Alex Bruce says he is certain that Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa will recall Pablo Hernandez to his side for their huge Championship clash with Fulham on Saturday afternoon.
Hernandez was absent through injury last weekend as Leeds resumed their push for promotion with a 2-0 defeat at Cardiff, although that could change this weekend.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Fulham game, Bielsa confirmed that Hernandez is in contention to return to the side after training during the week, and Bruce is convinced that the Spaniard will do just that.
Asked whether a recall for Hernandez was a risk worth taking for Leeds, Bruce – who made 33 appearances for the Whites between 2010 and 2012 – told Football Insider: “Yeah, definitely because when you get to this stage of the season your experienced players are going to be key.
“He’ll be a healthy addition to the team if he’s fit. I think with so little games to go, if he’s fit, he’s so valuable to the team I think I probably would (throw him back in).”
Indeed, Bruce believes that the example set by the likes of Tottenham forward Harry Kane in recent weeks, suggest that Hernandez can make an influential return for Leeds this weekend, as he added: “We’ve seen Harry Kane and people like that who have performed well after having layoffs and yeah, I think if he’s fit, he’ll play.”
So far this season, Hernandez has scored six goals and provided six assists in 28 league appearances for Leeds, showing that even at 35-years-old, he is still capable of producing game-changing moments for the Whites.
As a result, with so much riding on this game against one of those putting the pressure on them in the race for automatic promotion, it would be little surprise to see Hernandez sent straight back into the side this afternoon, to give Leeds the best possible chance of keeping Fulham at arms length.