Leeds manager Neil Warnock feels he will have little trouble in persuading striker Luciano Becchio to climb off the treatment table for tomorrow night’s visit of Everton to Elland Road in the third round of the Capital One Cup.
Warnock’s threadbare squad bounced back from two successive league defeats to inflict a first defeat in the npower Championship this season on Nottingham Forest at the weekend, with a patched-up Becchio firing his seventh goal in eight appearances in a 2-1 win.
Teenager Dominic Poleon struck the other for Leeds after being handed his first start for the club out of necessity due to the paucity of strikers available to Warnock, with Ross McCormack ruled out for eight weeks due to ankle ligament damage.
“Luciano didn’t do anything on Friday and I think his goal helped him on Saturday, that carried him through,” Warnock said.
“We iced him up straight away after the game and I’ll be having a word with him.
“If I was him I’d want to play for an hour and enjoy it. There’s no points at stake, he can try and get his name on the scoresheet on TV.
“That’s what I’d do, even though the physios would probably leave him out. But we’ll have to see when I’ve had a chat with him.”
The Argentinian is one of several players currently struggling with injury, while midfield pair David Norris (thigh) and Paul Green (knee) remain sidelined.
Skipper Lee Peltier (ankle) was forced out of Saturday’s game and is a major doubt for tomorrow’s clash, while Warnock revealed he would be asking others if they wanted to take part.
“There’s no pressure now for us in this competition because everybody will expect Everton to win, so we can go out and enjoy it.
“To be on television against a Premier League club, I’m going to ask one or two of the lads who I was probably going to leave out if they want to play because if they do I’ll play them.
“I’m not going to say nobody can play even though we’ve got one or two other knocks as well, so we’ll have a meeting and see, if there’s anyone who I might have rested, if they want to play.”
Everton have a miserable record at Elland Road, winning only twice in 42 visits going back to 1953, but David Moyes’ side have made a flying start to the season and will start as clear favourites.
“Everton are very high on my list of potential favourites to win this competition,” Warnock said. “Teams like Everton and Newcastle have got a great chance of winning it this year, so they will have a very strong side out.
“But I think we can give most Premier League teams a run for their money. We’re missing a few, but on Saturday we showed no matter how many are missing, if you’ve got the right attitude and you’ve got good players as well, then with the fans here anything can happen.”
Warnock said he was full of admiration for Everton players Phil Jagielka, who he managed at Sheffield United, Steven Pienaar, Leighton Baines and in particular Marouane Fellaini.
But when asked how his players would handle the Belgium international, Warnock added: “It’ll be interesting to see how Everton handle [Leeds’ Jamaican midfielder] Rudy Austin for me.”