YORK teenager Matthew Kilgallon was on a mighty white roll today after being called up to the Leeds United senior squad for the first time.

The 18-year-old central defender was drafted by manager Terry Venables into United's squad for tomorrow's UEFA Cup first round return leg against Ukrainian outfit Metalurg Zaporizhzya.

He joined the rest of the Leeds squad who left from Leeds/Bradford airport today bound for the Meteor Stadium in the town of Dnipropetrovsk, 60 miles from Zaporizhzya whose own ground does not meet UEFA standards.

Kilgallon, who has been with the Elland Road giants since he was 12 years old, was thrilled by his senior call-up for a tie in which Leeds hold a slender 1-0 lead from last week's first leg.

Before leaving on the 2,000-mile trip to the Ukraine he exclusively told the Evening Press: "I'm absolutely delighted. I've never been in the senior squad before so it's great to be called up.

"I've been playing well in the reserves, so I was hoping I might get my chance. But to be told I was in the squad was brilliant."

Kilgallon, who hails from Appleton Roebuck, has a great chance of figuring on the substitutes' bench in the Meteor Stadium tomorrow.

England international Jonathan Woodgate is rated doubtful for a recall with a hamstring injury, while veteran stopper Lucas Radebe has been ruled out after suffering a swollen knee during last Saturday's 4-1 home humbling by champions Arsenal.

Venables' options include bringing in Michael Duberry alongside skipper Dominic Matteo, or restoring Ian Harte to left-back and moving Danny Mills into the middle in an axis with Scottish international Matteo.

Any of those switches would likely lead to a spot on the bench for Kilgallon, a former Tadcaster School pupil.

A regular in the Leeds reserves' ranks for the past year, Kilgallon said he had been helped enormously in his fledgling Elland Road career by the likes of Radebe, Woodgate and Republic of Ireland ace Gareth Kelly.

"They have been great to me, always ready to give advice. You can only learn from players of that calibre," said Kilgallon ahead of his first trip to the former Soviet republic.

Updated: 11:06 Wednesday, October 02, 2002