By Mark Smith

17th Dec, 2019 | 8:00pm

Noel Whelan hails 'Early Christmas present' after absent Leeds ace provides injury update

Leeds United have always had a number of injury problems throughout Marcelo Bielsa’s reign. Even right now, the Whites have a handful of first-team stars sidelined.

The good news? The majority of those appear to be on the verge of full fitness. We spoke to Rob Price at the under-23s clash against Bolton on Monday, and he revealed that both Adam Forshaw and Liam Cooper are nearly ready to return.

One of those that has gone under-the-radar is Jamie Shackleton, who has also recently delivered an update on a potential return date.

Noel Whelan asked Shackleton when Leeds fans will be seeing him back on the pitch at Elland Road at a recent event on Monday evening.

“Injuries coming along a lot better this time around,” he said, as shown on a video on BBC journalist Adam Pope’s personal Twitter account.

“I had some problems with my hamstring. I came back in probably abit too soon, and I felt it again in training.”

“We’re looking at being back fit for Boxing Day hopefully.”

Whelan reacted to the update joyfully, claiming that the injury news will act as an early surprise for Leeds fans over the festive period.

“An early Christmas present for everybody.”

Leeds have had little options in midfield recently. Bielsa has been forced to call upon the likes of Robbie Gotts and Alfie McCalmont on the bench – both yet to make their first-team debuts.

Having the likes of Shackleton and Forshaw returning to the fold would benefit Leeds massively. Both have experience in the senior side and will give the Whites much more strength in depth.

In other Leeds United news, MOT View: Leeds handed three major boosts ahead of crunch clash v Fulham