By Craig Scott

14th Jan, 2022 | 4:40pm

Phil Hay: Leeds United privately hopeful of major Kalvin Phillips injury boost

Leeds United are “quietly hopeful” of Kalvin Phillips returning from injury ahead of schedule, according to The Athletic journalist Phil Hay.

Marcelo Bielsa suggested in December that Phillips, 26, is expected to return from his hamstring injury in March [Sky Sports].

However, ex-Yorkshire Evening Post reporter Hay has revealed that Phillips could return sooner than initially thought.

Speaking on the latest episode of The Phil Hay Show, he said: “Obviously, Phillips and [Liam] Cooper are still missing [ahead of the trip to West Ham on Sunday].

“I think Leeds are quietly hopeful actually that Phillips might beat the March return date but we will have to see.”

Superb news

Is this why Leeds haven’t signed anyone yet this month?

It would make sense. Leeds need to add to their midfield options, with or without Phillips, but there could be a feeling that if the England international returns soon then there’s no need to rush a new addition through the doors in January.

Of course, we’d be very disappointed if that was the thought process behind the scenes at Elland Road.

Bielsa was left short in the summer after a failure to sign targets like Conor Gallagher and Lewis O’Brien. He clearly wanted a new midfielder and so did Victor Orta but instead, we got winger Daniel James for over £25million from Manchester United.

James can still end up being a good signing so saying that isn’t anything against him, it’s just that the club clearly had money and the clear priority in the summer was to bolster the central options.

Hay’s update on Phillips is superb news but there could be a caveat hidden away in there that’s halted any business in this window.

In other Leeds United news, Hay has also revealed a Samuel Saiz-esque situation involving a Leeds player this week.