Leeds United manager Paul Heckingbottom has confirmed that he has considered tearing up Liam Kitching’s loan deal at Harrogate Town after being faced with a defensive injury crisis in the final four games of the campaign.

Pontus Jansson has been ruled out of Leeds’ clash against Aston Villa on Friday night while Matthew Pennington and Liam Cooper are also sidelined with injury.

That will mean that the Whites will be without all three of their senior centre-backs while right-backs Gaetano Berardi and Luke Ayling are also out.

Kitching, 18, has been impressive in his loan spell at National League North side Harrogate and Heckingbottom admits to having toyed with the idea of terminating his loan deal in order to bolster his centre-back options with the season now just weeks away from ending.

However it seems unlikely that the teenager will be back at Leeds any time soon as he is also injured.

“He’s got a little injury,” said Heckingbottom when asked whether he has considered recalling Kitching, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post. “Don’t worry, I’ve thought about everything!”

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Football Insider verdict

Kitching would make a considerable jump up the English football ladder if he was to be playing in the National League North one week and then the Championship in the next, but that is what it looks like Leeds may have to do if this injury crisis does not improve. It makes you wonder what has happened with all those players signed for the Under-23s and why none of them can ever break into the senior squad. Paudie O’Connor and Tom Pearce are not players who have been signed in the last 12 moths while the club has made a more continental feel to their Under-23s. Why are none of them being trusted to play? It’s yet another reminder of how terrible the recruitment has been at Elland Road.

In other Leeds United news, director of football Victor Orta has identified a new manager amid talk of senior man leaving Elland Road.

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