SHEFFIELD UNITED: Cruel luck for Lecsinel as he faces second lay-off

editorial image

LECSINEL Jean-Francois will undergo surgery in France after damaging cartilage in his knee.

The Sheffield United defender was injured during last week’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie at Notts County, a match which marked his return to action following a seven-month absence from the game.

Danny Wilson, the United manager, said: “It’s a terrible thing for the lad. Especially after such an innocuous challenge.

“He needs an operation and is probably going to be out for about eight weeks. I feel gutted for the lad because he’s worked so hard and now this.

“But that’s football I’m afraid. I know he’ll come back stronger than ever.”

Jean-Francois, a Haiti international, spent the summer recuperating at Clairefontaine, the Fédération Française de Football’s renowned academy, after tearing ligaments in his other knee against Oldham Athletic earlier this year.

“He’s had such bad luck and you can imagine how he’s feeling,” Wilson added. “But he’s a strong character and he’ll bounce straight back.

“The one blessing, if you can call it that, is it’s not in the same knee he’s just come back from.”

Wilson, speaking ahead of tonight’s League One encounter with Walsall, revealed striker Dave Kitson reported for training at Shirecliffe yesterday despite being taken ill during Saturday’s victory over Preston North End.

The former Northern Ireland international, whose team stretched their unbeaten run in the competition to 13 games courtesy of Kitson’s first-half effort, also confirmed finances have so far prevented him from signing cover for teenage goalkeeper George Long.

With Mark Howard nursing a torn muscle, fellow youngster George Willis has been named as Long’s deputy for the past three matches.

Danny Coyne, previously of Middlesbrough and Wales, has been identified as a potential replacement for Howard but, unless players leave on loan, is unlikely to be offered a short-term contract.

United’s ability to recruit Paul Gallagher - the Leicester City winger recently spent a month at Bramall Lane before returning to the King Power Stadium - confirms they passed their first Salary Cost Management Protocol audit.

But with SCMP pegging expenditure on wages to a portion of total turnover, the South Yorkshire club could find their room for manoeuvre in the transfer market limited if further additions are made to Bramall Lane’s playing squad without allowing some of those on the periphery to depart on a temporary basis.

Long’s sparkling form since stepping into the breach has undoubtedly influenced policy behind the scenes. But it seems inconceivable that United would not make funding available if Long’s fitness does become an issue.

“To bring people in we’ll have to let people go out,” Wilson said. “That’s the opinion of the board.”

Wilson added: “We were always going to give George a run.”