By Craig Scott

2nd Nov, 2021 | 9:00pm

Joe Gelhardt subbed off early for Leeds United Under-21s in EFL Trophy clash v Salford City

Marcelo Bielsa may have had an influence on Mark Jackson’s in-game management as the Leeds United Under-21s played Salford City in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.

Although the Whites were 3-2 down against the struggling League Two club, Joe Gelhardt was substituted off at half-time.

There was nothing to suggest the young striker, 19, had been suffering from an injury in the goal-fest of a first half.

We feel as though Bielsa may have instructed Jackson to hook Gelhardt at the break to ensure that he’s fresh to play for the Leeds United first-team this weekend when they welcome Leicester City to Elland Road.

It won’t be an easy game for the Whites on Sunday.

Leicester will be itching to bounce back from their defeat to Arsenal last week with Brendan Rodgers’ side sitting in a lowly 11th place in the Premier League.

And with Patrick Bamford unlikely to make the showdown against the Foxes, it means that Gelhardt may be needed by Bielsa yet again.

We don’t expect Gelhardt to start but the 19-year-old ex-Wigan ace has shown he’s able to make an impact off the bench in recent weeks.

He scored in a penalty shootout in the Carabao Cup win over Fulham before winning a stoppage-time penalty to help Rodrigo equaliser late on against Wolves in the Premier League.

Gelhardt’s a special young talent and Bielsa may be trying to keep him fit and available so that he can be in the squad – and in the manager’s plans – when Leicester are in town this weekend.

It’s so exciting to see this gifted teenager develop before our eyes and to see it happen again at Elland Road is something we’re going to be looking forward to.

Leicester’s defence was a mess against Arsenal.

Gelhardt is someone who can muck up their backline again if he’s handed the chance on Sunday afternoon.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has responded to a worried Leeds fan after what Andrea Radrizzani said about Bielsa.