Leeds United goalkeeper Ross Turnbull is facing a lengthy absence after undergoing surgery on a broken ankle.
Turnbull was sent for an operation on a training-ground injury sustained last week and is beginning a long-term spell on the sidelines.
United confirmed last night that the 30-year-old had been hurt during a behind-closed-doors friendly staged at Thorp Arch.
The former Chelsea keeper has played only once this season, in a League Cup tie at Doncaster Rovers, but he has acted as understudy to first-choice Marco Silvestri and his injury leaves head coach Uwe Rosler without experienced cover.
Charlie Horton – the 21-year-old signed from Cardiff City in June – is expected to return from international duty with USA’s Under-23s before the end of the week and could make his first appearance on the bench during Saturday’s clash with Brighton.
Rosler, who is being linked again with Southend United’s Daniel Bentley, could also look to the loan market with Turnbull unlikely to be available before Christmas.
Any move for Bentley, however, would almost certainly be delayed until the January transfer window. The highly-rated youngster is into the last year of his contract but Southend repelled interest from Queens Park Rangers and Hull City during he summer.
Rosler told the YEP: “He (Turnbull) broke his ankle and he’s had an operation. I’m not a medical person but we’re looking at a long-term injury.”
The loss of Turnbull, who moved to Elland Road on a two-year deal from Barnsley in July, comes with Leeds looking to recover from a 2-0 defeat to Birmingham City before the international break.
United have gone seven months without a win at home and dropped to within three points of the Championship’s relegation places after the Birmingham clash.
Rosler has kept faith with Silvestri throughout United’s Championship term, backing the Italian despite a handful of errors.
Turnbull made his only outing to date in the first round of the Capital One Cup match and has otherwise featured in development-squad fixtures.
The 30-year-old was troubled with injury at Barnsley last season and saw his free transfer from Oakwell to Elland Road delayed while he recovered from a back problem.