By Saikat Mandal

21st Sep, 2022 | 9:40pm

Leeds United defender Junior Firpo could return v Aston Villa

Leeds United full-back Junior Firpo has returned on-pitch, and he could be in contention to face Aston Villa in the Premier League after the international break.

According to a report from the Yorkshire Evening Post (21 September), the likes of Rodrigo, Liam Cooper, Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling could all return in October.

Firpo suffered a knee injury during a pre-season win over Blackpool and he is yet to appear this season for the Whites. But he is rapidly closing in on a return to fitness and could be in action shortly.

Nearly full squad

Apart from Stuart Dallas, who is a long-term absentee, it seems Jesse Marsch will soon have a nearly fully-fit squad to choose from after the international break.

The former Barcelona defender featured recently when he started for the Whites Under-21s against Southampton counterparts last week.

Firpo has struggled with injuries since he joined the Whites, and Marsch will hope that he can now continue playing at a stretch for the club.

The 26-year-old managed 24 appearances in the Premier League last season, and he has already missed a chunk of action this season already.

It will be interesting to see how Marsch deals with him. Will he integrate him into the side gradually or use him straightaway? Firpo is a natural left wing-back, but he could be short of match fitness, having been out for so long.

The potential return of Ayling, Cooper and Bamford will bring huge relief for Marsch. Bamford has struggled with injuries, and if the problem continues, he could miss the flight to the World Cup.

In other Leeds United news, a Sky Sports pundit has reacted to Gary Neville’s suggestion that the 49ers’ potential ownership at Leeds would be a problem.