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Injury, illness and another transfer window with no new left-back have left Junior Firpo holding the fort in that Leeds United corner. Of the 1,200 minutes Leeds have played across the last 13 matches, Firpo has missed just 164.

For a man with such a wretched injury record since arriving in 2021, Firpo has put together a very consistent body of work in 2024. Wednesday was a night off Daniel Farke wanted to give the Dominican until Jamie Shackleton fell ill in the afternoon.

So Firpo had to step up for another 90 minutes, dealing with the likes of Noni Madueke and Raheem Sterling for the evening. It was far from perfect defensively, but Farke was encouraged by his defender’s attacking work, which had been lacking in recent outings, he feels.

READ MORE: Illan Meslier verdict on Leeds United’s 2020 title winners vs Daniel Farke’s 2024 chasers

The 27-year-old began the year with four assists in four matches, but that output has dried up. Stamford Bridge seemed to tease some of that enterprise out of Firpo, especially as he linked up with the hugely impressive Jaidon Anthony.

Shackleton remains ill and unavailable this lunchtime, while Sam Byram is unlikely to be ready for anything more than 30 minutes from the bench. Connor Roberts or Archie Gray could be a consideration for Farke, given he wanted to rest Firpo in midweek, but the manager remains optimistic he should be ready for the derby.

“Junior is alright,” said Farke. “He played yesterday (Wednesday), 90 minutes, and, actually, I would have preferred to be a bit more careful. That was the reason I would have liked to start Jamie.

Sam was not prepared for a long-term appearance. I also have to keep in mind he needs always a bit longer until he’s there, ready for the game.

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