RUDY AUSTIN CLEARS FROM SHAUN WRIGHT PHILLIPS

Austin clears v QPR

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Austin hits cross bar in injury time

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Barton goal wrongly disallowed for offside

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Macc shouts instructions

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Reknapp pleased with 3 points

Saturday 31st of August.  UNITED 0, QPR 1 (Hill 75). United: Kenny, Peltier, Wootton, Pearce, Warnock, Green (Diouf 79), Austin, Murphy, McCormack, Hunt (Smith 57), Varney (Poleon 57). Subs. Ashdown, Drury, Lees, Tonge. Referee: S Attwell Att: 23,341 Report from LUFC. For the visit of Queens Park Rangers in the Sky Bet Championship United manager made one change to his team that beat Ipswich Town 2-1 the previous Saturday. After an impressive debut, Scott Wootton found himself starting for the first time in a league match. The defender replaced Tom Lees who dropped to the substitutes bench. It didn’t take long for United’s first chance to materialise in this early season top of the table clash. Ross McCormack – fresh from signing his new four-year contract less than 24 hours earlier – was the creator for a Paul Green strike, but the midfielder’s effort just just over the bar. United started the brighter of the two teams but it was the visitors that had the ball in the net on eight minutes. But unfortunatley for the away side Joey Barton was seen to be in an offside position before slotting past Paddy Kenny. As the 20 minute mark approached both sides threatened with half chances. First Rudy Austin shot from distance for United and that was closely followed by Shaun Wright-Phillips seeing a headed attempt trickle past Kenny’s post. Midway through the half came a chance for McCormack after an unfortunate sliced QPR pass fell into his path. The striker had Nedum Onuoha to beat but the defender stayed with McCormack’s advance and blocked his attempted strike on goal. The first half saw few goalscoring opportunities with much of the first period a midfield tussle. United skipper Austin, along with Green were the men to break up any advances from the away side and restricted them to half chances before the whistle announced the interval. Moments after the restart Kenny was called into action. The keeper prevented Charlie Austin from giving QPR the lead after the striker latched onto a through ball and was one-on-one with Kenny but he saved well at his near post. Five minutes into the second half McCormack, and the Elland Road crowd were screaming for a penalty after the ball appeared to striker Danny Simpson’s arm as the striker attempted to head across the box. The appeals were waved away by referee Stuart Attwell. As the hour mark approached United manager Brian McDermott freshen up his striking options as he replaced Luke Varney and Hunt with Matt Smith and Dominic Poleon. United’s new striker force almost made an instant impact. Smith’s glancing header fell to the feet of Poleon but the striker’s shot was straight at Robert Green. With 15 minutes of the game remaining the away threated Kenny’s goal again. It was Austin once again that struck but the United keeper kept the striker out. But moments later the away side took the lead through Clint Hill. The goal followed a free-kick into the United penalty area that wasn’t dealt with and the ball fell to Hill who struck into the roof of the net.United manager McDermott reacted to going behind by increasing his striking options by introducing El-Hadji Diouf in place of Green. United striker’s Smith and Poleon combined once again with five minutes remaining. Smith’s backwards header found Poleon and the striker turned Richard Dunne but could only find Green with his shot. Another chance came United’s way minutes later when Lee Peltier’s cross found Jason Pearce in the area but he headed wide while under pressure. With the game deep into five minutes of injury time United broke forward through McCormack. The Scotland international played through Peltier but his deflected effort looped over the bar. There was still time for one final effort on goal from United. Austin struck from 30-yards and was close to rescuing a point for United, but the midfielder saw his effort hit the point where the crossbar meets the upright. The skipper’s long range effort proved to be the end of the afternoon as United’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end. McDermott pointed out his side’s poor attacking display as a factor behind the defeat.He said: “It was a tough game, we knew that, we knew what we were coming up against. They worked hard, it was a good away performance. “We thought we deserved a point; did we do enough to win it? Probably not. “They didn’t really have too many chances but they scored from a set-play which was poor to say the least.“You have to take the game to teams at Elland Road. Did we take the game to QPR enough today? The answer is probably no. That’s something we’ve got to work on.” However, McDermott will not let the defeat get to his team as he looks to make amends after the international break. He added: “We’re trying to evolve, we’re a new team, we’re working together and we’ll get there “It is what it is; we can’t affect what’s just gone on. Our philosophy doesn’t change if we win, lose or draw. We go into the next game looking forward to it.” Redknapp hailed his side’s defensive display at Elland Road. He said: “We were solid, kept a clean sheet again and ran out deserved winner. “It’s always a tough place to come to but I thought we deserved the victory today. “The lads at the back were strong. I’ve always said it, you win the league with clean sheets and the lads at the back were outstanding. “Richard [Dunne] and Nedum [Onuoha] were first class; Clint got the goal by being in the right place at the right time. “But everyone played their part – it was a great team performance away from home.” The Loftus Road chief insists there’s still room for improvement despite seeing his side go top of the table with a hard-fought 1-0 victory in Yorkshire.“You have to grind out wins in the Championship – that’s what this division is all about,” he added. “I still feel we can play better than we did today. Maybe my standards are high, but that’s the way it is. “I think we can be cleverer in the final third, picking a better pass at times, but I can’t fault the lads’ effort and endeavour. “To come to a place like this, keep a clean sheet and win the game is just fantastic for us. “It’s been an excellent start, but there’s still a long way to go and a lot more to come from this group of players. “It’s a long road in this division, but with a bit more quality, we’ll build on what we’ve started here”. It was always going to be a tough ask today for Leeds, the Haves against the Have Nots. McDermott knows where he is short. After the match I was almost going top have a whip around for Harry as he complained about the shortages in his 18 man panel, despite most being on £80K per week and costing millions to assemble. I thought Warnock was extremely poor at left back today, and Paddy Kenny has to put his hand up for the goal. Going forward Leeds depend too much on Macca to provide every spark of creativity. We know we have no wingers but the full backs have to offer more. Here’s hoping that GFH put their collective hands in their pockets again over the weekend and bring in some wide flair…..and here’s hoping that young Sam will be available after the international break. Our best player can’t return quick enough. Will Norris, Pugh, White, Hall and Brown still be Leeds players come Tuesday ? Let’s wait and see.

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Macca signs on

Fri Aug 30th. Macca signs new four year deal. The club has secured the longer-term services of Ross McCormack after the player agreed a new, improved four–year contract. The Scotland international, who has started the season in terrific fashion, scoring four goals already this term, was the subject of a number bids from rival clubs in recent weeks, but the club’s owners rebuffed the interest and moved to tie the player down with a new longer-term contract. United chairman Salah Nooruddin said: “It’s great news that we’ve been able to reach an agreement with Ross regarding his longer-term future. We received a number of sizeable offers for the player but we are delighted to have agreed a new contract that will see Ross remain at Leeds United. “We are looking to build a future for the football club, and we see Ross very much as part of that future.” Managing director David Haigh added: The interest in Ross has been very public and I’m sure this has been unsettling for the fans. They have been chanting ‘Ross McCormack is not for sale’, and how could we ignore that? He is a key player for us, and as a football club, it is important that we do our utmost to keep our key personnel and the players we believe will take us forward. “Ross has had a terrific start to the season and we hope that will continue.” United manager Brian McDermott said: “I am delighted that we have managed to come to an agreement with Ross regarding his long-term future at Leeds United Football Club. I’m sure each and every Leeds fan will share my views and Ross will get a fabulous reception tomorrow.“I would like to very much thank the owners for their support in this. They have turned down three substantial offers for him and have ensured we retain his services in what will be the peak years of his footballing life.” Ross McCormack said: I’m delighted to sign a new contract with the club. I’ve said all along that this club is where I want to be and where I want to play my football. My family are settled here, I love the place, and I’m looking forward to the future now”. 

FridayAug 30th. Whites board urged to deliver one more signing – Hay YEP. Brian McDermott has asked Leeds United’s board to deliver one more signing before Monday’s transfer deadline after identifying a final target. The Leeds manager said his interest in the unnamed player – thought to be a winger – was at a preliminary stage and he described the proposed deal as “a maybe” following talks with United’s owners. McDermott is pushing for a late addition to his squad after the arrival of Scott Wootton from Manchester United for an undisclosed fee last week gave him his fourth signing of the summer. The Leeds boss submitted a list of eight names to United’s board of directors at the end of last season with the aim of bringing six new players to Elland Road and he is awaiting developments with a potential fifth recruit ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Queens Park Rangers. United have a well-publicised shortage of wingers and McDermott admitted that a wide midfielder was his next priority after the capture of Wootton deepened Leeds’ shallow pool of centre-backs. McDermott said: “If anything there’s a possibility of one player coming in but nothing’s nailed down. “There’s a player in my mind who I’d like to get but it’s very early days. It’s not about the details at the moment, it’s just a player I’d like to sign. “I’ve had a little discussion with the owners and it’s a maybe. That’s it. “It would be a permanent move if we can do a deal with the other club.” McDermott has operated under financial constraints all summer and he conceded recently that any attempt to buy a winger would be hampered by the inherently high cost of players in that mould. Jimmy Kebe, who thrived during McDermott’s time as Reading manager, looks likely to leave the Madejski Stadium in the next 72 hours ahead after failing to appear once for Reading this month but the cost of bringing him to Leeds would be prohibitive and Crystal Palace are believed to be offering him a return to the Premier League. West Ham United’s Ricardo Vaz Te, meanwhile, handed in a transfer request yesterday morning in an effort to force his way out of Upton Park before the September 2 deadline. Cardiff City – another of the Premier League’s newly-promoted clubs – have already been heavily linked with the former Barnsley player. McDermott’s work in the transfer market has been a case of gradual progress, beginning with the free transfer of Matt Smith from Oldham Athletic and continuing with the £1million signing of Luke Murphy from Crewe Alexandra. Noel Hunt subsequently accepted a two-year deal after leaving Reading and Wootton’s move was finalised in time for last weekend’s 2-1 victory at Ipswich Town. Despite his desire for further additions, McDermott said: “We’ve signed four players, we’re happy with the players we’ve signed and we’re happy with the players we’ve got. “I know at this time of the season we have to talk about players we haven’t got but I prefer to talk about the ones who are here and how much they’re giving for the club.” McDermott said Leeds were still to attract firm offers for any of their fringe squad members, saying he had received “phone calls but nothing concrete” with three days of the transfer window left.

Friday Aug 30th. Rules that allow QPR splash the cash – Phil Hay YEP. n football’s current climate the rich get richer. That fact is apparent to established Championship clubs who spend every summer analysing the threat posed by relegated teams bearing parachute payments. Queens Park Rangers were touted as England’s next implosion after a desperate year in the Premier League last season but they come to Elland Road tomorrow with their foundations intact. Far from reining in their expenditure, QPR have acted like a top-tier side since dropping into the Championship, chasing players of the ilk of Gary Hooper and Scott Parker and spending £4million on Charlie Austin. They are also a club who can afford to employ two recognised managers – Harry Redknapp in the position of main authority and Steve McClaren as one of his coaches. Where Financial Fair Play comes into all this is one of many mysteries but QPR have 10 points from four games and are making their perceived strength count. No wonder Brian McDermott sees them as prime promotion material. They’ll be there or thereabouts you’d imagine,” the Leeds United manager said. “You can never tell for sure but the results they’ve had so far suggest they’ll be right up there. They’re unbeaten in four games. “It’s not an even playing field in this league. A team goes up and gets a lot of money then that team comes down and gets a lot of money. But good luck to them because those are the rules. I wish it was us. “This is football and it happens in the Premier League too, in every country. You go back to the ’70s and ’80s and your Nottingham Forests were winning the league. Now it seems that there are four or five clubs who can win the Premier League and that’s it. Everyone else is trying to catch up. “Look at Spurs and what they’re doing at the moment. It looks like (Gareth) Bale’s going to go and they’ve spent astronomical amounts on building a team. It all filters down to the Championship eventually because Premier League clubs are relegated with money. That’s how it is. “But what you do in our situation is try to find a team with spirit, resilience, determination and quality. “You do what you have to do. And you never know where you can go with a team like that.” McDermott’s budget at Leeds is infinitely more modest than Redknapp’s and his squad less star-studded but both teams could move to the top of the Championship tomorrow with the help of an early kick-off. Leeds also have the benefit of a midweek League Cup win at Doncaster Rovers behind them, their sixth successive match without defeat. QPR by comparison were embarrassed by Swindon Town on Tuesday. Rangers coach Kevin Bond was scathing after a 2-0 defeat, saying: “We got what we deserved. It was a fair result.” McDermott said: Every game we treat with the utmost respect. We do our homework on every opponent. “We’ll come up with a game plan and we’d like to think that we’ve got a couple of different ways of playing. If we have to change things then we can.” United’s boss has a full squad to pick from, Sam Byram excepted, and an in-form one too. He made six changes to his line-up for Tuesday’s tie at Doncaster and will struggle to justify dropping any of those players. McDermott had chosen his team by yesterday morning but said: “It’s never an easy decision. It’s the hardest thing in the world picking your team and I spend a lot of time thinking about it. “I never pick it lightly. I look at the opposition, I look at ourselves and I always go on a gut feeling. It’s never personal.“I’ve always done that as a manager and I promised myself from day one that I’d always do that.”

Friday Aug 30th. More to come from Leeds team – McDermott by Hay YEP. Leeds United are bidding to go top of the Championship at Elland Road on Saturday with manager Brian McDermott insisting: “This team will get better.”  United can claim first place temporarily with a victory over title favourites Queens Park Rangers after starting the season with a morale-lifting run of six games without defeat. The club’s form in the opening month has eased fears that a lack of transfer activity might leave McDermott inadequately equipped for a year in the Championship but the Leeds boss, who remains in the market for one further signing before Monday’s deadline, claimed his existing squad would grow in strength as the term went on. Tomorrow’s clash provides the most difficult examination of United yet against an expensively-built QPR side who have underlined their post-relegation potential by winning three of their first four matches. But McDermott said: “I’m looking at the squad we’ve got and they’re giving me absolutely everything. We’re trying to play a certain way and they’re 100 per cent doing the best they can every day they’re involved. “I can’t ask any more than that but I do think there’s more to come from them. That’s the good thing for me – I know there’s more to come. We’ve got some results where we weren’t at our best but we still got the results. That’s what matters at this stage of the season – getting results and trying to improve. There’s more to come.McDermott has used two different formations this season, predominantly employing a midfield diamond but switching to a three-man forward line to good effect against Ipswich Town last weekend and at Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday. “Players can surprise you and they can adapt,” McDermott said. “I’m all for fitting a system around the players and that can be any system as far as I’m concerned. I’m known as a 4-4-2 man with wingers. Well, I’ve got no wingers and we’re not playing 4-4-2. We used different shapes against Ipswich and Doncaster and it’s all about the players and what’s right for them. They’ve adapted really well.” The Leeds boss also spoke highly of QPR manager Harry Redknapp, saying: He’s well respected throughout football and he knows how to get promotion from this division. He’s been there, seen it and done it. I like Harry. He’s a top guy.”

Friday 30th of August. Whites hopeful over McCormack contract resolution – Hay YEP. Leeds United remain “hopeful” that a deal will be reached with Ross McCormack to extend his current contract at Elland Road. United and McCormack have been in discussions over improved terms since the club rejected a third bid for him from Middlesbrough at the start of last week. Leeds are looking to increase the length of a deal which currently runs until June 2015 and are believed to be in favour of tying McCormack down for a further two seasons. The Scotland international is yet to strike an agreement with Leeds but manager Brian McDermott said: “I’m hopeful that Ross will get sorted. “You’ve got lots of goodwill with myself, Ross, the fans, everybody. We all want him to be around. He’s an integral part of what we’re doing here and hopefully we can get something done.” McCormack, right with McDermott, scored his fourth goal of the season during Tuesday’s League Cup win at Doncaster Rovers and recently earned a recall to Scotland’s national squad. Winger Luke Varney said: “We’re delighted to see him called up. People might think it doesn’t really bother us but to see Ross get his reward is great. His football’s doing the talking.”

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Scott Wootton

Friday 30th. Wootton happy to bide his time – Hay YEP. After a goal-scoring debut to remember, Scott Wootton knows he has given Brian Mcdermott a selection dilemma. Phil Hay reports. After a near-flawless debut comes the long wait. Scott Wootton cannot be sure if the teamsheet for Leeds United’s game against Queens Park Rangers will include his name but he knows that an assured outing at Doncaster Rovers gave his manager a mathematical problem. A little over a week ago Brian McDermott was fretting about the absence of a spare centre-back in his squad. With Wootton’s debut fresh in his mind, the concern for United’s coach now is which of his options to drop. Three central defenders into a backline of four do not go, as Wootton himself can see. Tom Lees and Jason Pearce carried Leeds through their opening five games without defeat but Wootton, the former Manchester United player, made a lasting impression in a Capital One Cup victory at Doncaster. Watched by members of his family and a large away crowd, a first-half goal and a calm performance created what he called a “very special moment.” Nonetheless, the 21-year-old will accept McDermott’s decision with good grace if he returns to the bench for QPR’s visit to Elland Road. Deep down, he almost expects to. He saw Lees and Pearce play their part in a 2-1 win over Ipswich Town last weekend – a rare United victory at Portman Road – and magnanimously admitted that the pair would be “disappointed” to see themselves named as substitutes in 48 hours’ time. “Obviously it’s the manager’s decision,” Wootton said. “Tom and Jason both had great games at Ipswich but we’re all playing well and competition can only be healthy. “I’d like to think I’ve done myself no harm but at the same time, Tom and Jason had great games at the weekend. It’s up to the manager but I think they’ll be disappointed if they lose their places after a 2-1 away win at Ipswich. “But I’m happy with how I played and hopefully it’ll give the manager something to think about.” United’s second-round tie at Doncaster was a night of firsts. Eighteen-year-old midfielder Alex Mowatt also made his competitive debut and striker Matt Smith claimed his first Leeds goal in a convincing 3-1 win. McDermott prefers not to talk about which players are in and which are out – speaking religiously about the “importance of the whole group” – but a team showing six changes from Ipswich gave him decisions to make. Moreover, he is in the refreshing position of having more players in form than he can fit in his line-up. “I look at it slightly differently,” McDermott said. “I look at it as me having a group of 20-odd people who are all going the same way and supporting each other. I’ve always had that philosophy.
“But you need options and that’s the only way you can be successful and win games. I’ve got options at the moment.” McDermott’s choice of centre-backs is likely to be his biggest call on Saturday. For all Wootton’s praise of Lees and Pearce, United were less than watertight at Ipswich and have been vulnerable to cheap concessions throughout the first month of the season. It’s a minor complaint after a six-game unbeaten run but the availability of Wootton following his transfer to Leeds from Old Trafford last week offers a different tact. United’s evening at Doncaster was blotted slightly by Billy Paynter’s second-half equaliser – a free header at the back post – but it said much about McDermott’s squad that a Leeds team showing numerous alterations outclassed a Doncaster side which was virtually full strength. Asked about Wootton, McDermott said: “He got better as the game went on. He can use the ball and he knows how to defend. He’s going to be a great asset.” Wootton was equally pleased with his debut, saying: It was a very special moment. I want to be a Leeds United player for a long time and to make my debut was great. “To cap it off with a goal and a decent performance – I’m delighted with that. “My mum, my grandad and my uncle were there to watch and I’m sure they were happy too. They come to most games. My dad works away but whenever he’s home he always comes – wherever it is, all over the country. “You obviously get a few nerves before games and with it being my debut I wanted to make more of an impression. I was probably a little bit nervous but I feel good now and I’m happy.” Like McDermott, Wootton opted to share praise around afterwards, calling Mowatt “brilliant” and describing Smith as a massive handful”. “I thought Alex was absolutely brilliant,” he said. “You’d never have guessed it was his debut. He was so calm on the ball and showed a lot of confidence, with some great forward passes. I’m sure he’ll be absolutely delighted with how he played.“Matt’s a massive handful and a great outlet for us. Any time we were under pressure the ball stuck to him and he won his headers. I’m glad he’s in our team. “Two wins from two away games in a week we’d have taken all day long. We feel like we are on a good roll – unbeaten in six with two back-to-back away wins. We don’t fear many clubs at the moment. We showed at Doncaster that we’ve got a good squad and there’s a great mood in the camp at the moment. All the lads are buzzing. It’s a really good place to be.” The resources available to McDermott are barely comparable to those on offer to QPR manager Harry Redknapp. Leeds will meet the most expensive team in the Championship on Saturday and a side who are already striking out for automatic promotion after taking 10 points from four matches. “It’s a massive game against a big club who’ve spent a hell of a lot of money,” Wootton said. “They’re favourites to go up.”

Friday 30th. Byram comes through okay. Sam Byram will make another appearance in a development-league clash with Derby County on Monday after coming safely through a test of his fitness at Huddersfield Town earlier this week. Byram is to be given an extended run-out against Derby with Leeds increasingly optimistic that their player of the year will avoid an operation on his long-standing hip injury. The right-back was used for 45 minutes as United’s Under-21s lost 2-1 to Huddersfield on Monday afternoon and United are ready to field him again after seeing no negative reaction. A successful appearance against Derby at Elland Road would edge Byram towards a first-team comeback less than a month after Leeds looked poised to send the 19-year-old for surgery. Manager Brian McDermott said: “It’s been good news with Sam, he was okay. “There’s another game coming up against Derby at Elland Road and we’ll try and give him more than 45 minutes this time. That’ll be a big plus if we can get him through and get him back. “I hope it’s looking more positive for him. It would be great to have him available.” Byram has been fighting a hip complaint for almost four months having succumbed to it a week before the end of last season. He has not played in a first-team fixture since Leeds lost at Birmingham City on April 20, McDermott’s third game as manager. The club seemed increasingly resigned to committing him to an operation at the start of this month but a specialist injection in his injured hip allowed him to resume full training at Thorp Arch. Monday marks the start of a two-week international break, 48 hours after Leeds play Queens Park Rangers at Elland Road, and the gap between matches could allow Byram to move closer towards a senior recall ahead of the visit to Bolton Wanderers on September 14. McDermott, meanwhile, paid tribute to United’s academy after Alex Mowatt became the latest self-produced player to follow Byram’s lead by making his senior debut for the club. Mowatt, 18, turned in an impressive 74-minute appearance in Tuesday’s League Cup win at Doncaster Rovers and McDermott said: “He’s a really rounded young man. The staff have brought these lads up well and Neil Redfearn (Leeds’ development coach) has done a fantastic job. He and his coaches are grounded people and that reflects on the young players here. We should be proud of our academy.”

Thurs 29th of Aug. Cup draw brings double delight for Macca – YEP.  A reunion with Alan Pardew and a tribute to Gary Speed, inset, were the attractions for Brian McDermott after Leeds drew Newcastle United in round three of the Capital One Cup.  McDermott will go head-to-head with the manager who took him to Reading as chief scout more than a decade ago when United clash with Pardew’s Newcastle at St James’ Park during the week beginning September 23. But the game also features two of the clubs served with distinction by Speed, the former Wales international who died in 2011 at the age of 42. McDermott said: “The first thing that struck me about it was Gary Speed. He was a great man who played for both clubs and it’ll be a special occasion. “I texted (Pardew) straight after the draw and said ‘I can’t believe we’ve got you lot.’ I told him to make sure it’s a full house. We need the money! “I’m looking forward to it. He’s a good friend of mine and he took me to Reading 13 years ago as chief scout. He’s a great manager, a good coach and I’ve spoken to him a lot over the past few weeks. It’s quite funny that we’re playing them.”

Weds 28th of Aug. Leeds have been drawn away to Newcastle United in the next round of the League Cup. That’s Alan Pardew and Joe Kinnear heading for the dole.

Weds 28th. Mowatt ” one of our own” – McDermottBrian McDermott spoke of his delight at the performance of Alex Mowatt against Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday evening.The 18-year-old, a former United Under-18s captain, made his professional debut on Tuesday evening and put in a performance beyond his yea And the boss said that he had no problem with putting the youngster into the firing line during the Capital One Cup second round. “You can’t make a statement like he looked out of place,” said the boss. “He was excellent against Doncaster. I had no worries about Alex playing whatsoever. “From the day I first saw him Neil Redfearn had spoken about him, me and Nigel Gibbs had seen him play.“We need to look after him because he is one of our own. He was absolutely excellent on Tuesday evening.”

Weds August 28th. Wootton delighted with debut. United’s latest arrival Scott Wootton made his debut for the club on Tuesday evening and things could not have gone any better, a 3-1 victory and a goal to his name at the first time of asking The defender opened the scoring at Doncaster but it was the team performance that impressed the debutant the most. “Obviously I’m a defender so I was thinking about defending,” He said. “I was delighted to pop up with a goal. “The main thing was a good team performance and a comfortable 3-1 victory and we’re into the next round of the Cup.“I thought that we played well as a team. They probably had a 20-minute spell at the start where they came out of the blocks. But after that we limited then to very few chances and I don’t really remember Paddy having to make a tough save.”The defender admits to being a little nervous before the Doncaster tie but insists that is because he wanted to do well on his debut for the club.“You usually get a few nerves before most games but obviously it was my debut and I wanted to put a little bit of pressure on myself to try and do well,” said Scott. Scott will be battling for the centre-half positions with fellow defenders Tom Lees and Jason Pearce and the new arrival feels the competition can only benefit the team. The former Liverpool and Manchester United man has been with his new team-mates for a week now and the defender feels that the mood in the camp is ‘great’. “There is good competition for places and I’d like to think that I have done myself no harm,” said Wootton. “Tom Lees and Jason Pearce both had good games at the weekend but it is up to the manager, I’m sure they would be disappointed if they lost their places after the 2-1 win at Ipswich. “I’m happy with how I played on Tuesday and hopefully it has given the manager something to think about. “Two away wins, back-to-back away wins so it’s good form. It shows we have good squad depth with some players getting a game. “There is a great

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MATT SMITH CELEBRATES SCORING LEEDS SECOND GOAL

Tuesday August 27th . United progress in Carling Cup. DONCASTER 1 (Paynter 63), UNITED 3 (Wootton 41, Smith 77, McCormack pen 80).United: Kenny, Peltier, Wootton, Pearce, Drury, Mowatt (Murphy 74), Tonge, Austin, McCormack, Smith, Poleon. Subs. Ashdown, White, Brown, Hall, Hunt, Diouf. Referee: S Matthieson Booked: Brown (Doncaster)Att: 10,890 (3770 Leeds) During the build-up to the Capital One Cup second round clash United manager Brian McDermott confirmed that a number of changes would be made to his team, including that Scott Wootton would make his debut. Another notable inclusion in the starting 11 was a debut for Academy graduate Alex Mowatt. The young professional sat on the bench during the first round tie against Chesterfield at Elland Road but the midfielder impressed enough to gain his first United start on Tuesday evening.United debutant Wootton made an instant impact in a Leeds United shirt by making a clearnence of the line within the first minute of the match. The hosts started brightly and also saw a shot go just over the bar from Chris Brown early on. It was the hosts that piled on the early pressure but it was United that making their way forward as 10 minutes past. A nice break from midfield from Mowatt lead to Ross McCormack having a strike on goal from distance, but the striker saw his effort go over the crossbar. Just minutes later United were on the attack again. It was Michael Tonge with the cross that was met by Matt Smith but his headed attempt went straight into Ross Turnbull’s grasp. McCormack was at the heart of the United attack and could have made it 1-0 on the quarter-hour mark. After confusion in the Doncaster penalty area the ball fell to the Scot’s feet but he once again saw his effort go just over. The hosts may have started the better but United began to settle into the game and Mowatt almost set up the opening goal. His quick through ball caught the defence cold but Smith couldn’t capitalise on the opportunity created by the young midfielder. In true derby fashion the game began to liven up. Jason Pearce found himself in the thick of it but the referee handled the situation well. On the half-hour mark the game saw good headed chances at both ends. First it was United on the attack, when Mowatt’s cross-field cross found Smith at the back post. Unfortunatley for United his attempt flew into Turnbull’s arms. It was James Coppinger that threated for the home side in the air but Paddy Kenny saved well down low to his left. United’s pressure during the first time told on 41 minutes the deadlock was broken. The impressive Mowatt once again got a cross into the penalty area for Smith, but this time the big frontman headed across goal for United debutant Wootton to head home. There was still time for another chance for United before the interval and Dominic Poleon was unlucky not to have doubled the advantage but he pulled his shot wide of the mark. The second period began as the first ended. It only took five second half minutes to open up the home defence and have a chance on goal. McCormack was pulled through on the right side of the area but the angle was against the striker and Turnbull saved his low drive well.mWith the hour mark approaching strong play from Poleon led to the striker creating an opportunity for himself. The striker shot from wide but his deflected effort went into the side netting. The resulting corner led to another headed chance from Smith big his effort looped onto the top of the net. Moments later it was the home supporters making all the noise as the tie was level. On 60 minutes former United striker Billy Paynter was introduced to proceedings and three minutes later he equalised for the home side . United responded well to Paynter’s equaliser, though, and Smith almost restored the advantage. The big striker controlled well under pressure in the area and turned and shot but Turnbull made a good save. After an impressive debut performance in centre-midfield Mowatt’s evening came to an end on 74 minutes when he was replaced by Luke Murphy . On 77 minutes United’s lead was restored when Smith headed home his first goal for the club. The goal was no less than the striker deserved after seeing several attempts saved by Turnbull. On 80 minutes United were awarded a penalty when Poleon was brought down in the box and the striker’s pace beat two Doncaster defenders. McCormack was the man to step-up for United and the striker made no mistake from the penalty spot to make it 3-1. A Rudy Austin shot from distance proved to be the final meaningful action of the game as United put their name in the mix for the third round of the Capital One Cup

Brian McDermott post Doncaster: “We wanted to win what ever the competition. We are mindful of the supporters (4,000 tonight) that travel and we don’t want to let them down. I thought we saw the game out really well. I thought we started well we passed it extremely well with good pace to our game . We made five changes and have a group of players all going in the right direction whether in the team or out of the team. I was delighted for Scott (Wootton) Matt (Smith) and Alex (Mowett) who were all very comfortable. You cant let their goal affect you. Matt Smith is improving all the time and he is a real handful and scored a really good second goal. We have 25 men going in the right direction. Alex Mowaett was excellent. I had no worries about him what so ever. I saw him at Shelbourne. Nigel Gibbs and Neil Readfearn ahd no worries about him what so ever. We have the utmost respect for the others who aren’t in the team but are part of the 25 man group (White, Pugh, Drury, Norris etc) We want 30 plus thousand on Saturday for the game against QPR on Saturday where Elland Road will be buzzing” 

Tues 27th of August. Byram gets 45 minutes under his belt Brian McDermott says the club will continue to monitor Sam Byram’s fitness closely.The young defender tasted his first action since April on Monday when he played the opening 45 minutes of the Development Squad’s game at Huddersfield Town. Byram has been sidelined with a hip injury and after joining the squad for training over the past week, the plan was for him to play the first half at Huddersfield before further assessing his fitness.“He came through 45 minutes so we will see how he responds,” confirmed the boss.“If we could get him back it will be a boost, but we’ll see how things are over the next few days. We’ll see how he is, if there’s any reaction, and take things from there

Sat Aug 24th. Ipswich Town 1-2 Leeds United .Leeds United: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Warnock, Murphy, Green, Austin, Varney (Poleon 75), Hunt (Tonge 85), McCormack. Subs (not used): Ashdown, Diouf, Smith, Wootton, Drury. Report from YEP – Ross McCormack underlined his value again as the striker’s second-half goal earned Leeds United their first win at Ipswich Town for 12 years.McCormack found the net from long range on 49 minutes to claim his third goal of the season and earn United’s second league victory amid continuing interest in his signature.The Scotland international has been the subject of three bids from Middlesbrough – all of them rejected – and he and Leeds are locked in contract talks with the Elland Road club working to end speculation about him ahead of the closure of the transfer window.Leeds fought back from a goal down at Portman Road to extend their unbeaten start to five matches in all competitions and recover from a poor opening in Suffolk.A heavy downpour before kick-off made the pitch greasy and awkward and Ipswich had the ball in the net after only seven minutes.Paddy Kenny failed to hold a cross from Aaron Cresswell which whipped across goal and Jay Tabb turned home David McGoldrick’s flick from a yard out. An offside flag was raised as he wheeled away to celebrate.But Town took the lead four minutes later amid weak defending from United. McGoldrick broke into space and stepped away from Tom Lees before burying a shot from 20 yards with the help of a post.The hosts penned Leeds into their own half for long periods and Brian McDermott’s side created little until the equaliser. Jason Pearce missed two of their better chances, forcing both over the crossbar from close range.Ipswich were unlucky to see Cresswell hit the woodwork with a brilliant curling shot on 24 minutes but Leeds fought back soon and levelled through Varney. The forward produced a sharp, rising finish after McCormack’s shot deflected to him inside the box.The goal took the sting from Ipswich’s performance and the first half ended in tepid fashion, despite a defensive mix-up between Kenny and Pearce which Lee Peltier dealt with.McDermott resisted changes at the interval and McCormack put United ahead after 49 minutes when his strike from outside the box caught the foot of Cole Skuse and flew under Scott Loach in the Ipswich goal.United’s advantage was rarely threatened as Ipswich lost their way and Varney could have added a third goal when he met McCormack’s cross with a wayward header.Noel Hunt produced a goalline clearance as an Ipswich corner caused problems in the 71st minute but Leeds closed out the remaining time to claim a valuable win.

IPSWICH V LEEDS 24/08/2013

Brian McDermott post Ipswich match : “Yeah I was pretty pleased. It took us six hours to get up last night, It must have taken our fans, (3,000 in nos) who were fantastic a lot longer. First twenty minutes they played well. But we stayed in the game. It was really important to nick a goal in the first half because it was really difficult to change things around during the half. I think we saw the best of Noel Hunt today who worked really hard for the team. In the second half I thought we were the better team (re Aidy White) There is interest. Aidy’s trying to fight for his place. Re Ross McCormack we just want to get it sorted.(re other players in and out) I can’t call it . It’s a good start now rather than a solid start. After Sheff Weds there was disappointment but we have probably made up for it.” This was a very good win for Leeds who haven’t won on this ground since 2001. We know we are weak in certain areas. We know we are weak in a number of areas. But one thing we have that we didn’t have last season is character. We lost 3-0 here last season and Warnock said we were “unlucky”. We could have been 3-0 down in the first twenty minutes but we hung in there and remained in the game. Fortune favoured Leeds with a couple of deflections. We need pace and width but eight points from twelve is a decent enough start and something to build on. This manager is building a football club and deserves our backing. 3,000 Leeds fans certainly thought so today. Hopefully GFH will continue to back him over the next week by adding that litte bit of quality we need and building on to that quality we have ….especially the one that has three goals this season…..Ross McCormack 

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Sat Aug 24th.Recruitment tactics give new players chance to develop – Phil Hay It was no great secret that Leeds United wanted Gordon Greer. It was no great secret either that Greer fancied the move. But Brighton refused to deal and the clubs moved on. Greer signed a new contract at The Amex last week.The fall-back for Leeds was Scott Wootton, a 21-year-old centre-back who cut his teeth in Manchester United’s academy. They are poles apart Greer and Wootton: one a Scotland international who turns 33 in December, the other an England youth international with little in the way of comparable experience. Wootton is not a like-for-like replacement.That speaks volumes about Brian McDermott’s approach to the transfer market. You can surmise from the change of tack that his intention this summer was not to sign a generic, experienced defender. He bid for Greer because he liked Greer and when that deal went south before United’s game at Leicester City he resisted the temptation to sign an alternative who, for want of a better phrase, fitted the bill. There are numerous workmanlike centre-backs out there, none of them difficult to find.Matt Mills is the perfect example, McDermott’s former captain at Reading. Bolton Wanderers will release Mills on a season-long loan to any club who can pay half of his £25,000-a-week wages. They hoped quietly all summer that Leeds would be that club. The move was easily justified – a player who, like Noel Hunt, McDermott had relied on before to good effect. Someone who in principle he could trust.Back in the real world, Bolton are the second of two teams who have paid exorbitant wages for Mills and then found themselves punting him on a year later. There was a risk of Leeds walking into that one. Mills excelled under McDermott’s management but he and McDermott went their separate ways in 2011. This is a footballer whose value appears to have peaked; an unimaginative target. The obvious ones are sometimes the worst.Wootton is different; an unknown quantity in many respects but an unfinished article too. In amongst their few summer signings, Leeds have recruited a few of those – Wootton aged 21, Luke Murphy aged 23 and Matt Smith aged 24. How good they will be is a matter of debate but all three have the scope to develop and improve. Combined with Sam Byram, Tom Lees and others of equal standing, there is the potential at Elland Road for the core of settled, established team to grow over time. It is precisely how a club with United’s limited budget should be operating.If money were no object, Leeds ought to have pushed the boat out and paid what it took to sign Curtis Davies, by far the best centre-back in the Championship last season. But money is an object and Leeds are managing it tightly. Davies costs too much at £2.25m so why not seek out an option who might, if luck and ability allow, morph into that calibre of defender? As part of a three-year plan, which United’s owner GFH Capital appears to be pursuing, it beats throwing thousands of pounds at someone in his 30s who is starting to tour the lower-league circuit.Leeds have been down this road before and with some success. In 2008 they picked up Bradley Johnson, Neil Kilkenny, Robert Snodgrass and Luciano Becchio. Between them, those four players had an average age under 24 and mixed experience of domestic leagues in a number of different countries. It was that recruitment drive which underpinned promotion from League One in 2010 and the near-miss in the Championship in 2011 – a season which would have been different had Leeds put together something resembling a defence. When money is tight it pays to scout well and it pays to sign players with longevity. One of McDermott’s reputed strengths is his ability to pick out bargains with pedigree.None of this is to say that the transfer window has been perfect or that McDermott’s business should cease with the signing of Wootton. There is always a need for marquee transfers and a balanced squad with the right amount of nous. Leeds have no wingers, or none that McDermott is willing to use, and without them they will find chances as scarce as they have been in their first three league matches. But McDermott’s position is like GFH Capital’s – a complex situation need not prevent him from making an impact or playing the long game. After signing Murphy for £1m, McDermott used a phrase which resonated – “one for today, one for tomorrow” – and he should hold to that policy. It’s not foolproof but in the circumstances it makes sense.

Thurs Aug 22nd. Macca in new contract talks. Brian McDermott has confirmed that the club are in talks with striker Ross McCormack about a new contract. The boss was responding to questions following more speculation surrounding Middlesbrough’s interest in the player, coupled with McCormack’s comments indicating his interest in signing a new deal with the club.“We’re talking to Ross,” said the boss. “Ross knows exactly how I feel and I know how Ross feels.“Middlesbrough are entitled to do whatever they like as far as their club is concerned – they have made bids and we keep rejecting them.“Ross doesn’t want to leave the football club, we’re all on the same page, and we’re talking with him.”The boss was also dismissed media speculation surrounding a potential swap deal involving Lee Peltier and Matt Mills by responding: “That’s the first I’ve heard of it” That’s a pity. It would be a great move for Leeds. Meanhwile M’bro are allegedly after moving on to Luciano Becchio in a surprise £2M capture from Norwich.

ROSS McCORMACK CELEBRATES SCORING LEEDS FIRST GOAL

Thurs Aug 22nd.Swap Shop.Leeds and Bolton are in talks over a possible swap deal involving Matt Mills and Lee Peltier, Sky Sports understands. Mills has been a long-term target for Leeds boss Brian McDermott, and he could now see a deal come to fruition.Mills knows McDermott well from their time together at Reading, and Bolton appear keen on a deal – as the 27-year-old has struggled since his move from Leicester City last summer. The deal has been made possible by Peltier’s inclusion in the deal, and like Mills he could be moving just 12 months after his last transfer. Peltier signed for Leeds last summer, also from Leicester where coincidentally he was a team-mate of Mills.

Thurs Aug 22ndMacca chasing winger in window. Leeds United boss Brian McDermott says he is now hoping to bring in at least one winger before the transfer window closes on September 2nd. McDermott finally brought in his fourth signing of the summer this week when defender Scott Wootton arrived from Manchester United on a three-year deal to fill one area that concerned the Leeds boss. He now wants to strengthen another area where he says he is lacking, out wide, having admitted recently that he felt he had only Aidy White who could play as a winger. Speaking at his weekly press conference ahead of the trip to Ipswich Town this weekend, McDermott said, “We will see in the next ten days. “I will not write off doing anything else. We are lacking a winger (or two) and that is something we will be looking to do.”

Thurs Aug 22nd.Byram twist or stick Leeds United boss talked cautiously about the return of Sam Byram to training. Byram hasn`t played since suffering a hip injury in the warm up to the penultimate game of last season against Brighton and Hove Albion.Last season`s Player of the Year underwent an injection to try and cure the injury earlier this month and he returned to training at the start of last week. Byram complained of feeling sore just a few days after returning to training but having resumed training again this week, McDermott says they will have to throw him into a game sooner or later, with surgery still an unwanted option. Speaking at his weekly press conference today, McDermott said, “He trained again today. I don`t want to say too much but he is training again. “Let us take it day by day. At some stage, we are going to have to play him in a game to see how he does.”The 19-year-old made 53 appearances for Leeds in his debut season and his form saw him win admiring glances from a number of Premier League clubs.

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Aug 20th .Wootton signs up for three years. Leeds United have agreed a deal to sign highly-rated Manchester United defender Scott Wootton, heading off competition from a number of other clubs keen to recruit the young defender who has played in the UEFA Champions League. The versatile 21-year-old central defender, who can also play in either full back position, will join on a three–year contract. Former England youth international Wootton made his first team debut at Manchester United last season after progressing through the Old Trafford Academy.  He also gained valuable Championship experience during loan spells with Nottingham Forest and Peterborough United. Chairman Salah Nooruddin said: “We’re delighted to agree a deal to bring in Scott. He is a young player who has played on the biggest stage, and who Brian identified as one he was keen to sign, not just for what he brings now, but for the future as well.” United managing director David Haigh said: “The owners and board have said all along that we will support Brian in strengthening the first team squad in order to create a successful and sustainable future for Leeds United. Scott fits the bill perfectly and we welcome him as an exciting addition to the squad that the manager is shaping.” Brian McDermott said: “I’m delighted to have agreed the signing of Scott Wootton on a three-year deal. He’s a player who has played in the Champions League and someone we feel will develop with us in the coming years. “I want to say thanks to the owners for doing the deal and bringing another young player to help us go forward.” Wootton becomes signing number four for Brian McDermott. Hopefully he will achieve more than Danny Pugh who made a similar move a number of years ago. It will no doubt end the long running saga of the bid to sign Matt Mills from Bolton.

Aug 20th. Boro up their offer with bid number 3 for Macca.  The drip feed bidding from Middlesbrough continues as they up their offer to £1.5M (for his left leg I presume). If Leeds are to even consider a bid of less than £4M they will isolate many of the fans they have tried very hard to win back. Meanwhile Diouf has also pledged his loyalty to Leeds insisting there is only one place where he once to play his football. I suspect if there is even a sniff of a bid from a rival, the Leeds board will not be as hesitant to accept the chance to offload his £500K to £600K annual wages.

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Aug 19th. McCormack – “I’m happy to stay” – P Hay YEP.  Ross McCormack insisted today that Leeds United would be selling him against his wishes if the club chose to accept an offer for him before the end of the transfer window. The Scotland international stressed his desire to remain at Elland Road beyond September 2 after his flash of brilliance earned Leeds a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. McCormack produced an inspired individual goal midway through the second half to spare United from their first defeat of the new season. And he attempted to alleviate fears about strong interest in him from Championship rivals Middlesbrough by saying he was “firmly happy here” and that any transfer involving him would “not be my decision.” United manager Brian McDermott reiterated his own view after full-time on Saturday, claiming he had no intention of losing McCormack in the next fortnight. McCormack said: “If I’m going to go it’s going to be their (the club’s) decision. It’s not going to be my decision.“Not once have I asked for a transfer and I won’t force through a move. But if there’s an issue with the club and they need me to move on for money, sometimes in life you do things that you don’t want to do.“I’m firmly happy here and I’m settled in the area. It’s always nice when other clubs are putting in offers for you but as I’ve said numerous times, I’m happy. This is a massive club and I’m really honoured to be here.” Boro have failed to tempt Leeds with offers of £1million and £1.3million for McCormack but the Teesside club believe that they might yet talk United into a deal. McCormack, who joined Leeds for a six-figure fee from Cardiff City in 2010, said: “When I was at Cardiff and a little bit younger, when there was speculation it probably went to my head. So I’m going to learn from my mistakes. I’m very calm. Whatever is going to happen will happen. The main thing is I’m happy here and focused at Leeds United.“I know there are other teams interested in me but if the club were to give me a longer contract then I’m more than happy to sign a new contract. Whether that comes or not could be a different story.” McCormack’s 58th-minute goal on Saturday cancelled out a first-half header from Wednesday’s Kamil Zayatte, earning Leeds a point. United are ninth in the Championship table after three matches. 

Aug 19th. Leeds Fans – How Much Longer Are We Going to be Made Mugs Of.By Rob Atkinson – From We all love Leeds. There are some glass-half-full types who might venture to suggest that this hasn’t been a summer like any other over the past ten years or so.  After all, Bates has gone, most if not all of his cronies have departed with him, and the air around Elland Road does smell sweeter as a result.  What’s more ticket prices have gone down from the actually obscene to the merely extortionate, there has been continual talk of new investment and strategic partners, and yes – we have our first seven-figure signing since we bought Richard Cresswell back when Noah was a lad. O Brave New World that has such smoke and mirrors in it! Because, despite all the feel-good changes and all of the positive talk – forget the past, it’s all about the future – there are still these nagging doubts. Leeds United football fans are canny folk.  They know their football, and they can see quite clearly when there are gaping holes in the squad, and when the club is being stifled for lack of quality.  And despite the rich promise of million-pound Wunderkind Luke Murphy, and the more gangly potential of Matt Smith, freed from his Time Lord responsibilities in darkest Oldham to provide an aerial threat for Leeds United; plus of course the elderly skills of veteran Noel Hunt – despite all this, we can all see what’s missing.  Width, that’s what. Pace, that’s what too. And a rock-like, they-shall-not-pass presence at the centre of defence, that’s very much what also. And yet with a mere two weeks until this latest transfer window slams shut, we are still short of these aforementioned essential items, and we’re being fed a steady diet of rumours about who will have to go in order to make room on the stretched-out wage bill for incomings.

Now they’re threatening our most precious possessions, and the squad’s only sparks of flair and creativity.  Dioufy?  McCormacky??  We must keep these players, or risk becoming even more pedestrian and predictable.  Surely even a Dubai-funded Tory can see that. But the situation is such that, unless we can shed some of the real deadwood – no names, no pack drill – then we’re either going to have to wave a tearful farewell to some of our major players, or make do with what we’ve got.  Brian is not happy.  The board are saying nowt. Are we soon to hear the fateful words “Don’t forget, there’s always the loan window opening in a week or so…”?  Save it, guys.  We’ve heard it all before, year after depressing year.

The fact is that Leeds United are almost certainly doomed to get yet further into a
second decade outside of the top-flight.  The longer we stay out of that billion-dollar glare, the more we will become ever more pallid for lack of limelight, the more chance of the club ending up perpetually moribund, like a bigger version of Preston or Huddersfield.  There is an acute awareness of this among the fans – that much is obvious from the most cursory perusal of the various fan-sites and message-boards.  It’s no secret, that’s for sure – and historically, there are few more militant bunches of fans anywhere.  And yet still, the powers-that-be are following the blueprint of previous regimes, and seeking to manage our expectations, to deflect our passion and desire with blarney and vague not-quite-promises, underpinned by artfully-leaked rumours. Multi-million pound investment imminent?  Bid possible for return of Maxi Gradel?  Ker-ching.  Another few hundred tickets sold for the opening game, and then queues all the way down the West Stand car-park for the League Cup visit of tiny Chesterfield.  But you can’t fool all the people all the time, and despite carefully-scripted exhortations from Brian McDermott, the crowd for the Wednesday game was way down.  And why not?  It’s live on Sky and some of those tickets are £36.  It’s not rocket science, chaps.

It’s about time Leeds United appointed a Minister for Truth.  I’d be up for the job. It’s not going to happen though – but can we at least ask for a little more transparency instead of the same old, same old EVERY bloody year? We know there is no oil-rich billionaire around the corner.  We know Maxi isn’t coming back (or Snoddy, or Howson, or Becchio).  So please – whoever you are – stop feeding us this pap, and get on with what you’re supposed to be doing.  Give Brian the support he needs instead of having the cheek to set two-year deadlines for promotion.  Carry on engaging with the fans – you’ve made a start, but there’s a long way to go.  Learn the lesson that you need to speculate to accumulate, and then maybe we won’t have to watch far smaller clubs snapping up players who would love to play for Leeds United – if the money was anywhere near par for the course.  It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible.  Stop selling us a line and give us a Leeds United to be proud of again – and then we’ll be right behind you in our highly vocal thousands.  You know it makes sense.

Is Leeds United’s ‘Revelation’ Heading For the Exit Door? – From Right in the Gary Kelly’s With just two weeks of the transfer window remaining and reports of an incoming player waiting for the financial green light at Elland Road, speculation of who will leave Leeds United in order to finance McDermott’s latest transfer venture has been rife. Fears of Ross McCormack departing to Middlesbrough have been fueled further- poignant quotes of hope rather than assurance from striker and manager have entrenched doubts in the Elland Road faithful as they ponder the possibilities of life without the Scot. The Yorkshire Evening Post have meanwhile questioned the long-term futures of El-Hadji Diouf, David Norris and Adam Drury. Despite the speculation though, the general consensus in the concourse at Elland Road expects Aidan White to be a main contender for the exit doors.

Having previously been linked with a move north of the border with Celtic, and closer to home with Derby, the 21-year-old left back isn’t a stranger to conjecture and rumour. White has been subject to a failed £250k bid from Blackpool, a rejection that few expected. The Seasiders had acted on instinct after learning of Leeds’ ‘sell-to-buy’ policy this window, only to see their bid for the Irish Under 21 international rejected alongside a bid for Middlesbrough target McCormack. Whilst many support the decision to keep McCormack, opting to keep White in favour of a fairly healthy cash bid came as a surprise. In keeping with the aforementioned transfer policy of today, the decision didn’t seem to follow the urgency prayed for by fans to move on more disposable members in order to freshen the squad.

After all, doubts have been cast as to whether or not Aidan White can still make a name for himself as a Leeds United star. With over 125 competitive appearances at club and national level, White is no longer considered a ‘prospect’ at Elland Road. Despite age being on his side, the left back has experienced five years of professional football- A time period like that is hard to maintain the mantle of ‘prospect for the future’ at your one and only club. Upon his debut, White was seen as a raw talent with natural pace, many holding their hopes on a bright future at Leeds United. Five years on, and little improvement has been found. That raw talent has yet to be defined into something more specialist, and what should’ve been Leeds’ future starting left-back has floundered, settling for a back-up role.

It’s hard to place fault towards Aidy’s direction, though. Gary McAllister, who gave White his debut against Crystal Palace back in 2008, was a keen advocate of playing the Otley born boy in his favoured position of left-back. The following three managers weren’t as keen to offer him an extended opportunity there. Under Simon Grayson, White’s position altered from full-back to winger on a regular basis, refusing to allow any opportunity to grow in a settled position. His loan at Oldham under former Leeds-striker Paul Dickov saw similar disruptions, including the occasional performance on the right-wing, a trait that Neil Warnock also opted for. Throughout his developing years, Aidy has been refused the opportunity to consistently play in a settled position in order to learn by example. Limiting opportunities in his favoured position has damaged his growth as a player. At just 21, all is not lost, but time is quickly running out. It is clear that reaching White’s potential is dependent on how much exposure to a fixed role he can receive. It proves to be food for thought- something Brian McDermott needs to consider. General consensus dictates Aidy performs best as a left-back, a position boasting five recruits at Elland Road. Opportunities at Leeds in such a fashion could be limited.

Ireland’s Under-21 manager Noel King has been full of praise for the 21 year old, calling him a ‘revelation’, one that will break into the senior side ‘sooner rather than later’. Alongside the pursuit of his acquisition by Blackpool, Aidy is far from short of admirers despite the frustrations he’s encountered at Leeds, and at 21 still has the chance to progress into a quality left-back if afforded the chance. As one of the few saleable assets in the playing staff, McDermott has to consider the possibility of allowing White to fulfil his potential elsewhere or offer him the opportunity of a settled chance in his chosen left-back spot. Opposing these avenues will only lead to Leeds holding on to a player labelled ‘the man that could’ve been’ and missing out on a lump cash sum, whilst Aidy loses grasp of reaching his full potential.

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ROSS McCORMACK SCORES LEEDS FIRAT GOAL

 

Sat 17th of Aug. All square in Yorkshire derby.  UNITED 1 (McCormack 56), WEDNESDAY 1 (Zayatte 36). United: Kenny, Peltier, Pearce, Lees, Warnock, Green (Tonge 46), Austin, Murphy, McCormack, Poleon (Diouf 85), Varney (Smith 72). Subs. Ashdown, Brown, Drury, Hunt.Booked: McGuire, Buxton (Sheffield Wednesday)Att: 24, 766 (Report from LUFC website)For the visit of Sheffield Wednesday United manager Brian McDermott made one change from the team that held Leicester City to a goalless draw the previous Sunday. Dominic Poleon was installed in the starting line-up for the first time in the league this season with Noel Hunt dropping to the bench. A welcome addition to the United bench for Brian McDermott was, the fit again, El-Hadji Diouf. The home crowd were in full voice as the game kicked off and the opening minutes of the match were typical of a derby with strong challenges happening all over the Elland Road turf. Chris Kirkland was given a scare as the opening 10 minutes came to a close when he palmed away a Luke Murphy free-kick from the left of his penalty area. United had the lions share of possesion as the game went on, with Poleon using his pace to cause problems in the Wednesday defence. Also a scramble in a packed away penalty almost brought the opener for United but Kirkland saved a downward header from Tom Lees. Moments later it was Wednesday that had a chance in front of goal. Athde Nuhiu latched onto Chris McGuire’s corner but the big striker’s header was held well by Paddy Kenny. United’s first meaningful chance of the match came as the 30 mark pasted. Ross McCormack got on the ball just outside the 18-yard box and beat his man to find a yard of space to shoot, Kirkland made a good save to prevent to Scot giving United the lead. But it was Wenesday who took the lead on 36 minutes. Kamil Zayatte was the man with the goal after Michail Antonio headed a corner back into the danger area. The centre-backs headed effort looped over the diving Kenny in the United goal to give the away side the lead.The away side looked the more likely in front of goal and almost doubled their advantage when the first half went into injury time. It was another corner that caused issues for United and Antonio’s headed effort went just wide of the mark. United manager Brian McDermott made one change at the interval by introducing Michael Tonge into the game for Paul Green. The first real chance of the second half came the way of United. After great hold-up play from McCormack, he played in Murphy who could only send his strike over the crossbar. On 56 minutes a moment of individual brilliance from McCormack brought United level. The Scot carried the ball from just inside the away half of the field and beat Zayatte with his skill and pace to to leave him one-on-one with Kirkland. McCormack made no mistake and fired United level. After McCormack’s equaliser the noise levels inside Elland Road rose and the United side upped the tempo. United began to pile on the pressure and came close from two corners in quick succession. The game began to open up as it went into the final 15 minutes. First it was Antonio for the away side that struck at goal but Kenny was equal to his effort and made a great save. Then moments later United’s goalscorer McCormack struck at goal after great play by Poleon and substitute Tonge but the striker saw his effort go wide after a deflection. United midfielder Tonge was the next man to have a strike at goal but his effort was charged down and gave Kirkland the chance to save. With five minutes of the 90 remaining the United boss made his final substitution by bringing on Diouf for Poleon. Moments after the substitution Murphy tried his luck from distance but Kirkland got his body behind the ball and saved well. With five minutes of injury time shown by the fourth official it was United pushing for what would be the winner. In the second minute of injury time United had a free-kick on the edge of the area. McCormack stepped up to take the kick but his attempt hit the wall. McCormack’s attempt proved to be the last action of the afternoon with the game ending all square. After match reaction : The transfer window closes on September 1, but although McDermott has made his feelings plain, the continued silence from Leeds’ owners GFH Capital on McCormack’s future could offer Middlesbrough, or any other rival clubs, enough encouragement to make a further improved offer. “I want him to score those goals in August, July, September, any time because that’s what football’s all about – that bit of quality,” McDermott said.“I said to the lads at half-time, let’s not wait for anything, let’s grab it, someone grab it and he certainly did that. “It was a fabulous goal. “We’ve turned down two or three bids and you know my view, that’s not changed.“I’ve spoken to Ross and you saw the quality that he brings.“You saw his celebration as well. He loves this football club and I like working with him.”When asked whether Middlesbrough were wasting their time putting in another bid, McDermott added: “That’s up to them, they can do what they like.“As far as I’m concerned, Ross wants to be here, I want him to be here, that’s their prerogative to do what they like.”McDermott said the aim was to win all their home games this season, but he was satisfied with both his side’s performances and points return from their first three matches.“The players have given me everything and the crowd appreciate that,” McDermott said. “They stayed with us again today and they see that we’re trying to find a way to get results. “We want to win at home, but that’s five points from three games and we look forward to the next one.” Wednesday were good value for their point, their first of the season following successive defeats to QPR, Rotherham in the Capital One Cup, and Burnley. Owls winger Michail Antonio forced Leeds goalkeeper Paddy Kenny into two crucial saves in the closing stages when both sides chased the winner. “We played well and I think most managers would have taken a point from Elland Road before the game,” said manager Dave Jones.“But I thought we should have taken all three points. “We had the chances, we might have had a penalty and in the end we were unlucky. “We should have done better for their goal and we will continue to work on those situations. “But overall we have done ok, we are off the mark and now we move on to the next game.” Owls right-back Lewis Buxton made an impressive first appearance of the season following shin splints and Jones added: Lewis was absolutely magnificent.“He came into the team today on the back of three days training and you wouldn’t have thought he had been away.”  McDermott, unlike Warnock has had no blank canvass to work with. Two free transfers and a £1M player are not enough, especially without our best player, Sam Byram. His bombing runs forward are a huge loss for us just now.  If anyone was in any doubt that we could afford to lose Ross McCormack before the Weds game, they must be in cloud cuckoo land. United are a functional side lacking quality, with Murphy and McCormack providing the only real spark in the team. Austin adds drive from midfield and Poleon up front has pace but is raw and inexperienced. We lack width and pace and a draw was a fair result. Personally, I’d like to see McCormack played as an out and out striker but all offers need to be rebuffed and funds must be found from elsewhere or else we really are on the read to nowhere. Five points from three games is just about where we are right now, very hard to defeat, but finding it very hard to win also.

Friday 16th of Aug. McDermott hoping for a breakthrough – Hay YEP Leeds United manager Brian McDermott insisted last night that he was hopeful of a positive end to the transfer window, saying: “Something will break for us. McDermott vowed to overcome the restrictions facing him and make the most of a vital fortnight as he confirmed that a high wage bill was continuing to stand in the way of new signings. The United boss said the scenario at Elland Road was “not the easiest situation in the world” with a lack of interest in his available players stifling his attempts to bring others to Leeds ahead of the transfer deadline on September 2. The pressure on McDermott to ease a £15m wage bill first is forcing him to listen to approaches for a number of his senior squad members, among them Senegalese international El-Hadji Diouf, and the 52-year-old is waiting for an incoming offer which frees him to finalise deals for key targets. McDermott, who has been linked repeatedly with young Manchester United centre-back Scott Wootton after missing out on Brighton’s Gordon Greer, revealed that he had one signing lined up and ready to proceed and needed only the go-ahead to complete the transfer. He has not recruited any new players since landing Noel Hunt on July 3. McDermott said: “We think we’re further on with one but it’s not the easiest situation in the world. “We’ve talked about this before where maybe a player has to leave for a player to come in. That really hasn’t changed and that’s where we are. “Numbers-wise we’re short in certain areas.“It’s pretty obvious for everyone to see. “We have an overload in certain positions and in other positions we certainly haven’t. “But we’re hoping that something might break for us and with the window shutting at the end of the month, I believe something will happen and something will break for us.“I’ve got one particular deal that can be done and hopefully will be done. “We’ll see what happens after that.” McDermott’s players have made a positive start to the season and will attempt to extend their unbeaten run into a fourth game during tomorrow’s derby against Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road. The squad at Leeds is almost at full strength following Diouf’s recovery from a shin problem, and right-back Sam Byram still has a chance of avoiding an operation on his injured hip after training for the past two days. McDermott said: “He was a bit sore yesterday which is a shame but he’ll rest today and we’re pretty hopeful. It would be great to get him back.”

Thurs 14th of Aug. Will the real Diouf statement become clear please ? Leeds boss Brian McDermott insists striker El-Hadji Diouf remains a part of his plans and hopes to bring in a new player before the transfer window closes. Diouf, yet to appear for Leeds this season but due to return to the squad for Saturday’s derby clash against Sheffield Wednesday following a shin infection, has been reported to be one of several players McDermott is willing to sacrifice in order to fund further new signings. “Something’s come out in the press regarding Dioufy, but we’ve had no enquiries for him and we’re not rushing him out of the door,” said McDermott, who confirmed he has edged closer to the possible signing of a new defender. “Personally, I’m not rushing anyone out of the door. It’s not the easiest situation in the world. “We’ve talked about this. Maybe a player has to leave the club for a player to come in and that really hasn’t changed, so that’s where we are. “We’re hopeful something might break for us. With the window shutting at the end of the month, I believe something will happen, something will break for us. “My ideal scenario is we keep our players, our squad together and we add to it, but we don’t often get an ideal scenario. “I have one particular deal that can be done, that hopefully will be done and then we’ll see what happens after that.”

Thurs Aug 15th. How the financial fair play rules affect Leeds – P Hay YEP. Phil Hay looks in detail at the Football League’s financial fair play rules and the impact they are already having.You know that Financial Fair Play is seeping into the Championship’s consciousness when Leicester City start working to the letter of the law. The richest club outside the Premier League, or one of them, have broken the habit of spending as they please, in a summer when their manager Nigel Pearson has signed only two players. Pearson discussed FFP after Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Leeds United, saying he and his board were committed to making it work. “Don’t expect wholesale changes here,” he said, “because there won’t be any. We have our own strategy for coming into line with Financial Fair Play.” There was a time when Leicester invested in their squad without caution. The summer of 2011, a period in which Sven-Goran Eriksson threw money around, made them outright favourites for the Championship title. But the Football League’s introduction of FFP – rules agreed with the support of a majority of second-tier clubs – is already taking effect. FFP regulations were applied for the first time in 2012 but the Football League agreed that failure to comply with its guidelines would result in no penalty this season or last. The governing body gave Championship clubs two years to get their houses in order and will, in theory, mete out meaningful punishments from January 2015 onwards. Clubs who break FFP rules face a transfer embargo in that window. A new report released by accountancy firm BDO, which surveyed 66 “financial directors” employed by England’s professional clubs, found that 85 per cent of teams expect to comply with FFP rules this season. Among Premier League and Championship sides, 83 per cent intended to maintain the same wage bill during 2013-14 or reduce it. Only one fifth planned to increase their transfer budget or believed they would have the funds to do so. The situation at Elland Road and the tight rein on transfers at Leeds United is altogether more complicated but FFP is in part behind the attempt by United owner GFH Capital to hold down a wage bill which crept over £15million in the past 12 months. That figure equates to around half of United’s annual turnover – far below the cost of salaries burdening many English clubs – but Leeds’ most recent accounts showed a shortage of excess cash. The club made a £317,000 profit during the 2011-12 financial year but posted an operating loss of £3.3million. Selling Max Gradel and Jonathan Howson kept them in the black. Attendances at Elland Road dipped badly last season and the difference between a profit and a loss in 2012-13 might well be GFH Capital’s own investment. The club are known to be concerned about breaching FFP regulations should the wage bill climb any higher. The resulting impact on the transfer plans of manager Brian McDermott has been plain to see. FFP rules governing the Championship are designed to limit both the losses a club incur and the investment permitted by owners and directors. In the 2014-15 reporting period, when FFP in effect goes live, clubs will comply if their losses for the current term are no more than £3million and the injection of “equity contributions” from board members does not exceed £5million. In other words, if United lose £6million then GFH Capital, or the board at Leeds as a whole, will be required to find £3million to meet Football League guidelines. If their losses run to more than £8million, United would automatically breach what the Football League calls its “total acceptable deviation” limit – £3million of losses plus £5million of private investment. The governing body would then introduce a transfer embargo as punishment.  Certain costs do not count towards a breach: youth development, community projects and, somewhat surprisingly, promotion bonuses. There are, even to the untrained eye, glaring anomalies in the Football League. How, for example, can Queens Park Rangers spend £4million on Charlie Austin, £3million on Scott Parker, potentially another £6million on Jermain Defoe and still comply with FFP at a time when relegation from the Premier League has decimated their income? In the short-term, QPR are protected by a clause which says FFP punishments will not be imposed on relegated clubs during their first year in the Championship. The club are also safe in the knowledge that the Football League would be unable to apply a transfer embargo were the West London club to return to the Premier League before sanctions kick in. Clubs promoted to the Premier League will instead be hit with a ‘Fair Play Tax’ – a fine based on a percentage of the sum by which that club broke the total acceptable deviation limit. That threat is unlikely to worry any board with top-flight income. QPR’s investment indicates that they hope to leave the Football League in time to avoid serious trouble. It is their good fortune that owner Tony Fernandes has chosen to stick around. BDO’s FFP survey found that 28 per cent of Championship club shareholders are considering selling up or relinquishing part of their stakes in the next 12 to 18 months as financial pressure outside the Premier League grows. “Due to minimal resources we now see around a third of existing owners seeking a full or partial exit,” said BDO partner Billy Cairns. “Football clubs continue to attract huge interest but when it comes to the crunch only a limited number of investors have the resources and appetite to bankroll their club’s ambitions. “This may see clubs go back to basics with overly ambitious promises of silverware traded for closer ties and greater financial stability – a backlash against the profligacy of previous regimes. The challenge will be to balance that with the continued demand of the fans’ desire for success.”

Thurs Aug 15th. Leeds Utd owner quietly sells off more than half stake The Dubai-based investment firm that bought English soccer club Leeds United in December after lengthy negotiations sold more than half of its 100 percent holding less than six months later, financial statements show. GFH Capital, a subsidiary of Bahraini Gulf Finance House , offloaded a 10 percent stake to Bahrain-based International Investment Bank earlier this year and its second quarter financial statement showed it had now sold a total of more than half the shares. The statement did not say who the buyer was, specifying only that it had made a gain of $776,000 on the sale and was now deconsolidating Leeds results from its own. GFH could not be reached for comment on Thursday. The company paid 52 million pounds ($80.4 million) last year to buy Leeds from previous owner Ken Bates, reported by British media to have been sacked as lifetime president of the club in July over his use of a private jet to travel to matches. The club’s website lists shareholders of Grand Cayman-based LUFC Holding Limited – owner of Leeds City Holdings Limited, which in turn owns the club – as GFH Capital, International Investment Bank and Envest Limited. Envest is owned by Salah Nooruddin, who replaced Bates as chairman, and his wife. GFH, which had already booked a $10.4 million profit on the Leeds deal in its 2012 financial statement, said in April it had offers from several investors for stakes in the club. The company has been forced into a number of debt restructurings as well as a major overhaul of its business model since 2010 as it struggled in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. It made a profit of $4.2 million in the first half of the year, its financial statements showing that this was mainly possible because of a $52 million gain from converting a type of Islamic financing security into shares. On an operating level, the group lost $13 million, the cash flow statement shows, while the balance sheet reports accumulated losses since establishment of $379 million

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Mon Aug 12th. Greer signs deal with Brighton – Sky Sports. Brighton and Hove Albion have agreed a new deal with captain Gordon Greer after turning down bids from Leeds United. Leeds have been trying for the past week to try and lure the Scotland international defender to Elland Road. However, Brighton were not willing to let Greer leave and Sky Sports understands that they have now agreed a new deal with the 32-year-old. The news will be a huge blow to Leeds boss Brian McDermott, who had his sights set on Greer as he looks to bolster his squad ahead of the transfer deadline. After also being linked with Bolton’s Matt Mills in recent weeks, McDermott said he had drawn a blank with his bids. “It’s proving to be difficult that deal. At some point one has to move on. It’s been going on for quite a long time now. But I haven’t moved on yet, not completely,” said McDermott. “In this particular situation it’s a club-to-club issue. The club doesn’t want to sell the player and we were in a position where we thought they would. The club are now saying they won’t. “The player’s agent thought there was a situation where the player would be sold but that’s not proving to be the case. The club don’t want to do the deal. It’s a difficult situation when you think the player wants to come. “But sometimes that’s how it is. Clubs have got their own ideas and they’ve got to look after themselves. Rightly so. All clubs have got to do business the way they think is right and proper for them.”

Mon 12th of Aug £1.3M bid for McCormack rejected. Sky Sports are reporting that Leeds United have rejected a fresh approach from Middlesbrough for Scottish striker Ross McCormack. This follows a previous bid from the Tony Mowbray’s side, and prior to that, an approach for McCormack from Blackpool, part of a deal which also sought to take Aidy White to Bloomfield Road. The bid over the last forty-eight hours apparently totalled £1.3 million, which is an improvement on the bid tabled last week of around £1 million. McDermott has rejected this immediately, however, insistent on the fact that the diminutive Scot will remain at the club this season.

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Mon 12th of Aug. Rudy-  new captain Rodolph Austin ‘shock’ at being made captain. Leeds United midfielder Rodolph Austin has said he was “blown away” when manager Brian McDermott asked him to be the club’s captain.  The Jamaican skippered the side for the first time since his appointment in Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Leicester City.  “I was shocked to be honest because I didn’t know the gaffer had so much respect for me and saw me as a leader,” he told BBC Radio Leeds. “He called me to his office on Friday and I was blown away.” Austin added: “I said I wanted some time to think about it but he insisted I take it because he thought I would do a good job. “It’s very pleasing to have been asked to do the job and an honour to be the captain of such a big club.” The 28-year-old joined the Elland Road club from Norwegian Tippeligaen side SK Brann last summer for an undisclosed fee and made 38 appearances in his debut season in England. Having missed the first two games of the season through suspension he was happy to have helped the side continue their unbeaten start to the season. “I was pleased with my performance but more so about how the team played,” he said. “It was a close game and either side could have won it but it’s good to go away and get a point sometimes.”  McDermott : “He’s a good guy, and a really good role model,” said the boss. “He’s a leader and he will become more of a leader. “He trains every day like it’s his last training session. He has so many good qualities. “When he won the man of the match award on Sunday and after the game he came in the dressing room and said ‘that’s for everyone.’” Rudy takes over from Lee Peltier, who captained the side for much of last term, and the boss says the change is no reflection on his contribution. ”It’s no slight on Lee Peltier whatsoever,” added the boss. “I spoke to Lee, he understood, and he was terrific on Sunday. “Everyone is all together and united which is what we want.”

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Sun Aug 11th.  LEICESTER 0, LEEDS UNITED 0. United: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Warnock, Green (Tonge 90), Murphy, Austin, McCormack, Hunt (Poleon 65), Varney (Smith 77). Subs. Ashdown, Drury, Brown, White.Referee: K Stroud Booked: Pearce (Leeds), Whitbread, Moore, Nugent (Leicester).Att: 22,725 (2,851 LUFC) Report from LUFC. Leeds) United headed to Leicester on Sunday afternoon for the first away Sky Bet Championship away match of the season. After the opening day victory over Brighton and Hove Albion at Elland Road United manager Brian McDermott made one change. The United manager had the services of Rudy Austin once again after suspension and the Jamaican international went straight into the starting line-up.Also before the game United manager Brian McDermott confirmed that Austin would be the captain for the game at the King Power Stadium.United were the better of the two teams during the opening 10 minutes and the first chance of the game went the way of Luke Varney. Following good build-up play from Austin Noel Hunt found himself in space to cross for Varney. The striker connected with the inbound cross but was under pressure from Wes Morgan and saw his effort go over the bar. Following United’s bright start the home side began to settle without really threatening Paddy Kenny’s goal. But midway through the half the United defence blocked well after a shot from distance.As the half hour past there was nothing to separate the two teams, in what had become an even contest, with most of the play taking place in the midfield area.With the half drawing to a close it was United that pushed for the break through, with two corners in quick succession leading to Varney having a headed effort go wide of the mark.Five minutes after the interval saw the home side’s first real chance of the afternoon when, after a long Liam Moore throw in, Morgan rose well and headed just over.There was still nothing between the two sides as the hour mark approached. Both managers made changes to try and gain the upper hand with United boss Brian McDermott introducing Dominic Poleon to proceedings in place of Hunt.The introduction of Poleon almost made an instant impact when the striker was on the ball in the penalty area. Poleon tried to beat his defender but the home side defended well to prevent a cross to the waiting United attackers.Moments later Poleon was involved once again. The striker was put through on goal by Ross McCormack but last ditched defending by Moore prevented Poleon having a strike at goal.The game began to open up as the 75th minute approached and Jamie Vardy saw Kenny save his two efforts on goal before being substitued for Chris Wood.With 10 minutes of the game remaining Leicester substitute Wood gave Kenny a scare after his shot from distance hit the post.Just as four minutes of injury was announced Stephen Warnock found himself in space on the wing and floated a cross in the direction of Matt Smith. The big striker got his head to it and it took a great save from Kasper Schmeichel to prevent United sneaking a late goal. In truth neither side did enough to win the game. Leicester will point to Wood hitting the post, but equally so Leeds could point to Poleon being denied a penalty. United lack width and pace, and Pearse is limited alongside Lees. Four points from six is a decent return from games against Brighton and Leicecter, but McDermott knows he is at least four players short of a promotion push.

Sat Aug 10th. Transfer frustration for McDermott – P Hay YEPLeeds United have reached an impasse with their elusive fourth summer signing after being told that the target’s current club are no longer willing to sell him.A defiant pursuit by Brian McDermott looks destined to end in failure, despite United’s manager claiming that the unnamed player is himself pushing for a transfer to Elland Road. McDermott, who has been working on the deal since the earliest stages of pre-season, said discussions were “proving to be difficult” amid a sudden reluctance to accept a bid on the part of the player’s club.The Leeds boss is yet to abandon his approach, saying he had “not given up completely”, but he appears ready to move on after more than five weeks of patient negotiating. His ability to force through a quick move was restricted by United’s insistence that he remove players from the wage bill at Elland Road before completing further signings.McDermott said: “It’s proving to be difficult that deal. At some point one has to move on. It’s been going on for quite a long time now. But I haven’t moved on yet, not completely. “In this particular situation it’s a club-to-club issue. The club doesn’t want to sell the player and we were in a position where we thought they would. The club are now saying they won’t.“The player’s agent thought there was a situation where the player would be sold but that’s not proving to be the case. The club don’t want to do the deal.”McDermott has never given any clue to the identity or position of his proposed signing – a target he first spoke of after Leeds’ pre-season win at Farsley on July 6 – but he gave strong hints during United’s summer tour of Slovenia that the player in question would be his next captain.Leeds are known to have made an enquiry for Matt Mills, the Bolton Wanderers centre-back who was Reading’s captain during McDermott’s time as manager.Bolton invested heavily in Mills last summer, paying him £25,000 a week to conclude a move from Leicester, but the 27-year-old’s peripheral role during his first season at the Reebok Stadium appeared to leave him surplus to requirements. Bolton manager Dougie Freedman, however, has spoken increasingly highly of Mills, claiming he would retain the defender unless Mills specifically asked to leave.United were also credited with an interest in Brighton’s Gordon Greer, another centre-back who played against Leeds at Elland Road last weekend. The Scotland international is likely to be a first-team regular at The Amex this season and is not being made available for transfer.Asked if he believed his target hoped to move to Elland Road, McDermott said: “Yes. It’s a difficult situation when you think the player wants to come.“But sometimes that’s how it is. Clubs have got their own ideas and they’ve got to look after themselves. Rightly so. All clubs have got to do business the way they think is right and proper for them.”McDermott has not added a new signing to his squad since July 3 when Noel Hunt became his third acquisition on a free transfer from Reading.He admitted last month that United’s board, dominated by employees of majority shareholder GFH Capital, had asked him to move players on before recruiting any more but his latest remarks – claiming that a rival club were obstructing a deal which Leeds aimed to complete – suggested a possible easing of the financial restrictions at Elland Road.McDermott, who has highlighted a new central defender as a major priority before the end of the transfer window, revealed yesterday that he was preparing for talks about the signing of a different target. “There’s one who we’re hoping to have discussions with in the next couple of days,” he said.The Leeds boss added that he had received no further bids for striker Ross McCormack following unsuccessful offers from Blackpool and Middlesbrough in the past fortnight. McDermott spoke with the Scotland forward in the aftermath of the approaches and said: “We put it to bed between us. It’s a non-story as far as I’m concerned.”With few developments in the transfer market, Leeds travel to Leicester for the second game of the Championship season tomorrow with their squad largely unchanged. Rodolph Austin is available again after a three-match ban and El-Hadji Diouf could take a seat on the bench having demonstrated his improved fitness in a friendly against Burnley on Wednesday afternoon.Perhaps because of the problems sounding his intended new signing, McDermott is still to confirm the identity of Leeds’ club captain for this term, though his failure to clarify the position of current incumbent Lee Peltier points strongly towards a permanent change.Peltier captained Leeds against Brighton last weekend and passed the armband to Paul Green during Wednesday’s Capital One Cup tie against Chesterfield in which the right-back was rested. Austin’s return from suspension gives McDermott another viable candidate to turn to.The Leeds boss was reticent about his choice, saying: “That decision will be made. I know what I want to do. It’s an important decision and it would be disrespectful to say that it isn’t. If you’re captain of Leeds United then that does hold a certain status. “I made a decision at Reading to make Jobi McAnuff captain. At the time that was seen as different because Jobi’s a winger. But I knew what he offered in the dressing room. Different players offer different things and they captain in a different way.“Jobi always led by example even if he wasn’t having a great day. It’s important to know what you’re going to get from your captain. I remember Tony Adams at Arsenal. He never looked like he had a bad game because his body language was so good.“You see different characteristics in different people. I don’t have a specific reason for choosing my captain or a specific position. Left-winger was captain for Reading when we won the Championship. It doesn’t have to be a centre-half or a central midfielder. It could be anybody.”

ScottWootton

Sat Aug 10th. Leeds to sign Man Utd centre half ? Leeds United are in talks to sign young centre half Scott Wootton from ‘old enemy’ Manchester United in a bargain deal.Leeds manager Brian McDermott wants the defender to sign this weekend and his money men hope the Old Trafford giants will help out with a low asking price. Wootton wants to move to play football and is keen on the switch to Elland Road but they are low on funds.Leeds want United to accept a deal with no money up front but extras paid after appearances and with bonuses on achievements.

Sat Aug 10th. Evolutution not Revolution at Elland Road – P Hay YEP. Evolution not revolution was Salah Nooruddin’s message this week, bringing to mind Alan Partridge.Steve Coogan’s influence in the Middle East cannot be all-consuming so Leeds United’s chairman is forgiven for choosing that phrase. And the policy still stands: progress in time, not overnight. This past week has nonetheless felt like a revolution, brought on by a presidential coup and intense supporter engagement around it. There was a queue the length of the West Stand car park before Wednesday’s League Cup tie against Chesterfield, running further than a camera phone could see. Not so long ago Leeds were hard pressed to give away match tickets. “We had 17,000 here for a first-round game,” said Brian McDermott afterwards. “In my second game against Burnley last season, we had only 16,000.”It’s not only the numbers that hit you. It’s the atmosphere too – explosive in patches of United’s win over Brighton on Saturday but unusually relaxed. “Everyone’s taken chill-pill,” said one journalist who covered Wednesday’s tie for a national newspaper. He was expecting trouble when Chesterfield opened the scoring because trouble usually breaks out. That is how Elland Road came to be seen last season; a basin of dissent.You can pick at the bones of Wednesday’s performance and argue fairly that the second tier of McDermott’s squad is not what he needs to tear up the Championship. He and his assistant, Nigel Gibbs, regularly speak about the influence of Reading’s substitutes in the season when their previous club left 23 others trailing and comparisons between then and now show shortcomings and weaknesses at Leeds. No great revelation there.But on the state of the squad there is general agreement – big enough, perhaps, but not yet strong enough. McDermott sings from that hymn sheet and so did Nooruddin when he said in an interview on Tuesday that he and United’s board were not demanding promotion of their manager this season. That is evolution at work; a strategy where substantial investment in players seems destined to come further down the line. GFH Capital is unwilling to bend on the subject of controlling a £15m wage bill. An attitude so rigid would have provoked protests a year ago but the fundamental difference between this regime and the last is a willingness to compromise in areas where they can. McDermott’s infectious attitude is bringing supporters back but the factors at work on Saturday and Wednesday were predominantly down to the board: sensible ticket prices, a clear-out of the boardroom and an effort to paint this as a new era which went beyond merely telling people that it was. These owners to their credit are not of the mind that shouting loudest wins the day. There is such a thing as diplomacy. There is also scope for enhancement in different areas of the club. A week ago this newspaper and the BBC reported about a proposed investment deal which could lead to United repurchasing Elland Road, a ground which has belonged to private owners and anonymous ones at that for years. Investment in the hand is worth many times the value of investment in the bush but the sources concerned were extremely confident that funds would come. We await news. Reclaiming the freehold of Elland Road would be a game-changer in terms of the expectations of GFH Capital’s ownership, however long that lasts. The annual rent of the stadium – separate from the cost of leasing Thorp Arch – is around £1.5m, one 20th of Leeds’ annual income. It’s a small but significant fraction, lumped on top of other costs. Add it to that £3.3million which Leeds paid to Ticketus to meet the East Stand loan earlier this year and that is £5million which the club would not have to pick out of their bank balance in 2014. Financial Fair Play will not stand in the way of pushing that McDermott’s way. Saturday’s win against Brighton proved that Leeds have a team who can live in the Championship; not win it and not get out of it necessarily but compete ably more often than not. It can only stay that way for so long but GFH Capital has bought itself time. It is now in a position to promote a patient roadmap with some credibility. Over time it has become apparent that the firm’s inability to replicate a Sheikh Mansour-style refit need not prevent it from making lasting improvements. How far it can go and how long it will persevere is a separate argument altogether but GFH Capital is plainly in the business of leaving Leeds in a better state than it found them. If the ultimate goal of its work is a large pay-off then that’s the prerogative of an investment bank. For a long-suffering crowd, evolution beats nothing.

Thurs Aug 8th. Donny away in CC.  Leeds have been drawn away to Doncaster Rovers in the next round of the Carling Cup. 

DOMONIC POLEON CELEBRATES  SCORING LEEDS SECOND GOAL

Weds Aug 7th. Leeds make it two wins in a row. Report from LUFC website. UNITED 2 (Brown 28, Poleon 31), CHESTERFIELD 1 (Doyle 17).United: Kenny, Drury, Lees, Pearce, Thompson, Green, White (McCormack 60), Brown, Norris (Murphy 60), Smith, Poleon. Subs. Ashdown, Hunt, Varney, Hall, Mowatt.Referee: C Boyeson.Att: 17,466 Booked: Thompson (Leeds), Chesterfield were the visitors for the first round of the Capital One Cup and United manager Brian McDermott made a number of changes to his starting line-up after Saturday’s victory against Brighton.Summer arrival Matt Smith made his first start for the club and there was also a first appearance of the season for Zac Thompson. Former under-18s captain Alex Mowatt was promoted to the first team bench for the first time after impressive performances in Development Squad fixtures.Within United’s starting line-up there were two career milestones. United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny made his 600th career appearance and the second achievement was that Aidy White was making his 100th outting in a Leeds United shirt. United started brightly and the first chance of the game came in the first minute when Smith held the ball up well and Dominic Poleon latched onto his knock down but his shot went just wide of the mark. It was United that had control of the game during the opening exchanges with the partnership of Smith and Poleon looking dangerous for the home side. After good work by Adam Drury, Poleon found himself in  out wide and created a shooting opportunity but the away defence blocked well.Although United continued to look comfortable on the ball it was the away side that took the lead in the 17th minute. Chesterfield full-back Drew Talbot found himself in space to cross and Eoin Doyle connected and his headed effort was good enough to beat Kenny.United didn’t waste any time and went looking for the equaliser. It was Poleon once again that created an opening but his cross was cut-out by the away defence. With United searching for an equaliser it was Chesterfield that had the next meaningful chance on goal when Jimmy Ryan struck from distance but Kenny saved well. The one goal advantage lasted 11 minutes as United equalised after great build-up play from Drury and White set-up Michael Brown to strike at goal. The midfielder unleashed a superb strike that flew past Tommy Lee from 20-yards out. Moments later United were ahead through Poleon. The United striker had the ball at his feet with only one defender to beat, he had the option to play in Smith but the striker went along and finished well into the bottom corner. With the 40 minute mark approaching the away side almost levelled the game through Tendayi Darikwa. The midfielder out-paced Jason Pearce, rounded Kenny and had the goal at his mercy but Pearce recovered brilliantly to clear Darikwa’s shot off the line. As the half was drawing to a close it was home side that was pushing forward and great pressure from Brown in the United midfield led an attack. Brown continued his push forward but his cross was cut-out by the away defence. The away side had the first effort on goal in the second half from a free-kick just outside the United penalty area. It was Ryan who stood over the free-kick and it took a block from Brown at the near post to prevent Kenny having to make the save. It was with another free-kick that the away side threated Kenny’s goal again 10 minutes after the interval, but the United keeper cleared his lines well. On the hour mark United manager Brian McDermott made two changes to his side to try and sure things up by introducing Ross McCormack and Luke Murphy in place of David Norris and White. United’s first meaningful effort on goal came after great work from subtitute McCormack, he crossed for Smith but the striker’s headed attempt went just over. The striker was involved again moments later when he and Poleon linked up well in the away area but Lee saved well by blocking his effort. United broke on the counter-attack with 15 minutes remaining and substitute Murphy warmed Lee’s fingertips with a shot from distance. An even better chance came United’s way just minutes later when McCormack’s through ball found Poleon but the Chesterfield goalkeeper was on hand once again to deny a third United goal. Great work once again from Poleon led to United’s next chance. The striker used his skill and pace to gain a yard and crossed for his strike partner, Smith connected with the ball but was judged to have fouled a Chesterfield defender in the process. Just minutes of the 90 remained as the away side threated after great intricate build-up play that ended with Talbot striking into Kenny’s arms. As the game headed into five minutes of injury time Ryan in the Chesterfield midfield tried his luck again from distance, but as with Talbot’s shot moments earlier, his strike went straight into the arms of the United goalkeeper. There was still time for the away side to attack once more as injury drew to a close. Nathan Smith found himself with time and space just inside the United box, the defender saw his shot hit Kenny’s post and proved to be the final effort on goal with United progressing to the second round of the Capital One Cup. Another decent performance with fringe players getting an outing. Poleon again looks impressive with explosive pace and that rawness that gives him an edge and worries defences. This is what McDermott had to say : “We won and that’s important. “We started well and it looked like it was going to be a good night for us – and it was a good night because we won and we’re in the next round.“But Chesterfield played really well, they kept the ball better than us, and we lost our way in the game.“Sometimes that happens and you have to dig in and get a result.“You have to get a winning habit.“We went behind again at home and that’s something we have to address but the result is everything in a cup game. We got over the line in the end.”The first-round match drew a crowd of more than 17,000 – a higher attendance than McDermott witnessed for his second league game in charge last season – and the Leeds boss said: “I thought the fans were great. “They didn’t get edgy at all and they got behind the players when we weren’t playing particularly well.” McDermott, meanwhile, poured further water on suggestions that Ross McCormack could leave Elland Road before the end of the transfer window. Leeds have rejected bids for the Scotland international from Middlesbrough and Blackpool and McDermott said: “He’s staying. He wants to stay at Leeds and I want him to stay at Leeds.“We’ve had a couple offers which the club have knocked back and that’s it. There’s no more to it.”

McCormackvBrighton

Weds Aug 7th. Macca to Stay and BMac to be open with fans ?BRIAN McDermott was standing firm over the future of Ross McCormack today after Middlesbrough joined Blackpool in bidding for the Leeds United striker.McCormack is the subject of strong interest from two Championship clubs but McDermott attempted to ward off further offers by saying he was “not interested” in any of the bids submitted to Elland Road so far.Blackpool are understood to have made a joint approach for McCormack and Leeds winger Aidan White last week, proposing a fee in excess of £1million for both players. Leeds dismissed the enquiry out of hand ahead of Saturday’s game against Brighton.Middlesbrough, meanwhile, made their move for McCormack after the opening round of Championship matches and are believed to be willing to pay more than £1million for the Scotland international.Sources in the north east say Boro manager Tony Mowbray has been an admirer of McCormack’s since the 26-year-old’s spell at Cardiff City but the Teesside club might struggle to raise their initial offer further with a number of other transfer deals on-going, one of them poised to take winger Albert Adomah to The Riverside from Bristol City.McDermott did not discuss McCormack specifically but said all bids for his players had been rejected by Leeds and claimed the offers were “wrong for us” and “wrong for the players”.“We’ve had a couple of bids for players which we’ve rejected,” McDermott said. Asked if any of the offers had come from Blackpool, McDermott said: “Yes but I’m not interested. It would be wrong for us in my opinion. Wrong for the players too.”McDermott’s attempts to bring new faces to Elland Road before the end of the summer transfer window will be dictated by outgoing moves from Leeds, with the United boss under pressure to make cuts to his wage bill before completing further signings.His protracted pursuit of a proposed fourth recruit has been on-going for more than a month and McDermott admitted that he would be forced to abandon the move in the near future if he failed to make progress.McDermott, who has been heavily linked with Bolton Wanderers centre-back Matt Mills, said: “The player I was trying to sign is becoming very difficult. It’s getting to the point where I’ll have to leave it behind. It can’t go on forever.”The Leeds manager, however, paid tribute to club owner GFH Capital after Elland Road saw its biggest league crowd for more than three years at Saturday’s 2-1 win over Brighton. Speaking ahead of tonight’s Capital One Cup first-round tie against Chesterfield, McDermott said: “They (United’s board) have done a lot of good things, especially in the last month – and especially in trying to bring the fans back.“But someone said to me the other night ‘the thing I like about you is that you’re honest in what you say’ and if you’re honest, the fans will accept that.“Tell the fans the truth and they’ll deal with the truth.“They can’t deal with things that aren’t true or half-truths or innuendos. Say it how it is.“Sometimes it won’t be what the supporters want to hear but they’ll deal with what they know is the truth and they’ll back you because of it.” McCormack has stopped from today commenting on twitter which could be either worrying or club policy. If it’s the former to generate funds it’s a mistake. He should be filed under “can’t afford to lose”.

Sat August 3rd. Super start for new era at Leeds. Leeds United 2-1 Brighton Attd: 33,43 Leeds: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Warnock (Drury 80), Tonge, Green, Murphy, Hunt (Poleon 67), McCormack, Varney (Smith 82).Summer signing Luke Murphy scored a debut goal for Leeds as they came back to beat Brighton 2-1 in the Championship at Elland Road.The 23-year-old midfielder joined United from Crewe last month and his eight-figure fee – the first time the club have paid such an amount for a player since they signed Richard Cresswell in 2005 – has installed him as a beacon of hope to Leeds’ fans.On a day which saw them celebrate the start of an advertised new era following the summer ousting of controversial former chairman Ken Bates, it was perhaps fitting for them that Murphy should make a late run into the box and down last season’s play-off semi-finalists.Prior to Murphy’s intervention a draw was on the cards, with Ross McCormack having cancelled out Leonardo Ulloa’s opener for a Brighton side coming to terms with changes of their own, with manager Oscar Garcia having replaced Gus Poyet over the summer.Leeds had not appeared so sure-footed early on, however, and it was Brighton who made the first impression as Andrea Orlandi forced Kenny into action from 25 yards.The early stages certainly gave a nod to Garcia’s philosophy – Brighton were happy to roll the ball around – and with 13 minutes gone it bore fruit as Ulloa haunted Leeds again.The ex-Almeria man booked Brighton’s play-off place with a last-minute winner against Leeds in April and was on the spot again today, nipping ahead of Tom Lees to tuck an Andrew Crofts cross under Kenny’s body.Ulloa’s strike briefly took the sting out of the atmosphere, but within five minutes Leeds were level.Michael Tonge dug out a cross from wide on the right, and when Luke Varney’s flick fell to McCormack, the Scotland international did the rest from just inside the box.Brighton had been largely contained since their goal at that point, but suddenly reintroduced themselves to the game at the three-quarter mark with only Kenny stopping them from regaining the lead.Substitute Will Buckley cut in from the right and pulled back for Crofts, whose instinctive first-time shot was well saved by Kenny, but the former Republic of Ireland international had to be even better on the follow-up as he smothered an Inigo Calderon strike at his near post.Tonge was then left in a heap and appealing for a penalty as Leeds looked to regain some momentum, while substitute Poleon could have put them ahead without the need for a spot-kick had he done better when hooking a loose ball goalwards.Poleon – rated highly by McDermott – nodded a cross wide from six yards as United sought a second, which really should have arrived when Paul Green crashed over after Tomasz Kuszczak parried another Poleon shot in the 90th minute.Even then there was time for Kenny to deny Buckley with a stunning two-handed stop, before Murphy ran on to a Matt Smith flick to beat Kuszczak from six yards. Brian McDermott felt his Leeds side reaped the rewards of never saying die as Luke MuBrian McDermott felt his Leeds side reaped the rewards of never saying die as Luke Murphy saw off Brighton with a 94th-minute winner.The midfielder’s decisive strike earned a 2-1 win over last season’s beaten play-off semi-finalists, sending the majority of a sold-out Elland Road into delirium on a day which had been heralded as the first of a new era at the club. With controversial former chairman Ken Bates having been ousted over the summer, it was perhaps fitting for the home fans that their first million-pound player in eight years won the day.Bates was often accused of failing to splash the cash but former Crewe man Murphy paid off some of his fee with the goal, even if there was a hint of handball about it as he took in a Matt Smith flick.“I think it connected with his hand. Whether it was handball or not, I don’t know,” McDermott said with a knowing smile.“There was a dispute, but there was about their goal which was a yard offside. Then we get a goal with the last kick of the game and you take that on the first day of the season.“Both sides could have won no doubt but in the Championship if you try and win and keep going, you get the breaks.”The breaks McDermott referred to were Murphy’s ‘handball’ and a string of fine saves from Paddy Kenny which kept Brighton at bay.Andrew Crofts – who supplied Leonardo Ulloa’s opener – was one man denied, along with Inigo Calderon and Will Buckley.“Paddy made a match-winning save twice and when you do that, you hope you get the break at the other end,” McDermott added.“I think we deserved a break and we got one. We could have had a penalty and didn’t, their goal was offside and then we scored.”On Murphy, his solo paid-for signing since taking over, he said: “He scored a great goal at Wembley for Crewe and if you can play at that stadium, at 23 years of age, you’re ready.”The late drama gave Brighton coach Oscar Garcia a harsh welcome to English football, having swapped Maccabi Tel Aviv for Sussex over the summer.The Spaniard insisted on taking the defeat with good grace, though.“I couldn’t see it, everybody said yes, it was handball, but to be a referee is very difficult and I can understand if he did not see a handball,” he said.“It is more disappointing when we had a chance to score five minutes before.“Leeds are a physical team and more so when they play at home so we knew it would be tough. We had our chances and did not take them, so we got this result.”Unlike his often-emotional predecessor, Gus Poyet, the former Barcelona midfielder was relatively sedate throughout the game, even though his men let Ulloa’s goal mean nothing as Ross McCormack and then Murphy scored. He indicated he does have a harsher side, though, saying: “Tomorrow the players will know what I think of the performance. I am only happy when we play 100 per cent.” Murphy saw off Brighton with a 94th-minute winner.The midfielder’s decisive strike earned a 2-1 win over last season’s beaten play-off semi-finalists, sending the majority of a sold-out Elland Road into delirium on a day which had been heralded as the first of a new era at the club. With controversial former chairman Ken Bates having been ousted over the summer, it was perhaps fitting for the home fans that their first million-pound player in eight years won the day.Bates was often accused of failing to splash the cash but former Crewe man Murphy paid off some of his fee with the goal, even if there was a hint of handball about it as he took in a Matt Smith flick.“I think it connected with his hand. Whether it was handball or not, I don’t know,” McDermott said with a knowing smile.“There was a dispute, but there was about their goal which was a yard offside. Then we get a goal with the last kick of the game and you take that on the first day of the season.“Both sides could have won no doubt but in the Championship if you try and win and keep going, you get the breaks.”The breaks McDermott referred to were Murphy’s ‘handball’ and a string of fine saves from Paddy Kenny which kept Brighton at bay.Andrew Crofts – who supplied Leonardo Ulloa’s opener – was one man denied, along with Inigo Calderon and Will Buckley.“Paddy made a match-winning save twice and when you do that, you hope you get the break at the other end,” McDermott added.“I think we deserved a break and we got one. We could have had a penalty and didn’t, their goal was offside and then we scored.” On Murphy, his solo paid-for signing since taking over, he said: “He scored a great goal at Wembley for Crewe and if you can play at that stadium, at 23 years of age, you’re ready.”The late drama gave Brighton coach Oscar Garcia a harsh welcome to English football, having swapped Maccabi Tel Aviv for Sussex over the summer.The Spaniard insisted on taking the defeat with good grace, though.“I couldn’t see it, everybody said yes, it was handball, but to be a referee is very difficult and I can understand if he did not see a handball,” he said.“It is more disappointing when we had a chance to score five minutes before.“Leeds are a physical team and more so when they play at home so we knew it would be tough. We had our chances and did not take them, so we got this result.” Unlike his often-emotional predecessor, Gus Poyet, the former Barcelona midfielder was relatively sedate throughout the game, even though his men let Ulloa’s goal mean nothing as Ross McCormack and then Murphy scored. He indicated he does have a harsher side, though, saying: “Tomorrow the players will know what I think of the performance. I am only happy when we play 100 per cent.”

Aug 3rd Blackpool chase McCormack and WhiteLeeds United have knocked back a joint approach for Ross McCormack and Aidan White from Championship rivals Blackpool. Blackpool manager Paul Ince is considering his next move after an unreceptive response to a combined bid for the pair earlier this week. Ince is understood to be ready to pay more than £1million to take McCormack and White to Bloomfield Road but his enquiry was quickly dismissed by Leeds with the new Championship season looming. United are open to bids having told manager Brian McDermott to move players off their £15million wage bill before making further signings but McCormack in particular has been prominent under McDermott and is one of the squad members who the Leeds boss intends to keep. White, meanwhile, is among the few United players who can operate as a winger – an area of the team which McDermott admitted on Thursday that he is keen to strengthen – and Blackpool’s valuation of White at around £250,000 appears to have fallen short of his price tag. Blackpool are likely to persist with their interest in both players, with Blackpool assistant Alex Rae – once a team-mate of McCormack’s at Rangers – known to be a big admirer of the Scotland international. McCormack, however, reiterated his commitment to Leeds on Tuesday, telling the YEP: “I’ve said a few times that I want to stay and I’ve no intention of leaving.“The manager says he wants me to stay too so it’s just talk.”

Friday August 2nd Sitting on my balcony apartment in 38 degree heat in the early hours of Friday morning ( yeah yeh it’s a tough life) in sunny Majorca sipping a Bulmers ( it will always be Bulmers to me irrespective of any Magniers gimmicks -Clonmel is still bloody Clonmel) is it really only 36 hours until the start of the season. I like McDermott. I like his style. I like his connection with the fans and most importantly I like the fact that he understands what Leeds United FC means to the city of Leeds and how big it actually is outside of England. Throw in the facts that he is a shrewd operator at this level, gets his teams to play good football, knows how to bring quality youth through a top notch academy and is an accomplished media communicator, it is not difficult to assume we have right guy at the helm. He is everything that Neil Warnock is not. Unfortunately he has been dealt a difficult hand by his predecessor who not only under performed but left McDermott with a very unbalanced squad. We truly missed a wonderful opportunity last season where a very average Cardiff City side went up as Champions. 

So what of season 2013/14 ? To date BMac has only been permitted to bring in three players : Smith, Murphy and Hunt with the the latter having been funded by Steve Morison’s season long loan spell to Millwall. Warnock was afforded far more freedom. From here on in its a case of one out and one in. As we progress further into August, teams will panic and need to strengthen their squads,  although where players like Brown, Tonge, Norris, Hall, Drury, and Pearce to name just a few will feature in McDermott’s plans are unlikely but may be prohibitive to other Championship sides as some are known to be on £12,000 per week contracts. McDermott is at least three quality players short of a real promotion push. QPR could go out today and purchase Charlie Austin, a player well capable of scoring 25 to 30 goals in this league with the right service.  
Looking at the quality that McDermott has to work with there are Grade A, B and C players in the Leeds team. This is my opinion. As John Gill (exDundalk FC manager) said one day : ‘Opinions are like arses. Everyone has one ‘. And he should know because he had one and was one. In the A Grade we have Sam Byram, Tom Lees, Ross McCormack. In the B Grade we have Kenny, Peltier (although a lot to prove ), Warnock, White, Diouf, Hunt, Murphy (unproven) Varney (on his day only eg v Spurs and v Sheffield Weds last season and so far in pre-season) Poleon (pace) and Smith(height and impact) come in here also as raw nuggets, Green,Austin, C Grade are Brown, Drury (age and down pecking order) Pugh, Norris, Hall, Tonge, and Pearce.
Then we have the peripheral players like Zac Thompson, Charlie Taylor, Ross Kilcock, Chris Dawson, Simon Lenighan etc some whom may go out on loan or some may make an impact unexpectedly.
As it stands our first 11 may be as follows (when all fit ) Kenny Byram Warnock Peltier and Lees both centre backs left midfield White right midfield Green Centre Murphy and Austin with McCormack and Varney/Hunt as strikers with Smith as the impact substitute. I don’t think that side nor more importantly squad is strong enough to get promoted. McDermott knows that also. He needs to move players on, and may have to sacrifice some of his better ones to do so . I don’t see Diouf as a player to start in most games as McDermott favours a quick tempo to his play. We lack width. A lot depends on how Aidy White and to a lesser extent Ryan Hall grab their opportunities. They have pace and can play out wide.
We have a tricky few opening games and I must confess I would have liked to have had seen Matt Mills signed up at this stage. With him at centre half, Peltier at Right full we could have utilised Sam Byram’s talents better further up the park. He is too good for right back although to be fair he may miss the start of the season. One thing for sure, the new manager needs to be given time to bed his team in. Hopefully we can get a couple of new additions in before the end of the month. I know he is not a big fan of the loan system but if used properly there is success to be had. Look how Watford and Palace were so successful with it last season. This league s ultra competitive. Teams coming down find it hard to adjust even with the parachute payments but its hard to see past QPR especially with the quality they have, and adding Richard Dunne and Charlie Austin makes them a whole lot stronger. If we are in and around the play offs at Christmas and find that few quid for January who’s to say Uncle Sylvester can’t pull off another unlikely coup ? MOT Gerry C

Aug1st. Taken from The Yorkshire Evening Post (another cracking article) The  past is the past. So say the banners which began appearing in Leeds a fortnight ago. An optimistic message or two fingers up at the old regime? Either way, Leeds United are actively attempting to leave behind many years of disillusionment. The grinding noise at Elland Road this summer was the sound of the club shifting into reverse gear and backing out of the policies, attitudes and idiosyncrasies which defined the days before GFH Capital monopolised the boardroom. Personnel, ticket prices, the contentious matter of radio rights; United’s owner has played to the crowd and met them halfway on virtually everything. It is democracy in action after so many years of totalitarian rule. Or so it seems.

GFH Capital spent enough time buying Leeds to appreciate the many gripes surrounding the club it inherited – too many gripes to list. Season ticket costs were cut and 12,000 have sold, a marginal increase on last season but an increase still. Matchday prices froze and the introduction of concessions for students and young adults reconciled the oft-neglected next generation. Declaring Brighton on Saturday as a Category C fixture, meanwhile, must have caused palpitations in Monaco. Category C was for traditionally a once-a-year treat – like romance on your birthday, only saved for a frosty night in February.

GFH Capital has gone further still. Last month it resolved another historic complaint by returning matchday commentary rights to BBC Radio Leeds, a three-year contract for which the BBC is understood to have paid a six-figure sum. A club shop of sorts will open in Leeds city centre for a month tomorrow, six years after United closed the doors of a store on Albion Street. The 21st century has been an insular and isolated period for Leeds. Active marketing in their own backyard was the biggest open goal going.

United’s owner has converted several of those since December, not least by removing from influential positions the people most associated with the man they bought out. Ken Bates stepped down as chairman on June 30 and was ousted as president last week. Shaun Harvey, his loyal chief executive, went with him. Technical director Gwyn Williams departed with the bath water. The less partisan among us stepped back and asked where knowledge of English football’s rules, regulations and machinations would come from among a board of Salah Nooruddin, David Haigh, Hisham Alrayes and Salem Patel but the recent appointment of Paul Hunt as acting CEO – an ex-employee of Leicester City, Wigan Athletic and the circus that is Blackburn Rovers – provides some necessary expertise. Hunt will earn his money again.

Because behind all of this is the football. And here you wonder. Increasing United’s presence and appeal has been GFH Capital’s strength but transforming the squad who threatened to leave the company with a League One club last season has not. Leeds have had their moments – specifically the £1million signing of Luke Murphy which caused as much surprise across the Championship as it did locally – but their manager, Brian McDermott, is being short-changed. Neil Warnock thought he had it bad last summer, a period in which he signed 11 players. McDermott to date has signed three, half the number he asked for when last season finished.

Nothing – not bravado, PR or promises of support – speaks louder about a club’s financial state than the way it operates in the transfer market. There is patently no money at Elland Road, or not enough to allow McDermott to do his thing without first worrying about a swollen wage bill; balancing the books, as the saying goes.

Since the arrival of Noel Hunt on a free transfer on July 3, McDermott has been under pressure to reduce the size of the squad left to him by Warnock. The “fourth signing” he spoke about after United’s pre-season friendly at Farsley – three-and-a-half weeks ago now – has been at the mercy of outgoing deals. In a similar situation last month, McDermott forced the issue by persuading his board to find the money needed to sign Murphy from Crewe Alexandra but his demeanour and comments over the past 10 days suggests that Leeds will not bend again. One out, one in is United’s policy – with a squad who, Steve Morison aside, have failed to attract a serious approach all summer.

The situation reflects poorly on GFH Capital, though the company would make two arguments – firstly that it is an investment bank, seeking investors for United. And secondly, that it’s strategy is designed for the medium term. You might laugh at that when you recall the negotiations that took place over the sale of a majority stake to local businessman Steve Parkin but the start of July came with signs of a hardening of GFH Capital’s commitment. The idea of flipping Leeds quickly no longer seems viable. This is GFH Capital’s gamble and its responsibility, perhaps for longer than they anticipated.

Its only means of supporting McDermott adequately was through money drawn in from outside sources. United have a big turnover by Championship standards – £30million plus – but their expenditure is higher than it has been for years. Some £3.3million was used – or wasted, depending on your point of view – to pay off the loan which funded the redevelopment of Elland Road’s East Stand in 2011. That equates to 6,500 season tickets at £500 a go. There is no official figure for the current size of Leeds’s wage bill but certain people within the club suggest it is somewhere in the region of £15million. United under Bates rarely paid excessive salaries but the wages of their senior squad were not inconsiderable either. There are players on £12,000 a week with no obvious place in McDermott’s team and nowhere else to go.

McDermott is not unaccustomed to penny-pinching. Reading were held up as an aggressive, ambitious Championship club but they were not shy in selling McDermott’s better players. His most expensive signing – centre-back Kaspars Gorkss – cost less than Luke Murphy. But there is patience in Reading which does not exist in Leeds. McDermott learned that when United were roundly booed by 1,700 away fans after their pre-season defeat to Walsall on July 20. His neck is on the line here and he would doubtless prefer to risk a thousand cuts with his own squad around him.

For him and GFH Capital, decisive progress – promotion to you and me – seems destined to take time. McDermott has three years on his contract and can hardly promise to crack a resilient nut overnight. David Haigh, meanwhile, said last week that the Premier League could realistically be reached within two years. That suggests next season rather than this.

They have settled many grievances, Haigh and his colleagues, and tackled problems others would not. They have listened to popular opinion and embraced it. But in this sport and this business, owners live and die on one thing. As the Americans might say: it’s the football, stupid.