Burnley v Leeds United: Whites wait on Lees test

PAINFUL: United defender Tom Lees after being accidentally poked in the eye in the 2-2 draw at Brighton.
PAINFUL: United defender Tom Lees after being accidentally poked in the eye in the 2-2 draw at Brighton.
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Tom Lees could miss Leeds United’s game at Burnley on Tuesday after receiving hospital treatment on a bizarre injury suffered in their 2-2 draw with Brighton.

Lees was temporarily blinded in one eye during the first half of Friday’s match at the Amex Stadium and underwent medical examinations on the south coast later that night.

Manager Neil Warnock described the injury – caused by an innocuous blow to the defender’s face – as “a worry”, and Lees is a doubt for United’s trip to Burnley having left the field after 40 minutes of their draw at Brighton.

His premature exit from a lively Championship game ended a difficult week for Lees, who learned on Wednesday that he was to be charged by Serbian Police over his involvement in the brawl which marred an under-21 fixture between England and Serbia last month.

Warnock selected him as planned at Brighton having given Lees his backing beforehand, but the injury sustained by the 21-year-old has put further strain on an already stretched defence.

Warnock said: “Tom got a nasty finger in his face. He couldn’t see out of one eye and it blinded him for a bit.

“He went to hospital and it’s a worry for us. We’ll have to cross our fingers on that.”

Warnock has limited alternatives and numerous fitness concerns, and United captain Lee Peltier completed 90 minutes of the clash with Brighton despite continuing to suffer from the ankle injury he sustained in last month’s Yorkshire derby at Sheffield Wednesday.

He is likely to partner Jason Pearce in the centre of defence at Turf Moor if Lees fails to recover, and Pearce’s narrow avoidance of a yellow card against Brighton spared Warnock from a more serious selection crisis tomorrow.

Pearce is one booking away from a mandatory one-match ban and he was one of several players who benefited from a lenient performance from referee Lee Mason on Friday.

Mason came in for criticism from Brighton manager Gus Poyet afterwards but Warnock defended the official, saying: “He didn’t get much wrong in a game like that. He was one of the better people on the pitch.”

Leeds midfielder Michael Brown is also on the threshold of a one-match suspension after receiving his fourth yellow card of the season on Friday.

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