Football Shorts

RODOLPH Austin could hand Leeds United a major boost by recovering from injury in time to compensate for Michael Tonge’s return to Stoke City.

United manager Neil Warnock revealed today that Austin had an “outside chance” of being available for the club’s schedule of games over Christmas and new year – a spell which on-loan midfielder Tonge will be forced to miss.

Tonge’s three-month loan from Stoke is due to end on December 22, the day of United’s Championship game against Middlesbrough, and Warnock will be unable to re-sign the midfielder until FIFA’s transfer window opens on January 1.

Warnock has used Tonge in every one of Leeds’ matches since securing him on a 93-day deal in September and the 29-year-old has thrived in the centre of midfield following the loss of Austin to injury last month.

Huddersfield Town’s loan-star Simon Church believes the club are still in the hunt for back-to-back promotions.

The striker told the Huddersfield Examiner that the side can take inspiration from his parent club Reading, after the Royals won last season’s championship title after a similarly stuttering start.

He said: “

“Reading were 16th after the same number of games last year. We weren’t winning games and nobody was happy with our performances.”

Read more at www.examiner.co.uk.

PHIL PARKINSON is as delighted by Bradford City’s strength in depth as he is by the fact that his side have a trip to Wembley in their sights.

The Bantams are Yorkshire’s sole survivors in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy after they extended their unbeaten run in three cup competitions with a 2-0 win at Port Vale in the Northern Area quarter-finals.

They achieved it in spite of making five changes for their 29th game of the season on Tuesday. Goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin replaced Matt Duke and Tom Naylor, Carl McHugh, Craig Forsyth and Ritchie Jones stepped in, although there was plenty of experience on the bench in Nahki Wells, James Hanson, Gary Jones and Nathan Doyle.

Victory left City just two rounds away from a trip to the national stadium and Parkinson said: “It is great for the football club. This is a competition we want to do well in and as it doesn’t kick in again until into the new year, we can put it to bed for a bit, concentrate on our Christmas period league fixtures and then go at it again when there are less midweek fixtures scheduled.”

This Saturday’s clash with Torquay could see the return of flying winger Kyel Reid, who was in impressive form before his groin injury suffered at the beginning of October.