Jack Harrison believes Leeds can emerge from their injury crisis stronger

Head coach Marcelo Bielsa has been forced to hand top-flight debuts to eight teenagers.

Jack Harrison raised over £30,000 by raffling his signed team shirt (Leeds handout)

By Mark Walker, PA Sport

Jack Harrison admits Leeds’ injury crisis has been the worst he has experienced as a player but feels in the long-term it will only make them stronger.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side have failed to hit the same heights as last season and in the continued absence of several key players sit 15th in the Premier League, seven points above the relegation zone.

Bielsa has been forced to hand top-flight debuts to eight teenagers and when the final whistle blew in his side’s recent win at West Ham he was without 10 first-team players.

Harrison said: “We’ve been really unfortunate this season with injuries and one thing and another, but it can only help with that mental strength and the fortitude, coming to a crucial part of the season where we need as many points as we can get.

“If we work the way we know we can, we know the methodology works, so getting everyone back will definitely help and hopefully we can get some points.”

Midfielder Kalvin Phillips and skipper Liam Cooper have been sidelined with hamstring injuries since early November, while successive ankle, hip and foot problems have restricted leading goalscorer Patrick Bamford to six league appearances.

Harrison said: “This has probably been the worst time honestly, the time with the most amount of injuries. It’s tough. The way we train and the way we play, we’re bound to get injuries I think.

“It’s probably been the toughest time-period that I’ve ever been faced with, with the amount of injuries.

“But we’ve shown a lot of promise with guys coming back, so hopefully we can keep everybody fit and stay strong for the rest of the season.”

Several players are expected to return to contention after the winter break and boost Bielsa’s options in time for the game at Aston Villa on February 9.

“With Patrick coming back soon and getting Adam Forshaw back as well, it will be good going into the Villa game,” Harrison said.

Harrison was speaking after presenting the signed shirt he wore while scoring his first top-flight hat-trick at West Ham to lucky raffle winner Rebekah Sheldon.

The raffle raised over £30,000 for charity and Harrison presented a cheque at Elland Road to Yorkshire Cancer Research, one of the club’s partners.

Harrison added: “Fortunately I had the ball and my team all signed it, which was nice. I’ll keep that as a memory, but I’m more than happy to give the shirt away for such a good cause.

“Maybe I was expecting around £10,000, so to get over £30,000 is incredible. The Leeds media team told me Patrick Bamford’s shirt had gone for around £30,000 as well and we wanted to beat him.”

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