LEEDS UNITED boss Marcelo Bielsa has explained the reasoning behind Niall Huggins' anticipated move to Sunderland.

Huggins is understood to be undergoing a medical today ahead of a proposed switch to the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland officials have discussed both a permanent transfer and a loan move for the Wales Under-21 international, but Bielsa's comments at a press conference this morning suggest Huggins will initially move to Wearside on a temporary basis.

The left-back was a member of Leeds' Under-23s team that won the Premier League 2 title last season, and made his senior debut against Arsenal in the second half of last season.

That has led some Leeds supporters to question the wisdom of sending him away from Elland Road, but Bielsa feels it is important Huggins heads elsewhere so his development is not stifled.

The Leeds boss said: "Nothing has happened we hadn't looked at before. These young players were part of the Under-23s in previous seasons.

"They have a process of development. When they peak in this development, like with each of these named, they have to compete with a very small group chosen for the season.

"In this case - (Luke) Ayling, (Stuart) Dallas and (Jamie) Shackleton play in his (Huggins') position. He hasn't got the chances to overcome these players at the club. If I keep him at the club rather than aid his development, I hinder it.

"If the youngsters are not here, there comes a moment they need to look for higher competition than the 23s because progress would be stalled.

"All our expectation is they compete outside the club for a year and we find an evolution that invites them back into the fold.

"Without exception, every player out on loan I see every week because it's my function, you grow a bond between these players, an affection.

"We desire it goes well for them and to bring them back. They made big efforts to be in the group and we accompanied them."