Leeds United defender Andy O’Brien is unlikely to play again this season as he recovers from the hamstring strain which denied him a first appearance under manager Neil Warnock.
O’Brien has resumed full training with Leeds’ senior squad at Thorp Arch but Warnock is not expecting him to make another appearance before the club begin a major summer overhaul of the squad at Elland Road.
The 32-year-old was pencilled in to play in United’s Championship match against Reading on Good Friday, potentially his first start in over five months, but an injury sustained in the lead-up to the game prevented his selection at the Madejski Stadium.
O’Brien looks set to finish this season with only six appearances to his name after a year in which his involvement has been restricted by personal problems and fitness concerns.
He spent three months away from Elland Road while undergoing treatment for depression and he last turned out in United’s 2-1 defeat to Coventry City on February 14, the final game before Warnock’s appointment as manager.
The Leeds boss planned to use the closing stages of the term to make assessments of every player currently available to him but O’Brien is set to miss their remaining matches ahead of a sweeping reshuffle planned by Warnock during the close season.
O’Brien has a year to run on the contract he signed upon joining Leeds from Bolton Wanderers in January 2011, and Warnock is still to reveal which members of his existing squad will be surplus to requirements for the 2012-13 term.
The Leeds boss said: “O’Brien’s training fully but I don’t know whether he’ll play again this season.”
Warnock’s resources in his short time as manager have been limited by a spate of injuries and suspensions, and O’Brien was lined up for a recall at Reading with Darren O’Dea and Paul Connolly both serving bans.
Leeds moved to cover themselves for the final fortnight of the Championship season this week by extending Paul Robinson’s loan from Bolton, keeping him at Elland Road until the end of the campaign.
The experienced full-back played seven times for United during his initial loan spell and he originally arrived at Elland Road with a view to a permanent deal.
Robinson’s contract at Bolton expires this summer, leaving him free to look for a new club. He has no future under Wanderers manager Owen Coyle and recently expressed his desire to move on.
But Warnock warned the 33-year-old that he was unlikely to feature in all of Leeds’ final four fixtures, beginning with today’s clash with Peterborough United at Elland Road.
The United boss remains keen to analyse other options at left-back, a position where Ben Parker and youngster Charlie Taylor have both played in the past.
Taylor made his senior debut for Leeds earlier this season and he was included among Warnock’s substitutes at Reading with the 63-year-old battling a chronic shortage of players.
Warnock said: “Paul’s not necessarily going to play in every game. I’ve spoken to him about that.
“He wanted to stay until the end of the season but I explained that I might be playing other people at times. He’s quite happy with that.”