Leeds United goalkeeper Marco Silvestri is at risk of missing the rest of the Championship season after undergoing surgery on a knee ligament injury.
Leeds are still to determine the timescale of the Italian’s absence but head coach Garry Monk is likely to be without his experienced second-choice keeper for most of the club’s remaining games due to a problem suffered by Silvestri last week.
Silvestri was missing from Leeds’ squad during their 3-0 win over Preston North End on Saturday and Monk revealed that the 25-year-old had asked to have an immediate operation to ensure a full recovery.
The former Chievo keeper has not played a single minute in United’s Championship term, lodged behind first-choice Rob Green at Elland Road, but he delivered influential displays in the EFL Cup and the League Cup and his injury has called on 20-year-old Bailey Peacock-Farrell to deputise for Green.
Peacock-Farrell – another Leeds academy product – made his senior debut and his only first-team appearance to date in a 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers 12 months ago but he was drafted onto the bench for Saturday’s victory against Preston.
Monk insisted that Peacock-Farrell would provide adequate cover for Green, saying: “All of the goalkeepers have been excellent this season. I watch them every day and all of them have improved. We give them the confidence to show what they’re capable of.
“Bailey’s a young player but you have to give them that trust. If he’s called upon I’m sure he’ll be ready but we’ll cross that bridge if we ever come to it.”
Silvestri, who moved to England on a four-year deal in 2014, was Leeds’ regular keeper during his first two seasons at Elland Road but slipped down the order after Green’s arrival as a free agent last July.
Following Green’s arrival, Monk sent Silvestri home from the club’s pre-season trip to Dublin after taking issue with his attitude but Silvestri worked his way back into Monk’s plans and became United’s keeper of choice in knockout competitions.
He has previously hinted that he would be forced to consider his future if he failed to oust Green from Monk’s line-up, saying in November: “I love this club and I love this city but the problem now is that I need to play and if nothing changes here then I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Surgery at this stage of the season is likely to ensure that Silvestri is fit before the summer transfer window opens but Monk has not ruled out the possibility of him returning to the bench before the campaign ends.
“You have to make sure the player’s comfortable with how he does his rehab,” Monk said. “He wanted the operation so we’ve sent him away for that.
“We’re unclear about whether he’ll be back before the end of the season but we’re hopeful he will.”