Leonard under injury cloud

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 February, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 February, 1998, 12:00am

Instant-Dict goalkeeper Mick Leonard is facing a race against time to be fit for his team's crunch Ericsson League match against South China at the Hong Kong Stadium tomorrow.

Leonard tore a calf muscle and strained ankle ligaments during a practice friendly against Sing Tao on Monday.

He had only just returned to match duty at the end of last month after a lengthy lay-off with a fractured hand when he was hit by the latest injury.

'It's a bit disappointing but I haven't ruled myself out of the game yet. I think I'll have to leave it till Sunday and see how it feels then,' said Leonard.

If Leonard is unfit, Chung Ho-yin - who has been a more than capable deputy for the veteran English 'keeper - will step in to face South China.

League leaders Instant will open up a healthy five-point lead if they record their second victory of the season over South China tomorrow.

Although they were beaten 3-1 by Happy Valley in their last outing, the Dickies are confident of getting their title campaign back on track.

'I think part of the problem against Happy Valley was that we had not had much time to prepare. A lot of the boys in the national squad had only just come back and we'd only had a couple of training sessions back together,' Leonard said.

'But we've been training every day this week and there is a good mood in the squad.' Injury clouds are also hovering over the South China camp. The biggest question mark is the fitness of striker Dale Tempest, who damaged knee ligaments in the Carlsberg Cup last week.

Although Tempest came on as a late substitute in South China's scrappy 1-0 win over Golden on Thursday, he is unlikely to start against Instant.