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Lallana a major doubt for Leeds test
NIGEL Adkins is sweating on the fitness of his two star players.
The pair picked up injuries in last week’s 3-0 romp over Watford which took Saints back to the top of the Championship table.
Lambert is the most likely to be ready having made good progress in recovering from his ankle problem.
He first went over on it midway through the first half but was able to continue and complete his third hattrick of the season.
He then went over on it again later in the second period, and was taken off.
Lallana looked in great form at Vicarage Road before pulling up with a groin problem which saw him taken off immediately with half an hour gone.
Adkins will no doubt be desperate to get them both on the pitch at Leeds but, with tomorrow’s game marking the start of the final 13 matches of the season in just 57 days, is unlikely to take too many risks.
If Lallana was to sustain a serious muscle tear in his groin as a result of trying to play when injured, then it would almost certainly end his season and deal Saints’ promotion hopes a massive blow.
Adkins should at least have Guly do Prado, below, back after illness and is also waiting on Frazer Richardson who has missed the last couple of games through injury.
Danny Butterfield will continue to deputise at right back if he doesn’t make it.
Tadanari Lee will be assessed before deciding what part he can play at Leeds.
The striker started the game at Watford but immediately flew to Japan to play for his country on Wednesday night.
He is expected to be available to meet the squad in Leeds but, after so much travelling in a week, Adkins will have to make the decision as to whether to play him or keep him fresh for the game against Ipswich at St Mary’s on Tuesday night.
Thankfully Adkins has plenty of striking options should Lee, or even Lambert, not make it.
If Lallana doesn’t make it, then Jason Puncheon could come in to face the side who were apparently keen to sign him last August.
That was before his deadline day switch to QPR, where new Leeds boss Neil Warnock was then in charge.