Jesse Marsch stated that he has “never been more excited” to be Leeds boss after the club bolstered their squad in the January transfer window.
Marsch is set to make club-record signings Georginio Rutter and Weston McKennie debut in the Premier League in Sunday’s clash with relegation rivals Nottingham Forest as his team chase a first league win since November.
Leeds top scorer Rodrigo was ruled out this week for two months after surgery to repair a fractured tibia and damaged ankle ligaments, but Marsch remained optimistic.
The American said the recovering Patrick Bamford had not felt this good in 18 months, while Tyler Adams, Crysencio Summerville, Pascal Struijk and captain Liam Cooper will return to contention from injury.
“What an incredible problem to have as a manager,” said Marsch, who will also have Jack Harrison available after the winger’s proposed move to Leicester fell through. “We have great options at every position.
“I have challenged the group to commit to the group concept, whether they are starting or coming off the bench.
“With five substitutes we should feel like we can have a big impact and push every game to the limit with the quality we have now.
“I have never been more excited to be the coach of this team and I am really looking forward to Sunday.”
Rodrigo has scored 12 goals in all competitions this season and his loss is a big blow, but Marsch said Bamford and Rutter were ready to step up.
“Those two are ready to carry more on their shoulders,” said the former Salzburg and Leipzig boss.
“We are disappointed for Rodri, but the good thing is that Pat is in great shape physically this week.
“The fact that Patrick is physically in the best shape in at least a year and a half is, I think, the most important topic of conversation.
“He went through a stretch early in the season where he wasn’t taking any chances, but part of it was that he wasn’t physically fit. Now he’s on the right track and we need him.”
French Under-21 forward Rutter made his first Leeds start alongside Bamford in last week’s 3-1 FA Cup win over Accrington after joining from Hoffenheim in a deal that could be worth £36m. .
Marsch added: “I also think Georginio played very well against Accrington and I think he is also ready for big challenges and big moments with us.
“We have a really strong team now, a balanced team and we are excited for the next games.”
The 24-year-old McKennie could start in midfield alongside his US teammate Adams at Forest after arriving on loan from Juventus with a view to a permanent transfer.
Leeds are bidding for a second away league win this season, which would bring them up to points level with Steve Cooper’s 13th-ranked side.