Leeds United have been dealt a huge injury blow concerning right-back Luke Ayling.
That’s according to Phil Hay, with The Athletic journalist revealing on Twitter that Jesse Marsch has confirmed that the 30-year-old will be ruled out of first-team action for up to four months, as the defender has undergone knee surgery.
In his tweet, Hay said: “Marsch speaking at his pre-Brentford press conference – Luke Ayling has had knee surgery. Looking at being out for two to four months.”
It would be fair to say that Leeds have had an incredible run of bad luck regarding injuries this season, with all of Robin Koch, Pascal Struijk, Stuart Dallas, Liam Cooper, Junior Firpo, Kalvin Phillips, Adam Forshaw, Rodrigo, Crysencio Summerville, Tyler Roberts and Patrick Bamford being sidelined for extended spells as a result of knocks this term.
These setbacks have undoubtedly contributed to the rather perilous position in which the Whites find themselves heading into the final day of the season, with Marsch’s side needing to better Burnley’s result against Newcastle United in their own clash against Brentford in order to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
While Ayling’s red card at Arsenal meant that the defender was already unavailable for selection for the trip to west London this weekend, the news that the right-back now looks set to miss the entirety of this summer’s pre-season training, and potentially the start of the 2022/23 campaign, will certainly come as a huge blow to Leeds and Marsch, irrespective of the league in which they find themselves come August.
It is true that the Whites have 20-year-old Cody Drameh on their books, but with Stuart Dallas also being ruled out for around six months with a femoral fracture, Marsch is now severely lacking in experience on the right of his back four. That will undoubtedly be a gutting blow for the American as he plans ahead for next season, be it in the Premier League or the Championship.