Leeds missed the chance to go top of the Sky Bet Championship after being held to a disappointing goalless draw by Sunderland at Elland Road last night.

And they had further bad news earlier today, with club stalwart Stuart Dallas forced to retire prematurely at the age of 32, two years after suffering a career-ending injury.

He sustained a femoral fracture in Leeds’ Premier League game against Manchester City in April 2022 and in a statement confirming his retirement, Dallas revealed his knee has sustained "irreparable damage".

"Today, with a heavy heart, I announce that I will be retiring from professional football," the statement read.

"Over the past two years the Leeds medical team, along with the incredible surgeons in London, have worked tirelessly to help me recover from the injury I sustained in the game against Manchester City in 2022.

"Sadly, despite their best efforts, and my body not progressing how we need it to, I must now accept the fact that my knee suffered irreparable damage and I will not be returning to play professional football.

"I am, of course, devastated by this news."

Dallas, who was capped 62 times by Northern Ireland moved from Brentford to Leeds in August 2015 and went on to make 266 appearances for the West Yorkshire club, scoring 28 goals.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Stuart Dallas is from Cookstown in Northern Ireland, and did his country proud down the years, and was part of their squad for the Euro 2016 finals in France.Stuart Dallas is from Cookstown in Northern Ireland, and did his country proud down the years, and was part of their squad for the Euro 2016 finals in France. (Image: PA.)

He was an important part of the Leeds side that earned promotion to the Premier League in 2019-20 and Dallas played every top-flight fixture for the club the following season.

In his statement, Dallas paid "special thanks" to former Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa and Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.

"I've been fortunate to work with some outstanding managers, but two in particular I want to pay special thanks to are Marcelo Bielsa and Michael O'Neill," he added.

"Marcelo's incredible coaching helped me improve not just as a player but as a person off the pitch, too.

"Premier League football seemed a million miles away at times, but he made this all possible. These were simply the greatest years of my career and I created memories that I'll cherish forever.

"Michael believed in me and gave me the opportunity to represent my country on so many occasions, for which I will always be thankful."

Leeds confirmed they are in discussions with Dallas about a "future role" and he will be presented at half-time of their Sky Bet Championship fixture against Blackburn at Elland Road on Saturday.

Daniel Farke's promotion-chasers will be looking to retain their place in the top two with a home win then, but another below-par display last night saw them fall short of usurping leaders Leicester, who slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Millwall.

Leeds, who were beaten in the league for the first time this year at Coventry on Saturday, extended their unbeaten home Championship record this season to 21 matches.

But, after misfiring against resolute opponents, the stalemate left them one point behind Leicester and level with third-placed Ipswich, with both promotion rivals having a game in hand.

A wasteful Leeds had their chances but only managed one shot on target all evening.

They did have two strong penalty appeals for handball turned down though, but Sunderland duo Daniel Ballard and Luke O’Nien both went unpunished.

It means Leeds have failed to score in either of their games against Sunderland this season, with this result following up a disappointing 1-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light in December, which saw Jobe Bellingham net the winner.

And Ipswich will go back above Farke's side if they get at least a point against Watford at Portman Road tonight.