Neil Warnock is facing a fresh selection dilemma after revealing that Rodolph Austin will return home from international duty little more than 24 hours before Leeds United’s Championship game at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Leeds manager will make a last-minute decision on whether to use Austin at Molineux on Saturday with the Jamaican midfielder set to fly into the country as United’s squad prepare to travel to the West Midlands tomorrow afternoon.
Austin was involved in a World Cup qualifier in Mexico last night and faced a long journey back to England for assessment of his fitness.
The combative 27-year-old was previously troubled by fatigue after Warnock threw him into a Yorkshire derby at Sheffield Wednesday just hours after an international appearance in October and Austin could lose his place against Wolves after five consecutive starts.
Warnock, who has seen striker Ross McCormack laid low by illness this week, said: “I’m not expecting Rudy to be back in the country until tomorrow and it’s asking a lot of him to turn around quickly and play at Wolves.
“I’m not saying he’s not capable of doing it but I’ll have no idea about how he’s feeling until I get the chance to see him. It complicates things but there’s nothing we can do.”
Warnock has a crop of spare midfielders in Michael Tonge, David Norris and Paul Green – another player who has been on international duty this week – but he played down the possibility of recruiting a new winger in time for Saturday’s visit to Molineux.
The Leeds boss failed with bids for Birmingham City’s Chris Burke and West Bromwich Albion’s Jerome Thomas on the day of the January transfer deadline but the Football League’s emergency window opens tomorrow, allowing clubs beneath the Premier League to sign players for a maximum of 93 days.
Thomas is still available having failed to close out a move to Blackburn last month but he is expected to seal a loan move to Ewood Park once the Football League’s window opens.
Warnock said: “I’ve got one or two options and it’s one position where we could do with something extra but I don’t think we’ll have anything sorted before Wolves.”