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Leeds United AFC coach David O'Leary is hoping a heart-to-heart with Harry Kewell will lead to the wing wizard rediscovering top form for his side's UEFA Cup showdown with Grasshopper-Club.
Just 18 months ago Kewell was hot property after scoring 17 goals during the 1999/00 season to help Leeds reach the UEFA Cup semi-finals and clinch a place in the UEFA Champions League. But a serious achilles injury which eventually required surgery, after rest failed to provide the cure, led to Kewell spending six months on the sidelines.
Not seen the best of Kewell
O'Leary admits to having taken Kewell to one side and having a chat because as the 43-year-old Irishman says: "He's got the key to unlock any defence. I'm Harry's biggest admirer and of the way he can play, but we've still not seen the best of him this season in any way, and Harry knows that himself. We talk and I've made him aware of that. He's an honest lad and he's still waiting to hit the form he knows he can produce."
Lead from first leg
For the home leg against Grasshoppers, the English side have the comfort of a 2-1 lead from the first leg. Due to a huge injury list, O'Leary will name a bench of just three players - Paul Robinson, Michael Duberry and Jason Wilcox compared to the seven allowed by UEFA.
The list of Leeds injuries includes Lee Bowyer, Dominic Matteo, Stephen McPhail, Eirik Bakke, Michael Bridges, Lucas Radebe and Jacob Burns, with recent signings Robbie Fowler and Seth Johnson ineligible. Danny Mills will therefore operate at the centre of defence alongside captain Rio Ferdinand, with Gary Kelly at right-back and Alan Smith on the right wing.
Grasshoppers got their stuttering season back on track at the weekend with a thrilling 5-4 victory against Nationalliga A leaders FC Basel. Bruno Berner and Luca Denicola are both out with long-term injuries but otherwise coach Hans-Peter Zaugg has a full strength squad to choose from.
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