Kisnorbo’s misfortune offset by availability of Leeds duo

LEEDS UNITED’S defensive crisis ahead of Monday’s FA Cup trip to Arsenal has eased despite Paddy Kisnorbo being ruled out for the season.

Due to injuries, the Elland Road club were facing the prospect of travelling to the Emirates Stadium without a fit centre-half.

However, following Tom Lees’s recovery from concussion and Darren O’Dea overcoming a hip injury, Leeds will now have the requisite number of defenders to take on a Gunners attack that could feature Thierry Henry.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Despite that, manager Simon Grayson admitted that the news Kisnorbo is facing a second lengthy lay-off in three seasons following the 15 months he missed with an Achilles injury is a setback.

Grayson said: “We have been dealt a big blow because Paddy will be out for the rest of the season.

“He sustained a ligament injury and he will have an operation in the next seven to 10 days. It is a blow for us as a club but more so for him as an individual.

“He has come through hell in terms of his Achilles tendon and he worked extremely hard through dark days. To have this happen to him is a big disappointment and he has been very down and low.

“I can’t really imagine what he is going through mentally. He still had a bit to go to get back to the Paddy Kisnorbo we all know but game-time would have allowed him to do that. He is a great lad and this is another terrible injury for him.

“I have got other areas of the pitch I would like to strengthen too but this is an area where we are a little bit short now.

“A few weeks ago we had six centre-backs on our books but, as things stand now, for Monday we have got just two available in Tom Lees and Darren O’Dea.”

One bright piece of injury news for Grayson this week involves Robert Snodgrass’s recovery from his recent appendix operation.

The United chief said: “He is coming on but obviously the operation will rule him out for Arsenal.

“We are hopeful he might be back training in the middle of next week with the possibility of being involved in the Crystal Palace game (on January 14) but that will be on the doctor’s orders.

“It is nice to have your best players available and when you look at who we have had out recently, it has not been easy.”