Get over it: Warnock warns Leeds players over McCormack

NEIL WARNOCK has challenged Ross McCormack’s Leeds United team-mates to step up to the plate in his absence – which he has labelled as an irreplaceable loss.

The United boss, whose side host in-form Yorkshire rivals Hull City tonight, is still awaiting the prognosis regarding the injured Scot, stretchered off with an ankle injury early on in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Cardiff City.

Last season’s top-scorer, who has hit four goals already this term, will undergo scans – possibly today – to assess the extent of the damage once the swelling has gone down enough with efforts to bring in a loan striking replacement having so far drawn a blank.

He is set to be sidelined for several weeks.

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Warnock is expected to have to make do with what he’s got against fourth-placed City and has called on his side to show some character this evening.

Warnock, who has scotched talk of a reported move for right-sided midfielder/defender Anthony Vanden Borre, with a striker very much his priority, said: “We always knew we were a bit thin on the ground, but really we could get away with (losing) anybody but Ross. It’s a major blow, but we’ll have to get on with and give it our best shot.

“The fans will also have to play their part, like they always do

“There’s worse things in life. Looking at the plus side, we have some very good players.

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“The fans will behind us, it’s a local derby, and other players have to take over from Ross. This is a great place to be at and we have to enjoy it. “We have to conjure up a few more goals, but there’s nothing to be down about.”

On his bid to bring in frontman on loan, Warnock - set to field either Luke Varney or El-Hadji Diouf in a forward role supporting Luciano Becchio - added: “It’s a bit late now because most of the better players have already gone out (on loan) and I’m not bringing someone in for the sake of it. It has to be someone who can improve the squad really.

“We are looking and we’d love to get someone in before the weekend. But the Hull game will be too early. We only have Andy (Gray) and Dominic (Poleon) to change the game. But we are short of forward bodies.”

Warnock, who confirmed that left-back Adam Drury is touch and go for tonight’s derby, admits fourth-placed Hull will represent the toughest of propositions.

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But if United require any inspiration, they only look back to the last time the sides met at Elland Road in August 2011 when United cast aside considerable pre-match problems to turn over the Tigers 4-1.

That night, United’s preparations were considerably stretched by the absence of suspended duo Jonathan Howson and Max Gradel, with Leigh Bromby succumbing to injury ahead of the game.

Warnock said: “If we lost two or three players, we knew would be in a difficult situation, but you have to go out and give it your best and not worry about that.

“It will be tough. Look at their (Hull’s) team sheet. They are solid, play five at the back and they’re strong everywhere.

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“But let’s hope we can cause them problems as well. There’s only 11 on the field, so we have an equal chance.*

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