Bates - Howson months not weeks

Whites supremo reveals extent on captain's knee injury

Jonny Howson: Ken Bates expects captain to be sidelined for at least two months

Luciano Becchio: Bates does not believe that Middlesbrough could afford the striker's transfer fee

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Ken Bates believes Jonny Howson will be out for months and not weeks while Leeds have no intention of selling Luciano Becchio to Middlesbrough.

Whites captain Howson recently hobbled out of the club's 2-0 Championship win over Millwall, although no timescale had been put on his possible return.

Manager Simon Grayson expressed his relief that Howson's injury could have been worse and that Leeds were fortunate he would play again this season.

However, Elland Road supremo Bates has warned fans not to expect Howson back on the pitch anytime soon, stating he is likely to be out for at least two months if not longer.

Innocuous

"It was a fairly innocuous situation. I was talking to Jonny a couple of days ago and I'm not even sure he was tackled. He just fell awkwardly," he told Yorkshire Radio.

"I blame the shoes. The boots, I don't know if you remember, when I was a kid and I was lacing my boots up, it took 20 minutes to do the laces up. Now they're like slippers. They use these ruddy razors instead of studs so there's no purchase on the pitch and there's no support for the ankles so I think that's what causes a lot of the trouble.

"Also of course, the pitches are much better but they are much harder so they are jarring your ligaments and your Achilles far more than you used to back in the old days. So it's annoying. We don't know the extent of Jonny's length of treatment yet but it is going to be two to three months."

Denied

Meanwhile, Bates has poured cold water on reports Leeds could sell Argentine striker Becchio to Middlesbrough.

Chelsea's former owner does not see the sense in the club selling a key player to a Championship rival while he also doubts whether the Riverside club could even afford his transfer fee.

"I don't mind somebody floating the idea from Middlesbrough because it's the usual way they tap up players these days of course but if they think we are going to sell (Becchio) to our probably closest competitor for promotion they must be out of their tiny minds," he continued.

"Apart from which, I read Tony Mowbray saying that their chairman isn't a bottomless pit and they haven't got much money anyway so they wouldn't be able to afford him anyway, if we were inclined to sell him, which we're not."