FOR Neil Warnock, the end of the Championship season cannot come quickly enough.
Last weekend’s defeat to Watford means any slim hopes of gate-crashing the play-offs are all but over, while the last few days have hardly brought news to lighten the mood with a virus having swept through Elland Road to add to the United manager’s selection woes ahead of tomorrow’s televised game with Reading.
The bug that meant a couple of the Leeds squad were unable to attend Tuesday’s promotional visit to Flamingo Land, who sponsor the club’s Academy, means Warnock’s resources are likely to be seriously depleted with three players already out through suspension.
Paul Connolly’s stoppage-time red card against Watford means he is out along with Darren O’Dea, who serves the second of a two-game ban, and Adam Clayton.
As if that was not enough to have Warnock wishing the next few weeks away then Aidy White is out for the season, leaving the Leeds manager considering his selection options.
He said: “It is a nightmare to lose Darren O’Dea, Connolly and Clayton through suspension and Aidy White through injury. Aidy will probably be out for the season now.
“He has done his ankle and it is a different type of injury to the last one.
“We have also got a virus in the camp. We had a couple of lads who didn’t come with us to Flamingo Lane because of that.
“We have a medical problem with someone else so it is chaos at the minute regarding selection for Friday.”
Leeds face a daunting task tomorrow in front of the live cameras due to their hosts being the in-form side of the Championship going into Easter.
The Royals have won 11 of their last 13 games to soar into the automatic promotion places and Brian McDermott’s side are now strongly fancied to pip West Ham United to a top-two berth – something that just a couple of months ago looked highly unlikely.
On his selection headache ahead of tomorrow, Warnock added: “I have not got a clue what I am going to do.
“I will be glad when the season ends now, but I still need to look at three or four players who I have not given an opportunity to in the next few games.
“There are only six games to go and I don’t think Reading is the right game to be putting the kids in.
“But there is a good chance Zac Thompson will be playing.
“I had him in four different positions in my head on Tuesday night.”
Warnock’s options at Reading include a possible recall for Leigh Bromby to bolster the defence, while Ramon Nunez and Danny Webber could fight it out to replace White.