Leeds United: Ex-Academy ace Cairney’s Elland Road return hampered by knee injury

Fulham's Tom Cairney and Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips (left) - both products of the Elland Road club's academy. PIC: Nigel French/PA Wire
Fulham's Tom Cairney and Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips (left) - both products of the Elland Road club's academy. PIC: Nigel French/PA Wire
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Fulham have a doubt over the fitness of Tom Cairney ahead of tomorrow night’s meeting with Leeds United.

The midfielder was withdrawn from a 1-1 draw at Reading on Saturday after aggravating a knee injury in the pre-match warm-up and is fighting to be fit to feature at Elland Road.

Leeds Under-23s' coach Carlos Corberan. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Leeds Under-23s' coach Carlos Corberan. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Cairney, who scored spectacular goals in both games between Leeds and Fulham last season, is a key member of Slavisa Jokanovic’s side and has made a habit of finding the net against the club who released him from their academy as a 16-year-old.

His injury-time finish in a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage in March was the fourth straight occasion on which Cairney has struck against Leeds, a run which goes back to April 2015.

The Scotland international was troubled by a knee problem in pre-season but recovered in time to feature in Fulham’s opening-day clash against Norwich City.

Jokanovic had planned to name Cairney on the bench at Reading, where Fulham overcame an early red card shown to defender Tomas Kalas to earn a point, but left him out amid fresh concerns about his condition. The Fulham boss said: “We will assess him. He will be at a better level for the game we’re going to play against Leeds.”

Kalas, meanwhile, serves a one-match ban tonight after being sent off just 39 seconds into Fulham’s game at Reading.

The Czech centre-back received a red card for a professional foul on former United loanee Mo Barrow.

n Carlos Corberan’s reign as Leeds United’s Under-23s coach began with a 2-0 defeat at Watford yesterday.

The former Valencia assistant took charge of Leeds’ development squad last month after Jason Blunt left the academy to take up a new role with Cornish non-league side Mousehole.

United have made numerous additions to their Under-23 squad this summer but second-half goals from Michael Folivi and Dion Pereira gave Watford victory over Corberan’s side.

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