Gaetano Berardi is facing a three-match ban after being red-carded for an ugly last minute challenge as Leeds suffered a nerve-jangling finale to their 2-1 Capital One Cup win over League Two Accrington.
It should have been a comfortable passage into round two for Leeds after French striker Souleymane Doukara showed neat touches to score two quality first-half goals.
But James Beattie’s Accrington summoned up a late rally, James Gray’s shot squirmed over the line with six minutes left and Berardi’s rush of blood left Leeds hanging on at the finish.
Beattie failed to put in an appearance at the post-match press conference but Leeds head coach David Hockaday pulled no punches over Berardi’s dismissal.
He said: “I am disappointed in him and for him because his tackle was reckless. It was dangerous play and he has to learn. He got tired and when that happened he made a poor decision. He has been punished for it, quite rightly.
“I am happy that we are in the next round. In the first half we showed glimpses of what we are capable of but the second half was a reality check.
“I put three players on because at the moment I am giving an opportunity to everybody. We are a work in progress and need to build.”
Earlier in the day, Leeds agreed a fee with Chesterfield for Liam Cooper and a season-long loan for Guiseppe Bellusci from Catania.
Striker Billy Sharp is also expected to join after his release by Southampton but all three deals are subject to the players passing medicals.
Hockaday refused to comment on the signings until they were completed, but he added: “We have the potential to sign three players tomorrow and I am hopeful.
“It is obvious that we need centre-backs because we have only two in Scott Wootton and Jason Pearce.”
Doukara, who is on a season-long loan from Italian club Catania, had a disappointing debut in Leeds’ 2-0 defeat at Millwall on Saturday, but Hockaday was delighted with the striker’s transformation.
“He was one of those who didn’t perform or do himself justice at Millwall,” he said. “He was a rabbit in the headlights and the occasion got the better of him.
“Today he nailed the basics, worked hard and scored two very good goals. I am delighted for him because he has potential. He has a lot of work to do.
“The performances tonight and on Saturday were like chalk and cheese and so were the performances in the first and second half tonight. It shows we need to be stronger.”