Leeds United: Dual boost for Whites

Ross McCormack.
Ross McCormack.
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Neil Warnock has been handed a welcome double striking boost with injured duo Ross McCormack and Davide Somma set to step up their comebacks in training next week.

The Leeds United boss, whose side face a Roses clash at Burnley this evening, is short of numbers up front and keen to bolster his attack before the loan window closes on November 25.

The potential return of last season’s top-scorer McCormack and Somma would ease matters somewhat, although Warnock is still pressing ahead with plans to bring in some new forward recruits, which he sees as the most deficient department in his squad.

On McCormack, out since being stretchered off in the defeat at Cardiff City with a nasty ankle injury and Somma – who has endured an injury nightmare since damaging anterior cruciate ligaments in his knee in pre-season training in July 2011 – Warnock said: “Ross is doing some light work with the younger lads and I think he will step up training next week and do a bit more.

“That’s good news and I think it’s the same with Davide. We haven’t an awful lot of options up front; no disrespect to the lads that are all there. You do miss your better players such as Ross.”

On his striker search, he added: “We are lacking a bit of creativity. We are trying to bring players as soon as anything happens (with the takeover). It would be nice to have that input now.

“We have had chances to win games, but do not have enough match-winners at the moment with Ross being out.

“Everyone knows we are wanting players and hope some of the enquiries come to fruition in the next few weeks. I would love to think it would be sooner rather than later, so we can get two or three in to give us a chance in this league. If I am honest, I don’t see anyone running away with this league.”

Tom Lees remains doubtful ahead of tonight’s Clarets test after suffering an eye injury in the first half of Friday night’s televised draw at Brighton – which temporarily blinded him in one eye. United are set to receive the prognosis today after the England Under-21 player visited a specialist yesterday and underwent a scan.

Skipper Lee Peltier (ankle), Michael Tonge (shoulder) and Luke Varney (calf) are battling to be fit, but Warnock is hopeful they will come through.

On Lees, Warnock added: “He was struggling on Friday night. Any problems at all and we won’t risk him (at Burnley).

“We have had blows in the past few weeks, since the start of the season really. So if there’s another one, we will just have to overcome that.”

Burnley head into tonight’s game on the back of a 2-0 home triumph over Wolves, a game which saw red-hot striker Charlie Austin net for the fifth successive home match.

The former Swindon forward is currently blazing a trail at the top of the Championship scoring charts with 16 goals, six more than his nearest rival Glenn Murray.

In all competitions, Austin has found the net 19 times in a goal-laden 2012-13, with Warnock seriously impressed.

He said: “Austin has really improved. His heading and his runs have improved and I think that just comes with confidence really, He is looking an all-round player and you would expect his confidence to be flying with the way he is scoring goals.

“When he was at Swindon, I remember he had a good year with Billy Paynter. You did not know which one was which at that time and both had good assets. But Charlie has really taken things on now.”

Burnley will run fitness checks on midfield trio Chris McCann, Marvin Bartley and Ross Wallace ahead of tonight’s clash.

McCann (hamstring) and Bartley (groin) were absent from Sean Dyche’s debut game as boss, while Wallace was stretchered off after injuring his jaw on Saturday, with Dyche optimistic the latter will feature.

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