Luke Ayling will make his Leeds United return in December, Marcelo Bielsa confirmed at his media conference today (Thursday).
The United right-back was ruled out for months after suffering knee ligament damage against Nottingham Forest at the end of October but he is now on the mend.
Bielsa revealed, as reported by the official Leeds Twitter account, that the defender “will be back this month” in what is a major boost for the club following a series of shattering senior player injuries.
???? | Marcelo: "Ayling will be back this month, Berardi and Cooper will be at the end of January or beginning of February. Pearce and Dallas will also be back in the following weeks. Bamford and Brown are available now."
— Leeds United (@LUFC) December 6, 2018
As reported by Yorkshire Evening Post correspondent Phil Hay a few weeks ago, Ayling had been expected to be absent until the new year.
saw him yesterday and he’s not wearing a protective brace or anything but January was the likely date last time I asked
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) November 23, 2018
News Ayling is on his way back is a huge boost for Leeds. It could not be more timely given that senior defenders have been falling like ninepins in recent times, with Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas both absent until at least the end of January after suffering knee and foot injuries respectively last weekend. With Gaetano Berardi a long-term absentee, and Pontus Jansson and Barry Douglas only recently back after injuries of their own, to say Leeds have a problem keeping their senior defenders on the pitch is a huge understatement. Ayling is an integral member of the United starting XI and was playing some of the best football of his career before breaking down in the first half of that clash against Forest. Dallas provided an adequate stop-gap, and young gun Jamie Shackleton will now look to do the business over the next match or two, but it is vital for the team’s promotion hopes that Ayling is soon back fit and firing. The stop-gaps and emergency options have filled in well, but nothing beats the real thing and Ayling has been one of the best in his position in the English second tier since signing from Bristol City in the summer of 2016.