipzig, where his 67 matches have yielded 20 goals and eight assists.