Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa

Alex Bruce claims that keeping the players fit could be the difference between Leeds United being promoted or not this season. 

The former Leeds and Northern Ireland centre-back, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes that there will be a “lot of injuries” across the Championship when the season resumes.

The Athletic’s Phil Hay has reported via Twitter that Whites striker Jean-Kevin Augustin has suffered a recurrence of the hamstring issue which kept him out prior to the Championship shutdown.

The 22-year-old sat out the club’s last three games before lockdown with the muscle strain, having arrived from RB Leipzig on loan in January.

Bruce believes that many more will join the hitman on the sidelines over the coming weeks and suggests the success and failure will be determined by who can keep their players fit and firing.

Bruce told Football Insider: “When you’re trying to get back to fitness and trying to get back to fitness, without having a proper pre-season, this (a muscle strain like Augustin’s) is a problem a lot of clubs are going to face.

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“I think there are going to be a lot of injuries over the next couple of weeks when the season’s back up and running again.

“For people who are going to get over the line in terms of promotions and relegations and things like that, it’s which squad’s going to be able to deal with so many games over such a short period of time, especially with having such a long time off.” 

Augustin has played just 48 minutes in the Championship this season, while he was in and out the side on loan at AS Monaco during the first half of the campaign.

Patrick Bamford has been Bielsa’s first-choice striker all season, with Tyler Roberts the only other recognised senior centre-forward in the squad.

In other Leeds United news, Darren Bent has been wowed by a training ground update from Phil Hay.