O’Brien’s days at Leeds numbered

LEEDS will make a statement this week over Andy O’Brien after the defender allegedly refused to play in Saturday’s comeback victory at Burnley.

Former Ireland defender O’Brien has made just three Championship appearances this season and has been targeted by the Leeds boo-boys, but manager Simon Grayson had claimed he would not consider allowing the defender leave on loan. However, Grayson admitted O’Brien no longer has a future at the club after the 32-year-old former Newcastle and Bolton man told him on Friday he never wanted to appear for Leeds again.

“Andy O’Brien came to me on Friday and said that he no longer wanted to play for this football club,” Grayson said.

“It came as a shock on Friday but he won’t play for this football club again as long as I am here.”

He added: “We will decide internally what happens now and make a statement next week.”

A late double from Robert Snodgrass earned the visitors a 2-1 win at Turf Moor. Jay Rodriguez’s early header had put the Clarets ahead.

Elsewhere, Rickie Lambert struck a hat-trick as Southampton charged on at the top of the standings after seeing off 10-man Brighton 3-0 at St Mary’s.

Albion boss Gus Poyet was furious with the second goal, which came from a penalty after referee Peter Walton pointed to the spot despite Lewis Dunk seemingly being outside the area when he tripped Jose Fonte. To add to Poyet’s woes, Mauricio Taricco was sent off for his protest.

The Uruguayan said: “Something that shouldn’t happen in football, it happened. It’s a simple as that.”

The win kept Southampton five points clear of second-placed West Ham, who fought back from a half-time deficit to defeat struggling Coventry 2-1.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce said: “It’s another valuable three points towards our target and for only the second time we are exactly where we want to be, which is 34 points after 17 games.”

Third-placed Middlesbrough were twice pegged back in a 2-2 draw at home to Blackpool. That result allowed fourth-placed Cardiff to close the gap on Boro to one point after they triumphed 2-1 at Reading.

Hull’s new caretaker manager Nick Barmby ruled out any masterstroke on his part after the Tigers enjoyed a 2-0 win at Derby. “It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s about the players and always will be.””

Nottingham Forest were good value for their win after Marcus Tudgay’s stoppage-time winner secured a 3-2 win over Ipswich.

Watford overcame Portsmouth 2-0, while Birmingham and Peterborough played out a 1-1 draw and Doncaster remain bottom after going down 2-0 at Barnsley.

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