Mon Sept 30th. Boss missed out on Becchio and Gnabry. Brian McDermott has confirmed that he has made enquiries about bringing former striker Luciano Becchio back to Elland Road and Arsenal’s Serge Gnabry. The boss said when the loan window re-opened that he would only strengthen his squad by signing “the right calibre of player, who can make us better.” And he revealed that Becchio, who left the club last January after making over 200 appearances, and Arsenal youngster Gnabry, who scored their opening goal at Swansea on Saturday, were two of his targets. “You’ll always have calls for new players. That’s how it works,” said the boss. “I made an enquiry to Chris Hughton regarding Luciano Becchio and he wasn’t available. Will it change? Who knows? Things do. “I made an enquiry for a couple of young players at Arsenal as well – Gnabry who scored their first goal on Saturday was one of them. I wouldn’t think they will let him out now. “It’s a tricky situation because Premier League clubs can’t just go out and loan anyone – they want better players too if they are strengthening – so they don’t want to be left short in their own squads.”

Sunday Sept 29thth. 2013. Becchio wants return. Luciano Becchio wants to escape his Norwich nightmare by making a return to Leeds. The Argentinean hitman is also wanted by Wigan and Middlesbrough, but he has set his heart on providing the goals for misfiring Leeds. Becchio, 29, bagged 87 goals in 221 appearances for the Yorkshire outfit. He left in a £3million swap deal, which saw £1m-rated Steve Morison move to Leeds, in January’s transfer window. But the switch has not worked out for Becchio, who has played only nine games for the Canaries. Norwich are now ready to off-load him, and Leeds manager Brian McDermott said: “We need someone to grasp the nettle and take up the responsibility of scoring.”No good taking Beccho without a winger who can provide him with the service.

Sat 28th of Sept. Beaten at the Dean (again). MILLWALL 2 (Woolford 65, Malone 76), UNITED 0. United: Kenny, Peltier, Pearce, Wootton, Warnock (Green 80), Austin, Murphy, Mowatt, Tonge (Byram 69), McCormack, Varney (Smith 69). Subs. Cairns, Diouf, Hunt, Poleon. Referee: C Foy Booked: Martin (Millwall), Warnock (Leeds) Att: 13,063 (2,081). United manager Brian McDermott recalled Lee Peltier to the starting line, after recovering from injury, for the trip to Millwall. In the midfield there was a return for Luke Murphy and after an impressive display in midweek at Premier League Newcastle United Alex Mowatt was handed his first appearance in the Championship for the club. During the opening minutes it was clear to see that Brian McDermott was utilising a different attacking system. Luke Varney was playing the lone frontman with Mowatt, Ross McCormack and Michael Tonge supporting him from behind. United had a chance early on when skipper Rudy Austin latched onto a mistimed a pass in the Millwall midfield. He broke forward at pace and his shot went just wide of the left hand post. The opening 25 minutes of the clash brought very little goal mouth action with a scrappy encounter the theme. United enjoyed more of the possession playing some nice passing football without never really threatening David Forde in the home goal. Although United were playing the better football it was the home side that struck the post with the half hour mark approaching. Martyn Waghorn capitalised after a poor clearance gave him an opportunity to strike at goal but the striker could only watch his shot rebound of Paddy Kenny’s post. Great work from Varney on the right hand brought up United’s next chance of the game on 37 minutes. The striker played the ball along the edge of the penalty area for the onrushing Murphy who could only watch as his shot went agonisingly over the bar. Moments later Varney went for the spectacular but his overhead kick also went over the crossbar. United survived a penalty shot from the home support in the dying minutes of the first half when Austin chased back Scott Malone into the area. The midfielder just nicked the ball in front of the defender as Chris Foy waved the appeals away. There was still time for one final effort on the home goal in injury time. Jason Pearce got on the end of a McCormack cut-back but the defender skied his attempt over the bar while under pressure. United had a chance to take the lead just only three minutes of the second period played. Mowatt wriggled free of a number of challenges on the left hand side to cross for McCormack whose glanced effort skimmed the outside of the post. The second half looked like a mirror image of the first with the scrappy affair continuing. On 65 minutes great passing play by Millwall substitute Lee Martin allowed Martyn Woolford time in front of goal. The winger’s curling effort beat Kenny and hit the back of the net. The United manager reacted to going behind by introducing Sam Byram and Matt Smith to proceedings. Tonge and Varney were the men to leave the field for the replacements. The change in personnel meant a role up top for McCormack who joined Smith to make a two man attack. Byram went out to the right side of midfield to provide an attacking threat insteaad of his usual right back position. The changes did not have the desired effect for United, though, as the home side doubled their lead in the 76th minutes when good play left Malone free in the area, he coolly slotted the ball past Kenny to make it 2-0. United responded well to Millwall’s second of the afternoon when McCormack struck from distance but Forde managed to punch the ball away from the danger zone. Just moments later a great save from Kenny prevented the home side going even further in ahead. Then less than a minute later United were close to getting one back when good pressure from McCormack and Byram nearly brought an own goal from the home side. With seven minutes remaining brave goalkeeping from Forde kept United goalless. McCormack opened up his body well to create the space and he then played in the advancing Austin but the Millwall keeper rushed to his feet and blocked the attempt. Minutes later it was the home side on the attack on the break as United went in search of a foot hold in the game. Woolford was one-on-one with Kenny but after he chose to chip the United keeper, his attempt came back of the post. Managers’ Reacrions : Brian McDermott : “The second half went wrong – we didn’t turn up.  “We didn’t do the ugly stuff well enough in the second half so I’m very disappointed. It’s the first time that’s happened with me. “I’ve been here many times and know what to expect and you’ve got to do it for 90 minutes, not 45. “The second half came as a shock to my system. I’m bitterly disappointed with the players we’ve got, who are decent but are not at the level at this moment in time. “If you let runners go at your goal or get the wrong side of players, then that’s what happens. I’ve got no complaints about the result after the second half. “We need to turn this round as quickly as we possibly can and I have faith in the players they can do it. “If the fans see another second-half performance like we did then we’re going to have a problem. We need to keep the fans with us.” Martyn Waghorn hit the post for Millwall in the first half but Leeds had good chances which were wasted by Jason Pearce and Ross McCormack. Millwall manager Lomas said: “I’m delighted for the lads as their attitudes were great. They were a little disappointed at half-time but these types of ‘nip and tuck’ games are what the Championship is all about. “The two goals we scored were worthy of wining any game and another clean sheet is also a positive. “They were two good pass-and-moves and I think they under-rate themselves sometimes – they are good players and I believe in them. But those two goals were as good a pair of pass-and-move goals as you’re likely to see in the Championship this season. “I was delighted with the collective effort as if you don’t work hard, you get found out as a team. “Scott’s goal was great and he nearly got another one. He’s a young man but you see he has got the natural attributes to be a very good player. “I think the rivalry is great and that’s what British football is all about – passionate sets of fans coming to watch a passionate game and that little bit of quality wins the game.” For the second time in the space of four days the game was live on Sportlemon TV, and for the second tome in four days the score line was the same. Whilst it may be acceptable to lose 2-0 at Newcastle in the Carling Cup, it certainly is not acceptable to lose 2-0- at Millwall in the league. We had chances and didn’t take them but once again lacked width and penetration. An average Millwall side took theirs.  Not goood enough by a long chalk this performance.


Weds 25th of March. The Positives. There were positives aplenty for United manager Brian McDermott to take away from Wednesday’s Capital One Cup third round defeat at Newcastle United. Around 6,000 Leeds fans packed one end of St James’ Park as the Premier League side recorded a 2-0 victory to progress in the competition. “I thought we played really well in the first half,” said the boss. “There were a lot of good things that came out of the game. “It’s all about both boxes. Their first goal we should have done better and their second was a great finish, but we had opportunities. We hit the bar, and we had a definite penalty. That was disappointing. “The crowd were unbelievable. They saw us trying to play and do the right things and there was a lot to be positive about. Their support was fantastic. I said to Ross at the end we have to give them something because they deserve something. We’ll dust ourselves down and go again. “That game was never going to be easy. We gave a good account of ourselves and if we could have got that first goal, who knows what could have happened. “That effort by Ross was real class. We had other opportunities with Matt Smith and it could have been different. Like I say, I thought we should have had a penalty. Matt was bowled over. It was a certain penalty and because he’s six foot four he didn’t give it.


Cisse scores for Newcastle

Weds 25th of Sept 2013. Newcastle United 2-0 Leeds United. Brian McDermott made four changes, starting with Smith and Poleon up top, Mowatt in midfield and Warnock at left full. United went out of the League Cup (it will always be the League Cup to me) and gave a spirited performance away to Newcastle. Leeds created some terrific chances with McCormack in particular unlucky not to add to his tally. Yet again not scoring was our undoing and Newcastle scored with their first worth while attack. Matt Smith missed an easy header early in the second half and within minutes the Premier league side were two up and game over. No points were lost but McDermott will be concerned that putting the ball in the back of the net is a huge concern. He has to give serious thought to playing McCormack as a striker, the one player who was a constant threat to Newcastle all night. Aidy White is a better option at left back than Warnock and Sam Byram will have gained more valuable time under his belt in his bid to become the force he was last season. Width is still a problem but when we had a go at Newcastle we looked a decent side. We play Millwall on Saturday, who are after having two decent wins, and are a side who normally turn us over. It should be a decent test, but we need three points at the New Den.


Tues 24th of September 2013. Bentley “would jump” at move to Leeds but McDermott pours cold water on the link DAVID BENTLEY is open to the prospect of a move to Leeds United – if the club want him. The former Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal winger is on the look-out for a new club after being released by Spurs in July, with the 29-year-old having already been linked with a move to Elland Road. The free agent has been working hard with a personal trainer on his fitness since leaving White Hart Lane and is looking to reignite his career again after a few seasons in the doldrums. It is understood that a number of sides – from home and abroad – are interested in his services, including several teams from the Championship. However, sources close to the player have said that Leeds would jump to the head of that queue, if they were to make a firm offer for the former England star. They insist a switch to Leeds is something that would seriously interest Bentley, with the club more appealing than the vast majority of other second-tier teams. Following Saturday’s home defeat to Burnley, boss Brian McDermott confirmed his desire to sign a loan striker to boost his attacking options, with only two sides, struggling duo Yeovil and Bolton having scored fewer league goals than them. The other priority area is on the flanks, with United having struggled for width in games throughout the campaign, with Bentley potentially offering a tailor-made option in that department – one McDermott has previously spoken about as being deficient. Bentley is currently assessing his options before making the next move, having spent the majority of a frustrating 2012-13 season on loan at Russian side FC Rostov before linking up with his former club Blackburn Rovers on an emergency 93-day loan in February. At the start of the new year, Bentley had been linked with a reunion with former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp at QPR in the January transfer window, but saw a move fall through. Meanwhile, United may have to be patient if they firm up any move for old boy Luciano Becchio. The Argentine hit-man, who moved from the Whites to Norwich City on the final day of the transfer window in January, is down the pecking order at Carrow Road, but is in the Canaries’ squad for the Capital One Cup clash at Watford tonight. With summer signing Gary Hooper only just back in the fray following injury and awaiting his first full start and Ricky van Wolkswinkel a fitness doubt for the Hornets tie with a toe problem, as it stands, Canaries manager Chris Hughton looks likely to keep hold of Becchio, although that could quickly change. Hughton has fielded several enquiries regarding the availability of Becchio, strongly linked with a move to Middlesbrough at the end of August with the Teessiders remaining interested in the forward, who is thought to be open to a return to Leeds. Reading and Brighton have also been linked with the 29-year-old, who has failed to find the back of the net in nine games for Norwich with his sole appearance this term coming as a sub in the 6-3 League Cup win over Kevin Blackwell’s Bury last month. The Royals are also at the front of the queue to sign Southampton striker Billy Sharp with some reports suggesting his signing is imminent. United, beaten in their last two matches, are back in action in a third-round Capital One Cup clash at Newcastle United at St James’ Park on tomorrow night, with Toon skipper Fabricio Coloccini warning of a backlash following their surprise 3-2 home reverse to Hull City on Saturday. He said: “There were bad feelings after Hull – frustration, anger and everything you would expect.“But we have a game on Wednesday and we have to turn the page right now. We must look to the next game.“ Boss Alan Pardew is mulling over the prospect of changes following the disappointing weekend defeat and admits he has a lot of thinking time to ponder things before making his decision. An unlikely starter is midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who came off feeling the after-effects of a challenge from Curtis Davies at the weekend. Definitely out for the Magpies are Shola Ameobi and Stephen Taylor. On the make-up of his side tomorrow, Pardew added: “I’ve got a lot of thinking time and I’ll be using that.” Brian McDermott says he won’t be rushed into making any signings “for signings sake”. The United boss has been linked with a host of players in the media, following the opening of the loan window, but says he is constantly weighing up his options and won’t be rushed into adding any new faces to his squad. “If I’m going to bring a player it has to be one who can make a difference to us,” he said. “There’s no point in signing a player for signings sake. “I spoke to the owners and have said that to them. I won’t do that. It might have happened here in the past, but I’m not going to do that. We’re working with the players we have.“I have five strikers here, I’d like it that they catch fire and get the goals we need. Trying to find a striker that can get you the goals and one who can come here at this moment in time isn’t easy.” The boss has been heavily linked with former Arsenal, Blackburn, and Tottenham winger David Bentley, who is currently without a club. “You can’t take someone just because they are an easy deal,” said the boss. “We’ve got Ross McCormack in there and we’ve got Dioufy in there, and they are similar players. “I think David Bentley is a good player, but they’re here and in that mould and the last thing you want to do is stockpile players in the same position. That isn’t right.” A number of other players have also been linked in the media, but the manager said: “I never mention names. It’s just complete speculation (in the media). We’re always looking to improve the squad. “In (the owner’s) words he said if a player becomes available who can make the difference he will support me. We had a good conversation and I think it’s important I keep the board in touch with what I want to do.” The former England international is currently without a team following his release by Tottenham Hotspur in June. Recent reports had suggested that McDermott was keen to sign the 29-year-old on a deal until the end of the campaign, but the Leeds boss has insisted that he already has enough cover in Bentley’s position. “There is no point me bringing in a player for the sake of it. I won’t just bring players in because we can. That might have happened in the past at other clubs or here, but I’m not going to do that,” he told reporters. “David Bentley has been available for a little while and has been a good player. But we’ve got Ross McCormack and El Hadji Diouf, so you’re talking about similar sort of players. Bentley is a good player, but when you’ve got Ross and Dioufy, you’ve got players that are already in that mould. The last thing that you want to do is stockpile players in a position, it’s just not right.” Bentley’s services have also been linked with Bulgarian side Levski Sofia of late.


Bentley to Leeds ?

Monday 23rd of August. Leeds eye swoop for striker. Leeds United plan to sign a new striker before Saturday’s clash with Millwall after heeding a warning from Brian McDermott about the absence of a prolific goalscorer at Elland Road. United’s owners are understood to have promised their manager immediate funds for a high-profile loanee in the aftermath of the club’s 2-1 loss to Burnley. Leeds suffered their third league defeat of the season despite producing 22 shots on goal, prompting McDermott to voice concern about the strike-rate of a squad who have scored only seven times in eight league matches. Matt Smith’s 79th-minute header dragged Leeds back into Saturday’s game after Scott Arfield and Sam Vokes put Burnley 2-0 up in the first half but McDermott was left to rue a string of missed opportunities as a draw went begging. Leeds were watched at Elland Road by chairman Salah Nooruddin and managing director David Haigh, and Haigh is to remain in Leeds this week with United’s directors set to finance the addition of a new striker ahead of their visit to the New Den. McDermott and his board are believed to be considering several targets, the majority of them on the books of Premier League clubs. Luciano Becchio, who left Leeds for Norwich City in January, is rapidly emerging as a realistic option after failing to settle at Carrow Road and the Argentinian is thought to be interested in a return to Yorkshire on loan. McDermott could also look to target Shane Long, a player he scouted for Reading in 2005, with Long on the fringes of West Bromwich Albion’s side after the collapse of a proposed £5m transfer to Hull City last month. United, meanwhile, were yesterday linked with David Bentley, the former Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur winger who has been without a club since leaving White Hart Lane in July. Leeds would be able to sign Bentley on a permanent basis due to his status as a free agent, while emergency loan deals for under-contract players could run to a maximum of 93 days – ending shortly before the January transfer window. Speaking after the loss to Burnley, which left Leeds 13th in the Championship, McDermott said: “It’s obvious that we haven’t scored enough, especially at Elland Road.” Meanwhile, striker Smith has spoken out in defence of Leeds United’s squad after Saturday’s defeat. The forward claimed Leeds were guilty of inviting trouble during the frustrating 2-1 loss to Burnley, saying: “The first-half performance killed us.” But he refused to be despondent about a result which followed on from United’s collapse at Reading last Wednesday, insisting that Leeds were capable of “competing right at the top” of the Championship. Smith said: “We left ourselves with a big uphill battle by conceding two sloppy goals but we showed more bottle after that and towards the end of the game there was only one team who were going to do anything in front of goal. That was us. “We were unlucky not to nick a point and when my goal went in I thought we’d probably get a second. It wasn’t to be. The first-half performance killed us. “But we’re going in the right direction. We’re a very close-knit team and I certainly think that if you put our team on paper, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be competing right at the top of the table. I’m sure things will turn.” Leeds missed countless chances on Saturday and boss McDermott was also critical of their display before half-time, admitting that his team “got beat up.” Smith said: “He put his opinion across to us at half-time and said we were getting outbattled. Anyone watching would probably say that was the case. “Burnley were honest, hard working and very physical and maybe we didn’t match that which is why we came in two goals down. But we’re missing a little bit of luck as well.”

Matt Smith scores leeds first


Burnley goal

Sat Sept 21st. Leeds lose three from last four. UNITED 1 (Smith 79), BURNLEY 2 (Arfield 17, Vokes 42). United: Kenny, Byram (Green 56), Wootton, Pearce, White, Tonge, Murphy (Poleon 56), Austin, McCormack, Diouf, Varney (Smith 75). Subs. Cairns, Brown, Mowatt, Hunt. Referee: L Probert Booked: Tonge (Leeds) Jones (Burnley) Att: 26,465  Report from LUFC website. United manager Brian McDermott received a welcome boost prior to entertaining Burnley at Elland Road. Last season’s Player’s Player, Young Player and Player of the Year Sam Byram returned to fitness and was given a starting spot in defence in place of the injured Lee Peltier. Another change in the United defence was the inclusion of Aidy White for his first Championship appearance of the season replacing the suspended Stephen Warnock. The final change to Brian McDermott’s side saw El-Hadji Diouf return to the starting line-up with Noel Hunt dropping to the bench. Paddy Kenny had to be on his toes from the outset with Burnley testing United’s keeper on three separate occasions in the opening five minutes. The final effort of the three from Sam Vokes brought out a great save from the experienced shot-stopper. United began to settle after what was a fast paced opening 10 minutes to the game. The returning Diouf was heavily involved in United’s possession and held up the ball brilliantly and brought others into play. United first chance of the game came on the quarter hour-mark when a Luke Murphy cross field pass released Ross McCormack on the right hand side. The Scot cross perfectly for Luke Varney but the striker’s headed effort went over the bar. Just minutes later Burnley attacked through the advancing Kieran Trippier and his cross brought the opening goal of the tie. His cross found Scott Arfield at the back post but the danger looked to have past when Sam Byram tackled the winger but his persistance led to a strike at goal that beat Kenny in the United net. United responded well to going behind and on 22 minutes the tie was inches away from being levelled. It was Varney’s strike that caused Tom Heaton to make a great point-blank save after he turned and struck from just 10 yards out. Great play from the whole United team led to the next chance of the game. This time Varney played the role of the creator when his piercing run into the Burnley box brought the space to cross for McCormack but the striker’s headed effort went just wide of the mark. With half time approaching and it looking like the away side would go in with a one goal advantage, Vokes doubled the visitors lead. Following a controversial free-kick decision by referee Lee Probert Burnley won a throw that led to the away side’s second of the afternoon. The ball found its way through to Vokes in the United area, the striker shot, only for Kenny to save but the keeper could do nothing about the rebound that Vokes slotted home. United started the second period on the front foot as they went in search for a goal that would put them back in the game but it was Burnley that had a golden opportunity to go three up. Danny Ings found himself through on goal following a through ball, with Rudy Austin pressuring the forward he struck from distance only to be twarted by Kenny. With the hour mark approaching Brian McDermott made changes to add to United’s attacking threats. The manger introduced Paul Green and Dominic Poleon for Byram and Murphy. Green slotted into the right-back position with Poleon operating out on the right side of midfield. United’s new faces led to McCormack moving out on the left wing and the forward found himself on the end of a cross at the back post but his cross goal header went the wrong side of the post. Moments later Diouf had the chance to give United a way back into the game when his downwards header forced Heaton into a superb save as the hour mark past. With 15 minutes of the match remaining McCormack opened up the away defence and played in Poleon, his shot was saved well by Heaton and the rebound bounced away from danger. The United manager made his third and final substition moments later by introducing Matt Smith for Varney. Following Smith’s arrival United had two chances on the Burnley goal. First a clever flick from Michael Tonge was blocked and a McCormack strike from distance went just wide. On 79 minutes United were back in the contest when substitute Smith scored his first goal at Elland Road. The goal came from Diouf’s free-kick and the big striker rose highest at the back post to head home. The noise levels inside Elland Road rose as United went in search of an equaliser during the final 10 minutes. United pushed forward and were asking all the questions of the Burnley defence but they stood strong. The fourth official announced there would be six minutes of injury time as United continued to push forward and a chance fell to Austin but the midfielder could only send it over the bar. United’s pressure on the Burnley defence grew in the six minutes of injury time but they couldn’t find the break through and recorded their third defeat of the Championship season. Burnley manager Sean Dyche : “I consider us a team that is growing and improving and I want a team who can look down the tunnel and know they’re going to go hard, no matter who’s got the shirt on.“I made it clear that was a requirement as soon as I came into the football club and that hasn’t changed. The journey can take you anywhere in this division.“In the first half we were very good, we kept the ball well. It’s a tough place to come and we dealt with the feel and emotion of the place,” Dyche said. “We scored two good, effective goals and in the second half we expected a reaction. We had a brilliant chance, Paddy Kenny made a terrific save which revived them, and in the last 20, 25 minutes they got it forward and it was hard to play against. “I thought our lads stood strong and when needed, Tom Heaton made a truly awesome save.” One of Leeds’ biggest problems this season has been their lack of goals. They have scored just seven in the league this term and are still searching for an adequate replacement for Luciano Becchio who went to Norwich in January.Smith at least gave them some punch when he got off the bench to nod in an 80th-minute consolation, but around that Rodolph Austin, Ross McCormack, Dominic Poleon and Luke Varney all floundered in the box. “We need someone to grasp the nettle and take up the responsibility of scoring,” manager Brian McDermott said. “We haven’t scored enough goals, especially at Elland Road. It’s a worry because someone has to try and take that responsibility. I said to the players, the worst thing that can happen has happened. They lost. That’s it. I give them the license to make things happen. ”McDermott has had to face few on-field challenges since taking the Leeds job in September, but three defeats out of four could be viewed as one. He conceded Burnley had presented him with problems he had not faced to date, and wants his players to start showing more creativity in a bid to prevent it happening again. “We were 2-0 down and we can’t play like that. Burnley were good, credit to them, but they were soft goals for us and good ones for them. We got beat up by their strikers and that’s the first time it’s happened since I’ve been here. “The midfielders need to get on the ball more. I give them the license. We need to keep working them and drilling them.” Three defeats from four is a worry. Good to see Byram and White in the full back roles, and both are much better than Peltier and  Warnock. Our roving reporter Terry McQuaid claimed that Austin was putrid in midfield whilst Murphy was at best ineffective as Leeds didn’t do enough to get a point, and I know better than to disagree with a Monaghan man.

Friday Sept 20th. Hall to go on loan to Blades. Sheffield United were today hoping to conclude a deal to sign out-of-favour Leeds United winger Ryan Hall on loan. The League One club are understood to have approached Leeds about Hall’s availability and are looking to seal the transfer in time for their game against Preston North End tomorrow. Hall is on the fringes of Leeds’ squad having failed to made any serious impact since his a transfer from Southend United in January and he is likely to move to Sheffield on an initial month-long deal. Leeds paid £150,000 to bring Hall to Elland Road in January but he has played only four times since then and made no impression under current United manager Brian McDermott. McDermott fielded him as a substitute in the final game of last term at Watford but did not take Hall on Leeds’ summer tour of Slovenia following the birth of the winger’s child. McDermott insisted at the time that the 25-year-old could still feature in his plans, saying: “Time will tell with that but he’s part of things here. “He’ll work hard and we’ll see what happens.” But the former Crystal Palace trainee has been restricted to youth-team appearances this season and appeared to show frustration with his lack of senior involvement last week when he tweeted: “Hard work doesn’t pay off in all circumstances, trust me.” Hall, who has two years left on his contract, presented McDermott with a possible solution to an acute shortage of wingers at Elland Road but the likelihood of him moving south to Sheffield United casts further doubt on his long-term future with Leeds.


Sept 19th. READING 1 (Le Fondre 90+6), UNITED 0. United: Kenny, Lees, Wootton, Pearce, Warnock, Tonge, Austin, Murphy, McCormack, Hunt (Poleon 60), Varney (Smith 83). Subs. Cairns, White, Green, Mowatt, Diouf. Referee: N Swarbrick Booked: Gutherie, A Pearce (Reading), Warnock, Murphy (Leeds) Sent Off: Warnock (Leeds) Att: 21, 167 (3,268 Leeds). United’s seventh game of the Sky Bet Championship saw Brian McDermott return to the Madejski Stadium to face Reading. The United manager made one enforced change to his starting line-up from Saturday’s victory at Bolton Wanderers by replacing injured right-back Lee Peltier with Tom Lees. With only three minutes gone after the kick off there was a lengthy stoppage for Reading’s Jem Karacan. Nigel Atkins was forced to withdraw the midfielder, who left the field on a stretcher, and he replaced Karacan with Hope Akpan. Follow the stoppage for Jaracan to recieve medical attention it was United that had the first chance of the match through the onrushing Lees. Luke Varney worked the angle on the left side of the penalty area and his cross evaded everyone, but Lees arrived late at the box post but he miss timed his strike. Moments later the home side brought Paddy Kenny into action when he saved well from a shot from distance from Danny Williams. Midway through the half it was Reading that threatened once again when Hal Robson-Kanu found himslef in space in the United area but his shot was straight into the arms of Kenny. On the half-hour mark United midfielder Rudy Austin was close to claiming the opening goal of the evening. Austin battled his way through three Reading players while holding onto the ball, he then struck from just outside the area only to see his strike narrowly miss out and hit the goal stanchion. The chance of the half fell to the home side on 40 minutes, following a foul by Jason Pearce. Danny Gutherie took the dead ball and Sean Morrison connected and his headed effort just just over the bar. Just minutes later the home side had another free-kick from the same spot and ended with an identical outcome. This time Royston Drenthe was the supplier but Morrison was on the end of it and once again his headed attempt went over Kenny’s bar. Four minutes was shown by the fourth official at the end of the first half due to the early injury to Karacan but with no real goalscoring opportunities the open period ended goalless. The second period began as the first ended. Morrison once again found himself on the end of a cross only for him to head the ball over the bar for the third successive time. United started the second half positively and created dangerous openings in the opening 10 minutes but good blocking and defending from the home kept United at bay. On the hour-mark United manager Brian McDermott introduced Dominic Poleon to proceedings, in place of former Reading striker Noel Hunt. Ross McCormack had a great chance to give United the advantage on 65 minutes when he was in space on the edge of the penalty area. The ball found its way through to McCormack after persistant work from Poleon. McCormack worked the space to strike at goal but the forwards shot went just over the crossbar. With 10 minutes of the game remaining there was a chance at both ends. Varney had the first chance for United when he met a McCormack free-kick but his header went just over. Then moments later Akpan struck from distance but Kenny saved well down to his right side. Chances were at a premium in the final 10 minutes of the 90, with a battle in the midfield for possession taking place before the fourth official announced there would be four minutes of injury time. Injury time was similar to the 10 minutes that preceeded until the final minute of the four when United almost nicked it at the last. The chance was created by a McCormack free-kick with Jason Pearce meeting the ball at the back post but he could only turn it wide of the mark. With the four minutes of injury gone the game turned in the favour of the home side. Firstly Stephen Warnock saw red for a second yellow card of the game and with six minutes of injury time played the home side struck a deadly blow and sent United to defeat. From the resulting free-kick that Warnock was given his marching orders for Adam Le Fondre connected and finished with a precise header to hand United their first away defeat. Weds Sept 20th. United manager Brian McDermott spoke of his disappointment after Wednesday’s late, late defeat at Reading. Adam Le Fondre scored the only goal of the game – six minutes into stoppage time – after Stephen Warnock had been sent-off for a second yellow card. It was a cruel ending from a game that looked destined to end in a 0-0 draw. “I felt gutted,” said the boss. “It was a draw for definite and maybe a game we could have won. “We had an opportunity ourselves just before their goal and if that goes in, we’ve won the game. Where the extra 2 minutes of stoppage time came from I don’t know, but they did, and this happens. “We shouldn’t have given away the free-kick, Stephen put his hands up straight away and apologised, and we should have defended the free-kick better. “I was gutted for the fans. They were tremendous and didn’t deserve that right at the very end.” It was the manager’s first return to the club where he lost his job earlier this year, and the evening had started on the wrong foot when the team were delayed in traffic and didn’t arrive until 45 minutes before kick-off, but the boss was pragmatic in defeat. “It was difficult,” said the boss. “We were late getting here, but I wanted to come and win the game. We spoke at half-time about getting on the ball more, and we did. We created more and I felt we could win it 1-0 and at worst get a draw, but you take these things on the chin. “One result like that doesn’t change what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to evolve as a group. It won’t shape our season. You can wallow for as long as you like. They’ll be pleased with themselves, we’re disappointed, but we’ll get on.”


Sat Sept 14th  BOLTON 0, (Varney 6 Leeds United 1: Kenny, Peltier (Lees 53), Wootton, Pearce, Warnock, Tonge, Murphy, Austin, McCormack, Varney, Hunt. Subs. Cairns, Mowatt, Green, Diouf, Smith, Poleon. Referee: A D’Urso Bookings: Mills, Spearing (Bolton) Report from LUFC. United manager Brian McDermott made one change to his team for the trip to Bolton Wanderers with the inclusion of Michael Tonge in the starting line-up. Tonge replaced Paul Green in midfield diamond. There was also a place for Alex Mowatt on the United bench after impressive displays for the Development Squad. United’s travelling support were in good voice during the opening minutes and their support was rewarded within six minutes of the kick off. United gained a corner after good work from Noel Hunt and Jason Pearce. Luke Murphy took the corner and the midfielder’s cross was perfect for Luke Varney’s glancing header to beat Adam Bogdan in the Bolton net to make it 1-0. Varney’s early goal silenced the home support inside the Reebok. The unrest was reflected on the pitch with a home side that looked low in confidence while still searching for their first Championship win. The opening 25 minutes of the half brought very little goal-mouth action but United were the side commanding the lions share of possession and controlled the game. On the half-hour mark the home side created their first meaningful chance of the contest. After good hold up play from David Ngog in the United area, the striker played the ball into the path of Darren Pratley but the midfielder’s shot went wide of the mark. The home side began to come into the game as the half drew towards its conclusion but it was United that were close to doubling their advantaage. United striker Hunt pressured Zak Knight following a clearance forward. After a show of strength the possession was with the Irishman who played the ball into the path of the advancing Ross McCormack, who held the ball up. He returned the favour and set-up Hunt who’s effort on goal went just wide of the post. The final action of the opening 45 minutes saw Varney come close to giving United a two goal lead before the interval. McCormack found himself on the ball after a mix-up in the Bolton midfield and his pass set-up the onrushing Varney. United’s goalscorer’s strike from just outside the penalty area curled towards the back post, the keeper was beaten but skimmed the outside of the post and went harmlessly behind for a goal kick. Early into the second half United were dealt a blow when Lee Peltier was forced to be withdrawn from proceedings. United manager Brian McDermott called on the services on Tom Lees with the defender filling in at right-back. Just as in the first half, the home support were showing their frustrations. That frustration was also shown by the home players with early bookings to Matt Mills and Jay Spearing. Former United striker Jermaine Beckford was introduced to proceedings on the hour mark.  With 20 minutes remaining the game sparked into life. First, great work from Varney almost brought his second goal of the game but a good save from Bogdan twarted the striker. Then, with the the introduction of Robert Hall, the home side attacked. The winger’s skill created the move that ended with Beckford shooting. The former United’s man near post strike was blocked by Jason Pearce with the resulting corner not bringing any danger. Moments later United were awarded a free-kick to the right of the Bolton penalty area. The resulting free-kick was close to giving United the upper-hand through an unlikely outcome, when, Tim Ream in the home defence almost turned the ball into his own net. With 10 minutes remaining United were once again on the attack. United substitute Lees crossed for Luke Murphy but he could only convert his headed attempt over the bar. Murphy again tried his luck when he shot just one minute later but the effort when over the crossbar. The home side threatened the United goal when Beckford and Ngog combined in the area, but the resulting shot from Ngog went just wide with five minutes remaining. Pressure on the United goal became more frequent in the final minutes with Ngog twice threatening Paddy Kenny with strikes from distance. Five minutes of injury time was added on by the fourth official as United looked to hang on to Varney’s sixth minute goal. With three of the five added minutes gone Bolton came closest to drawing the tie when Pratley struck the post. Pratley’s effort against the post proved to be final action of the match and Varney’s sixth minute goal secured victory at the Reebok.  Speaking after the game, McDermott said,‘To come away and win 1-0 at Bolton is a great result. ‘We’re trying to get a group together that’s difficult to play against but also we’re trying to get a group that can control games better with the ball. ‘We’ve been working at our set plays because they’ve been really important to us and it was a great delivery and a really good header from Luke (Varney).’ Talking about Paddy Kenny he had this to say : “ I really hope the next Ireland manager takes a good look at Paddy. He has been brilliant for us and in the last minue made a fantastic save after not having a lot to do, plus his distribution is superb”.


Sept 12th. Brian McDermott rules himself out of Irish job. Brian McDermott has committed himself to Leeds United despite being a main contender for the vacant Republic of Ireland managerial post. The United boss was second favourite for the post, following Giovanni Trapattoni’s departure in the wake of Ireland’s 1-0 defeat in Austria on Tuesday, and FAI chief John Delaney named him publicly as “a contender” for the post. The boss says he is proud to have been linked with the post and admits he would love to manage the Republic of Ireland one day – but he reaffirmed his commitment to his post at Leeds United. “My reaction was immense pride,” said the boss. “I was looking at the Sky Bet odds last night and Martin O’Neill was top and I was second, and if you consider I have been a manager at this level for four and a bit years to see that gave me nothing but pride. It must mean I’m doing something right which is good. “Everybody knows what I feel about Ireland, my family, my history, and how important it is to me. “My situation is that one day I want to manage the Republic of Ireland, but at this moment in time I’m at a fantastic football club. I’ve kind of been adopted here and I feel I owe this club and these supporters, and that’s really important to me. I’m committed. 100 per cent. “I would regard Leeds United as a very big club. Now, some big clubs spend very big money and if you look at the clubs in the Premier League, they spend £50m on transfers. We can’t do that but we can find a way to make us successful. “What’s important to me is that one day we become successful at Leeds United and one day if I ever get the opportunity, and it’s been something of a privilege this past day or so seeing my name linked, that (Ireland manager) would be a job I really want to do, but at this moment I won’t be leaving Leeds United for anyone. In years to come if Leeds United get fed up of me that might be the case, and if I ever get that opportunity then I would love to take it. “I want to be successful at Leeds United. These fans deserve it. We’ve got 5,000 going to Bolton on Saturday. When I go to Dublin there’s so many Leeds United you just cannot believe it, and if you ask them if they wanted their manager to leave to go to the Republic of Ireland I’m not sure what their answer would be. “If I can be successful with Leeds…and it’s not an overnight thing, there’s no quick fix. I think what we’ve had over the years have been constant quick fixes, different managers, and it’s a time now in my opinion for stability to try and move the club forward and build it slowly. “We’re not where we want to be yet, but we have fantastic spirit in our dressing room and we have fantastic spirit among the fans and the staff. There’s such a good feeling. There’s a unity, and that’s so important whatever the results. But the most important thing is results and that’s what we’re trying to get.”


Dundalk v Drogheda United - Airtricity League Premier Division

Sept 11th. Marty Shields RIP. The funeral took place today of a true gentleman from tip to toe. Marty Shields was a Dundalk and Leeds United fanatic. Known for his humour, gentle nature and kindness, Marty was well known and highly regarded around the Town. He missed just one Dundalk home and away game in 45 years, and all the mourners were asked to attend the funeral in the black and white of Dundalk FC or the white/blue or yellow of Leeds United. Marty wasn’t a member of our supporters club and never managed to get to Elland Road but when not wearing a Dundalk FC shirt, he was wearing a Leeds United shirt. He would have travelled with us to the Shelbourne games often with his brother, James, especially in the early years. Sadly, Marty passed away of a heart attack in the early hours of Sunday morning at the age of 51and was a good friend to many of us, just hours before his beloved Dundalk defeated Drogheda to go level at the top of the LOI. His daughter Glenda lead the teams on to the pitch before the match. Many, many hundreds attended his his funeral and “Marching on together” was played when he was laid to rest in St Patrick’s cemetery. RIP Marty. One of the good ones and one I was proud to call a friend  !

Sept 4th. Deadline day “obscene” – McDermott – YEP. Leeds United manager Brian McDermott explains why he will never be panicked into rash buys. Leon Wobschall reports.

For a considered, methodical, sensible manager like Brian McDermott, throwing money around with abandon on a manic Monday transfer deadline day is something that just would never sit easy with him.

Panic measures and impulsive transfer decisions have never been the Leeds United chief’s way throughout his management career, especially when negotiating the minefield that is the final day of the summer and winter transfer windows – when premiums on players can be high and value is often short.

Ahead of the deadline, McDermott may have been keen on landing a wing recruit to boost his attacking options – he still is. But every player has his value and paying what he considers to be over the odds, especially given that his transfer pot is not exactly brimming over at Leeds, was never likely to be his way.

United inquired about the availability of an experienced winger, believed to be Birmingham City’s Chris Burke, on Monday, but the asking price of £600,000 was deemed too prohibitive – with age and the fact the player could leave his club for nothing next summer being key factors.

Mindful that the emergency loan window opens on Sunday and lasts until November 25, the hullabaloo surrounding the race against the clock for clubs to bring in new signings before the door slammed shut at 11pm on Monday hardly seemed worth the hype, particularly for Championship clubs.

Diving in, for second-tier clubs at any rate, on deadline day can come with risks and with Premier League managers now finalising their 25-man squads after the completion of their incoming summer business, options could be just around the corner for patient Championship managers, a number of whom kept their powder dry on Monday like McDermott.

In contrast, many top-flight managers made last throws of dice with a certain amount of panic to push deals through.

McDermott said: “I watched people panicking around, making rash decisions. We spoke about things, but nobody went out and nobody came in. But the loan window soon opens again and we still have that option. We signed Scott Wootton and it was really important to get Ross McCormack’s deal done. That was big – as was Sam Byram coming back playing.

“We have to be very careful at this time of the season not to be rash. You can pay for that in the long term if you are.

“We’re trying to build something here. There’s been enough quick fixes.

“You have to respect the club’s money. They (owners) don’t know me well. But what I do and this is what anyone at Reading will tell you – probably to my detriment in a way – is that I completely and utterly respect the club’s money as far as being a manager is concerned.”

On Monday’s enquiry, he said: “I said to the owners that even if you were going to do it, it won’t be my advice to do a £600,000 deal for a 30-year-old at this level. That’s how people get in trouble.

“It’s got to make sense and be financially right as well as the right player. In eight months’ time, he’ll be a free transfer.”

McDermott said: “We made an enquiry for a wide player who is 30 (sic) years of age and they wanted 600 grand for him. It didn’t make sense to me.

“It’s got to make sense and be financially right as well as the right player. In eight months’ time, he’ll be a free transfer.”

On the outgoing front, a proposed loan deal for a United player – thought to be Aidan White – to move to Barnsley fell through on Monday.

McDermott added: “We had a deal for a player to go out on loan. He didn’t want to go and that’s fair enough, no problem. I had no problem with that as he wants to fight for his place; he’s been here a long time.”

Top-flight clubs spent around £140m on deadline day compared to £110m on the same day last year, with the late shopping spree taking the total splashed out in the summer transfer window to £630m – smashing the previous record of £500m in 2008.

Sky Sports viewers may have lapped up the late-night entertainment on TV, with the ubiquitous Jim White at the heart of it, but for McDermott, his real concern was with the exorbitant amount of money shelled out which he labelled as ‘obscene.’

On the deadline-day frenzy, he said: “It’s complete hype and the emergency window opens (for Championship clubs) soon if you want to do a deal. What happened on Monday was obscene. If you look at the money some clubs spent when some people probably cannot afford to go to a game, it’s absolutely obscene.

“There isn’t the money around in this league like there was. There is in the Premiership for everyone to see. I never thought I’d see the day when Arsenal would spend £42-million quid on a player, I just think that’s incredible.”

Anyone who cared to avoid all the hype and headed to Elland Road on Monday evening to watch United’s young development squad, including emerging home-grown talents such as Alex Mowatt and one who has already made the big breakthrough in Sam Byram, in action was probably afforded a heartening contrast to the feverish transfer ballyhoo.

United may not have made any additions on Monday, but the sight of Byram coming through his latest fitness examination in playing 65 minutes in the 2-1 win over Derby County, ensured the day finished on a real positive.

Given future Financial Fair Play regulations, nurturing your own players as opposed to just bringing them in has never assumed higher importance, which all at Leeds are aware of.

McDermott said: “Sam looks like he came through well and we’re pleased. He made the second goal and we’re absolutely delighted. We’re just crossing our fingers.

“If we can get Sam Byram back, how much would a Sam Byram cost you? We can look at that as a bonus as well, along with Alex Mowatt and Chris Dawson as these young lads are coming through.

“From from my point of view, you have to respect your own and the people at your football club. Because you want your own to come through as well. You have to try and give them chances.

“We’ve got some good young players coming through and that’s what we want and what Leeds have been renowned for over the years.

“It’s finding the right young players to come in and join the group.”

Sept 1st. Deadline day has come and gone without any new additions, but Sam Byram came through 65 minutes unscathed of the U21s match vs Derby in another of his come back matches. This will be like a new signing for us.