Leeds United expect injured midfielder Rodolph Austin to be missing for at least the next fortnight - prompting head coach Neil Redfearn to warn that his squad is at “full stretch”.
Austin suffered a thigh strain in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Watford and has been added to the growing list of injured midfielders at Thorp Arch.
Redfearn, who was already without Tommaso Bianchi and Grandi Ngoyi for tonight’s game at home to Ipswich Town, said Austin would be absent for up to three weeks as he recovers from a minor muscle tear.
The Jamaican international limped out of the defeat to Watford having earlier produced a strike which Redfearn called “the goal of the season” and he has been a pivotal member of a resurgent Leeds team since the start of January.
“Rudy’s going to be two or three weeks,” Redfearn said. “He’s got a slight thigh strain, a grade two.”
The United boss is running short of players with his side still to make themselves mathematically safe from relegation and he made a fresh plea for loan signings to help carry Leeds through to the end of the Championship season.
Redfearn spoke with club chairman Andrew Umbers at Thorp Arch after training yesterday and said he had provided Umbers with another list of possible transfer targets.
Leeds have not signed a single player since the Football League’s emergency loan window opened last month and they have little over three weeks to take advantage of the market.
Umbers is effectively in control of the club in the absence of Leeds’ former president and disqualified owner Massimo Cellino.
Redfearn said: “I think the club understand. I’ve spoken to Andrew Umbers and I’ve given him a list again - a list of players who’ll do for us.
“There are good quality players out there and clubs wanting to offload them for different reasons. It’s a time when you can get players. I’m hoping we can get a couple across the line.
“We’re at full-stretch. I definitely think that and obviously we need cover.”
Speaking last night, however, Umbers dampened the possibility of new arrivals before the end of the season.
He told the BBC: “The players are in good spirits. Any temporary, sometimes expensive, new player entering the squad could in theory upset the equilibrium of the spirit of the team.
“Neil Redfearn has a good and large squad that he can utilise. Any strengthening of the squad will be done in early summer and for the benefit of the longer term.”
The United chairman was asked by the YEP to clarify whether he was categorically ruling out further signings in this loan window.
“No I’m not,” he said. “But we have a good squad.”
Redfearn is hopeful that Ngoyi - the midfielder signed on loan from Palermo in January - will be fit to resume training next week.
The Frenchman arrived from Italy with an underlying thigh injury and aggravated the problem during his first week in Yorkshire. He is not believed to have undergone a medical prior to his transfer.
Redfearn said: “He’s a fair way on with his rehab. I’m hoping that next week he can start joining in.
“He’s going to need a game so we’ll maybe try to arrange one for midweek and see how he comes through it.
“It’s been disappointing for him. He had a niggle to begin with and he’s aggravated it coming in here. He’s a player we could have utilised.”