Weakened Leeds turn to McPhail

Click to follow
The Independent Football

The Leeds manager, David O'Leary, is likely to name a rather makeshift side when the new Premiership leaders begin their Uefa Cup campaign against the Portuguese team Maritimo tomorrow.

O'Leary is faced with a lengthy list of absent midfielders as injury and suspensions rob him of the services of Lee Bowyer, Olivier Dacourt and Eirik Bakke for the game on the island of Madeira.

Bowyer is suspended for both legs, along with striker Alan Smith, following incidents in last season's Champions' League semi-final defeat to Valencia. For his stamp on Juan Sanchez in the first leg of the semi-final, Bowyer is serving a three-match ban, while Smith received a two-match suspension for his wild lunge on Vicente in the dying moments of the return match in Spain.

Meanwhile, French international Dacourt is out with a hamstring injury sustained during Sunday's 2-0 victory over Charlton at The Valley.

The 26-year-old will remain in Yorkshire for treatment while the rest of the squad are in Madeira, and is already a doubt for Sunday's home game with Derby County.

Bakke has been troubled by a hamstring problem over the past few weeks and will also not travel with the squad.

United's injury problems mean that Stephen McPhail is likely to start his first game for 11 months following an Achilles injury and the Republic of Ireland international should partner David Batty in the heart of the midfield.

With Harry Kewell on the left, Gary Kelly – usually on the bench these days given the form of Danny Mills at right-back – may be asked to play on the right wing.

Comments