Gillingham manager Mark Stimson is facing a defensive crisis ahead of their clash with promotion-chasing Leeds.

Garry Richards, who limped off with a broken toe in last week`s 4-0 defeat at Millwall, has been ruled out for the rest of the season, while long-term absentee Simon King continues to be out.

Fellow centre-back Darren Dennehy is also out meaning Stimson may have to look for a replacement in the Gills` youth set-up or play someone out of position.

"We are desperate and down to our bare bones but we won`t be sulking over ut," Stimson told BBC Radio Kent. "We are down to looking at the Connor Essams and the young Callam Davis in the reserve team game at Aldershot to see if they're available to go on the bench.

"We will call Jacob Erskine back if his days are up at his loan spell at Croydon because I know the last couple of games he's played centre-half there.

"We've also got Tom Wynter, (midfielder) Mark Bentley and even (striker) Dennis Oli, who has been known to play at centre-half."

Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford is hoping to win a recall to the starting line-up.

But the 27-goal forward may have to exercise patience after starting on the substitutes' bench in the midweek win at Carlisle, where Luciano Becchio and Max Gradel struck up an impressive partnership.

Boss Simon Grayson will be reluctant to make changes after Leeds eased to a 3-1 win and moved back into the second automatic promotion spot, meaning more frustration for Beckford.

Grayson has no new injury or suspension problems as Leeds target a fourth straight league win to keep themselves in front of Millwall, Charlton and Swindon in the race for a top-two finish.

Defender Ben Parker is itching to feature after a season blighted by groin and knee injuries, Gary McSheffrey, on loan from Birmingham, staked his claim while playing for the reserves in midweek and on-loan pair Shane Lowry (Aston Villa) and Sanchez Watt (Arsenal) are also available.

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Topics:
Arsenal
Jacob Erskine
Football
Millwall
League One
Sanchez Watt
Swindon Town
Gary McSheffrey
Shane Lowry
Gary McSheffrey
Ben Parker
Carlisle United
Tom Wynter
Gillingham
Jermaine Beckford
Jacob Erskine
Mark Bentley
Aston Villa
Darren Dennehy
Birmingham
Garry Richards
Leeds United
Dennis Oli
Simon King
Luciano Becchio
Charlton Athletic