Noel Whelan is fretting about Leeds United suffering a West Ham-style crisis if Kiko Casilla is hit with an FA suspension.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds striker is concerned about the club’s alternative options to their undisputed number one.
The Spaniard has been an ever-present for promotion-chasing United this season and conceded a Championship-best 13 goals from their 22 league fixtures.
Casilla could still be handed a lengthy ban after being charged by the Football Association for racially abuse against Charlton Athletic in September.
If he is found guilty, the January signing from Real Madrid will be suspended for a minimum six matches, most likely beginning in the new year.
Whelan pointed out how West Ham went into freefall after Lukasz Fabianski suffered a hip injury that has sidelined him for nearly three months, forcing Manuel Pellegrini to turn to Roberto Jimenez before a series of dreadful displays led to him being axed.
“Casilla will be a massive miss if he is banned,” Whelan told Football Insider. “His FA charge is a huge problem and if he gets suspended, that’s where I worry.
“Have Leeds got enough in goal in terms of quality to cover for him? We’ve not seen enough of the other Leeds keepers to know.
“Casilla has that experience and presence about him. If Ilan Meslier comes in the team, it’s a massive learning curve.
“We’ve seen what happened at West Ham after the Fabianski injury, and how it can go very badly wrong very quickly.”
Leeds’ seven-match winning run came to an end on Saturday, when they let slip a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 at home to Cardiff City.
Marcelo Bielsa’s team are second in the Championship, with a 10-point advantage over Preston North End in third.
In other Leeds United news, Danny Mills has tipped the Whites to sign ‘Fabulous’ Man City player next month.