Leeds United defender Diego Llorente may have to settle for a spot on the bench against Newcastle United tonight, according to Kevin Campbell.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Arsenal and Everton striker expects Marcelo Bielsa to “protect” the 27-year-old following a torrid run of injuries at Elland Road.

Llorente is fit and available for tonight’s trip to St. James’ Park, having recovered from a muscle problem which has limited him to just one substitute appearance for Leeds so far.

The centre-half made a goalscoring return to competitive action last week, albeit in the Under-23s, in a 1-0 win over Stoke City in Premier League 2.

In a press-conference quoted by Leeds Live, Bielsa raved about the Spain international and said that he could the Whites “in the aerial game and the physical game”.

When asked by Football Insider if he expected Llorente to make his full debut tonight, Campbell said: “I’ll be honest, I do not know if he will start tonight.

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“I know he has proven his fitness in the Under-23s but Under-23 football is a hell of a lot different to Premier League football. 

“They will try to protect him as best they can. He is a quality player but he has had a torrid time with injuries so they have to be careful. The last thing they want is for him to break down again.

“I think he will be on the bench and come on from there but if he does start, I wish him well.”

Speaking yesterday, Bielsa said: “Llorente has the characteristics of a strong defender.

“He is a player who is happy recovering the ball and he’s the player who has physical attributes which can help in the aerial game and the physical dual on the ground.”

In other news, Leeds United have attempted to ambush a West Ham transfer as jet flies in.