Sat Feb 28th. Leeds 2 (Sharp 6, Austin 19), WATFORD 3 (Deeney 39, Vydra 56, 80). nited: Silvestri, Wootton, Cooper, Bamba, C Taylor, Murphy, Austin (Adryan 73), Cook, Mowatt (Antenucci 84), Byram (Cani 90), Sharp. Subs. S Taylor, Berardi, Sloth, Walters. Referee: A Haines Booked: Cook (United), Watson, Abdi (Watford) Att: 24,705 (1,231 Watford) Report from LUFC website

Neil Redfearn made two changes for the Championship clash with Watford as Sam Byram returned from injury to replace Casper Sloth on the right wing, while Billy Sharp returned up front in place of the injured Steve Morison.

And the decision to recall Sharp to the starting line-up soon paid dividends as the striker opened the scoring from close-range after just six minutes to make it a dream start for United. Ikechi Anya’s backwards header caught goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes off-guard and Sharp seized upon the defensive confusion to hammer home his fourth goal of the season.

United were good value for the lead, too, as Redfearn’s side dominated possession inside the early stages. Craig Cathcart saw a deflected header fly wide for the visitors but it was largely one-way traffic as Lewis Cook drilled a low strike into the arms of Gomes moments before the advantage was doubled.

Picking the ball up around 25 yards from goal, Rodolph Austin spotted Gomes slightly off his line after plucking the ball from the air to unleash an unstoppable half-volley over the former Tottenham goalkeeper’s head and into the top corner on 19 minutes.

Redfearn continued to urge his side forward, with Scott Wootton and Sharp both just finding themselves crowded out in front of goal after flowing United moves, while Marco Silvestri was called into action for the first time on the half-hour mark to keep out Juan Carlos Paredes’ low effort with his legs before gratefully clutching the rebound.

But the visitors, who looked at their most dangerous on the break, did manage to get behind the home defence after 39 minutes as Troy Deeney raced free to calmly slot into Silvestri’s bottom right hand corner.

Deeney fired over moments later, signalling a strong end to the first half for Watford as the United defence was forced into some stern rearguard action. Sol Bamba and Charlie Taylor both put in crucial blocks, while Ben Watson spurned their best opening, skewing high and wide as the 2-1 lead remained intact at the break.

The sides re-emerged for the second half unchanged and it was United who started on the front foot, forcing Gomes into action within seconds of the restart. Sharp selflessly played the marauding Austin through on goal, only to see his strike blocked by the Watford stopper before the rebound was hacked clear off the line.

Sharp was then unable to get the desired connection on a low cross into the area and Luke Murphy curled wide from the edge of the box in an encouraging start to the second period, but Watford soon drew level following an incisive breakaway as Matej Vydra guided in Deeney’s low cross from inside the six-yard box.

The Hornets were visibly buoyed after pulling themselves level and Silvestri needed to be at his sharpest to beat away Vydra’s strike with a strong, two-handed save as the United goal came under some serious pressure. Anya drilled across the face of goal but was unable to pick out a yellow shirt before Almen Abdi worked his way into the area to fire inches wide of Silvestri’s post.

The game was starting to open up and, shortly after Mowatt had curled into the arms of Gomes, Redfearn was prompted into his first substitution of the afternoon, replacing the tireless Austin with Adryan for the Brazilian’s first league appearance of 2015.

Mowatt then smashed wide from range as United went in search of a third goal to re-take the lead. But it was Watford, again following a swift counter-attack, who grabbed the fifth of the afternoon through Vydra’s second.

And Deeney was again the architect as his through ball sent his strike partner hurtling through on goal. Silvestri kept out the initial effort but Vydra was first to seize upon the rebound and stab his side ahead for the first time.

Mirco Antenucci and Edgar Cani were introduced as United probed for an equaliser inside the five added minutes of stoppage time, but Watford saw out the late pressure to inflict defeat upon Redfearn’s

Sat 21st of February M’boro 0-1 Leeds United Leeds: Silvestri, Wootton, Bamba, Bellusci (Cooper 90), C Taylor, Byram, Austin, Murphy, Cook, Mowatt, Morison. Substitutes not used: S Taylor, Berardi, Sloth, Sharp, Cani, Antenucci. Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands). Attendance: 25,531 (2,690 Leeds fans). Report from YP AN EARLY strike from Alex Mowatt secured a remarkable smash-and-grab victory for Leeds United, who withstood everything that promotion-chasing Middlesbrough could throw at them to claim a famous 1-0 win. Mowatt was on hand to fire home just three minutes into a pulsating content, with Leeds somehow managing to hold onto that advantage for the rest of the encounter and claim their first double over Boro since 1989-90. Some truly heroic defending continually denied Boro, unbeaten in their previous 12 home matches and seeking a sixth successive Riverside success. When the back four was breached, Boro found a competent last line of defence in Marco Silvestri, who thwarted the hosts’ at several key junctures. Mowatt’s sixth goal of the campaign helped Leeds become the first side to triumph at the Riverside since Reading won by an identical single-goal margin on August 30. The win also extended Leeds’ excellent sequence at the Riverside, where they have now been beaten just once in 13 matches at the north-east venue. The win was Leeds’ fifth in six outings, with Neil Redfearn’s side having travelled the equivalent of a million miles in a footballing sense since their previous visit to a promotion-chaser in Derby County on a bleak end to 2014 on December 30. Leeds’ resolution, so lacking at Derby, was immense, although on another day, Boro could have been easily celebrating victory with nothing quite falling their way. But credit was due to the battling qualities of Leeds, who look a side transformed this calendar year, which has since them claim noteworthy doubles over the top two of Bournemouth and now Boro. The work ethic throughout the Leeds line-up was magnificent and while luck went their way on a few occasions, they certainly earned it. The tone was set in a first-half in which Boro laid siege on goal at times, but United’s lead remained intact, thanks to a combination of some stoic last-ditch defending, impressive saves from Silvestri and some profligate finishing from the hosts. While the majority of the play was in the Leeds half, with Boro posting all manner of efforts of goal, Leeds could have taken in a two-goal lead, with Sol Bamba spurning a great chance to put them 2-0 ahead moments before the break following Luke Murphy’s corner. United, unchanged from the side who beat Millwall seven days earlier, were afforded the perfect start with a third-minute opener to rock the majority of the Riverside Stadium. Tidy build-up on the right saw Cook burst forward and his intelligent cut-back was seized upon in a flash by Alex Mowatt, whose low shot whistled past Tomas Mejias, with the home keeper barely having time to react. It ensured Boro experienced the rare sensation of being behind on home soil for the first time since way back on August 30, but their reaction was swift. A smart free-kick from skipper Grant Leadbitter saw found Jelle Vossen, playing just behind lone forward Kike, but his fresh-air shot when well placed summed up a frustrating half for the Belgian and table-topping Boro. Bamba had to be alert to deny Kike before the Spaniard soon saw his effort blocked by Silvestri after being played in by Albert Adomah. Leeds possessed poise on the break in Cook, with Rudy Austin’s energetic thrusts also hinting at danger, but it was a half when the visitors sought largely to protect their precious gains. Silvestri was forced to show his mettle again on 19 minutes when he turned away a well-struck near-post volley from Vossen after good play on the right by Emilio Nsue. Boro soon went desperately close to a leveller, when Adam Reach’s cross-shot found Vossen, who couldn’t get a telling connection to divert the ball into the net, with Giuseppe Bellusci clearing in the nick of time. Some of Boro’s build-up was of surgical precision, but Leeds survived the onslaught just about. Leadbitter fired wide after more neat build-up before Kike’s shot on the turn was tipped over adeptly by Silvestri, who earned his corn during the first half. At the other end, a good move involving Cook and Sam Byram found Steve Morison free down the left, but his cut-back couldn’t be dispatched by a visiting player before play switched back to the Leeds half. A strike from ex-United midfielder Adam Clayton was then turned away before the half ended with a great chance to Leeds when Bamba headed wide in splendid isolation following Murphy’s corner. The pattern of most of the first half continued on the restart, with Kike denied by Silvestri before a free-kick on the right almost resulted in a second for United, when Murphy’s delivery was met by Scott Wootton, whose header cannoned off the bar. Kike then saw his low shot turned away with the impression that it might not be Boro’s day starting to generate. A cross-shot from Adomah was soon tipped away by Silvestri, but while Leeds’ attacks were infrequent, they still possessed danger with Boro’s backline not looking wholly convincing. A clearance from Ben Gibson denied Mowatt in the nick of time, with Leeds mindful that a second goal would effectively kill the game, with their threat on the break, if not exactly potent, at least prevalent. Boro threw on Lee Tomlin on 57 minutes, with top-scorer Patrick Bamford also entering the fray seven minutes later, with all of the hosts’ attacking armoury now in the mix. A brilliant challenge from Bamba, outstanding at the back, denied Kike in the nick of time as Boro launched another assault on the Leeds rearguard. Vossen’s shot was then turned away by Silvestri before a saving challenge by Charlie Taylor thwarted Leadbitter. As the clock ticked, so a sense of dispondency started to set in among home supporters in the 25,531 crowd with Leeds going close to sealing it from an unlikely source when Wootton arriving at the far post, couldn’t convert a low cross from Byram. The seal on a difficult afternoon for Boro arrived late on when Vossen came off second best in a challenge in midfield with Cook, with the Boro forward receiving lengthy attention before being stretchered off. It left Boro to play out the game with ten men, having used all their substitutes. After a long delay, Leeds were left to negotiate nine minutes of added-on time, but it was they who come closest to another goal when Austin’s shot was tipped over. Middlesbrough: Mejias; Nsue (Bamford 66), Kalas, Gibson, Friend; Leadbitter (Forshaw 79), Clayton, Adomah, Reach (Tomlin 57); Vossen, Kike. Substitutes not used: Ripley, Husband, Whitehead, Omeruo. Neil Redfearn said:It was an outstanding performance and I think was down to the work-rate, diligence and organisation. “I also felt we played some great football in between and if you at it, on the face of it, we could have had two or three more goals with the chances we made. “But they are a good side, no two ways about it. They had us on the ropes at times and we had to defend – and we did. “The stat that mattered is 1-0. That’s the most important stat and it’s another clean sheet, which is important. “There was a real togetherness and desire to want to win. To be honest, if we’d played on another ten or 15 minutes, I don’t think they would have scored because we had that desire about us.” I looked at all of the players and the chasing back and covering back and somebody filling in when someone went forward was terrific. “There was a real togetherness and we sensed danger and when we were under pressure in the box, we got bodies in the way and blocks in and people were brave. “That is what being a successive side is all about.”

Leeds Utd v Millwall 14-2-2015

Mowatt celebrates his goal v Millwall

Sat 14th of Feb Leeds 1 (Mowatt 39), MILLWALL 0. United: Silvestri, Wootton, Bamba, Bellusci, C Taylor, Mowatt, Cook, Murphy, Austin (Antenucci 69), Byram, Morison. Subs. S Taylor, Berardi, Sloth, Adryan, Cani, Sharp. Referee: P Tierney. Booked: Austin, Mowatt, Cook (United), Maierhofer, Martinez (Millwall) Att: 24,000 (234 Millwall) The visit of Millwall saw United head coach Neil Redfearn make just one change from the midweek win at Reading as Rodolph Austin returned to replace the injured Tommaso Bianchi in midfield. Backed by a vociferous home crowd, it was United who started on the front, forcing two early corners and asking questions of the Millwall defence. There was an air of confidence about Redfearn’s men in the early stages and they were agonisingly close from opening the scoring on eight minutes. A flowing move down the left saw Alex Mowatt set Charlie Taylor free and hurtling towards the byline. The full-back whipped an inviting low cross towards the near-post where Sam Byram was arriving to side-foot his delivery inches wide. But Millwall soon began to assert some pressure of their own as Stefan Maierhofer fired into Marco Silvestri’s arms on the turn before lashing wide from an acute angle. Jos Hooiveld then sent a towering header over the bar following a corner as the visitors started to pick things up. Their clearest sight of goal came on 23 minutes and the travelling fans thought their side had taken the lead when Diego Fabbrini’s near-post strike was deflected into the side-netting. United soon got back on the front foot, though, as Sol Bamba glanced a header wide from Luke Murphy’s floated free-kick before Byram’s effort was deflected behind. The deadlock was eventually broken after 39 minutes, and deservedly so, as Mowatt notched his fifth goal of the season with a curling, left-footed free-kick. The midfielder’s effort looked to have taken the slightest of deflections off the Millwall defensive wall, leaving goalkeeper David Forde helpless as he scrambled across his line. Mowatt’s strike signalled the start of a strong end to the first half as United looked to apply some sustained pressure upon the Millwall goal. Austin saw his acrobatic effort blocked by Forde after being picked out brilliantly by the selfless Steve Morison, before Morison himself was thwarted by Forde as he looked to take advantage of a loose back-pass. United re-emerged unchanged from the interval and found themselves defending early on in the second half as Angel Martinez lashed a half-chance wide for Millwall. Morison then headed Murphy’s accurate cross over at the opposite end as Redfearn’s side looked to re-find their rhythm. But a somewhat nervy period followed as the visitors pushed for an equalising goal. Silvestri was forced into a one-handed save to push away Byram’s backwards header from a free-kick before Martyn Woolford lashed well over the bar after being played into the area by substitute Lee Gregory. Redfearn then made his first substitution of the afternoon on 69 minutes, replacing Austin with Mirco Antenucci in what appeared to be an attack-minded change. And the Italian was involved almost immediately, working his way towards the byline before teeing up a cross for Byram to smash over the bar after storming in at the back post. Murphy then stung the palms of Forde from distance, forcing the Millwall stopper into a fine, two-handed save to beat away his effort after skipping away from two defenders. Millwall started to press and Woolford again blazed over, this time from range, while Antenucci ballooned a first-time effort into the South Stand after the ball had rolled into his path. An end-to-end finale ensued as Scott Wootton headed over Morison’s flick-on from six yards out, before Millwall substitute Ricardo Fuller clipped the side-netting with a low strike from inside the area. Huge gaps were appearing in the visitors’ defence as they pushed forward and the tireless Morison was twice blocked against his former team after quick breaks forward. But there proved to be no second goal at Elland Road as referee Paul Tierney signalled for full-time, with Mowatt’s strike proving to be the difference as United made it back-to-back Championship wins.

Redfearn on rhe peformance “I thought we were brilliant first half. There is a resillience about us now. We look like a real tough Championship side”.

Redfearn on Steve Morison: He will score. He’s playing well, he’s working hard and I’ve got to be tough for him.”

Redfearn on the eight point gap over the bottom three: “I think we should be looking at and talking about the top half now:.

Redfearn: “I thought Mowatt was the best player on the pitch. We caused a lot of trouble down the left-hand side”

Redfearn: “We were outstanding in the first half. I thought we were going to blow them away. It was vintage Leeds with 25,000 behind us.”

Holloway: “If I thought we were a risk I’d say so. We’re not a risk at all. We deserve to be able to watch our team play.””For me, WYP get off your arse and don’t treat us any differently to anyone else. You can’t police a game on a Saturday?”


Cook superb v Reading as was Bellusci and Sloth in the perfect away performance at a ground where United had never won before


Morison celebrates and Leeds win

Tues Feb 10th Reading 0-2 Leeds United: Silvestri, Wootton, Bamba, Bellusci, C Taylor, Byram, Murphy, Cook, Bianchi (Sloth 29), Mowatt, Morison. Subs. S Taylor, Del Fabro, Doukara, Antenucci, Cani, Sharp. Referee: G Scott Booked: Wootton (United) Att: 18,124 (United 2,602 Report from YP Leeds United claimed a valuable three points in their fight against relegation with a 2-0 victory at Reading. Luke Murphy’s speculative effort from long distance appeared to deceive home goalkeeper Adam Federici and gave Leeds the lead midway through the second half. Sam Byram then sealed the win in the last minute when nodding in unmarked at the far post. Leeds have stuttered all season and the permanent appointment of manager Neil Redfearn in November had not seemed to have improved matters. Prior to the visit to the Madejski Stadium, Redfearn had overseen just four wins in his 15 matches in charge. Reading had fared better since Steve Clarke replaced Nigel Adkins as manager in December, with just two defeats in 10 games in all competitions. Neither of the teams were able to muster any worthwhile attempts on goal in the lacklustre opening exchanges. Reading did most of the pressing, mainly through the right-wing runs of Garath McCleary, but could not produce any end product. Pavel Pogrebnyak also tried to pierce the Leeds defensive cover but was thwarted by an excellent tackle from Tommaso Bianchi. Leeds replied through Steve Morison but his low cross from the byline was scrambled clear by Federici and his defenders. Bianchi tested Federici soon after with a firm drive but played little further part. He injured a knee in a collision with Danny Williams and was replaced by Casper Sloth on the half hour. Reading continued to look the more likely to break through in a scrappy contest but they lacked penetration. Alex Pearce nodded wide from an Oliver Norwood free kick, Nick Blackman took too long with a shot and was crowded out and Pearce nodded over a corner from Norwood. It was Norwood who inadvertently provided the best chance of the game when carelessly losing possession in midfield. Lewis Cook broke clear and found Morison but the striker’s low effort struck Federici’s left-hand post and bounced to safety. After a poor first half from both sides, Reading set about making amends after the interval. Stephen Kelly crossed from the right but Blackman’s header was weak and carried little danger for Leeds goalkeeper Marco Silvestri. Leeds at least offered more of a physical threat in the second period and right-back Scott Wootton was a shade fortunate to receive only a yellow card for a scything challenge on Williams. It was much against the run of play, though, when Leeds went ahead in the 63rd minute. There appeared little threat when Murphy gathered the ball 35 yards out but he unleashed a fierce drive that Federici seemed to see late and could only help on its way into the net. Reading were quick to respond but after Nathaniel Chalobah had released Williams, Silvestri made a fine save from the midfielder’s angled drive. Byram sealed a much-needed Leeds victory in the 90th minute when nodding in from Morison’s far-post cross.


Chris Dawson still hasn’t broken through

Tues Feb 10th. Potential loanee Dawson knocking on first-team door NEIL REDFEARN is urging Chris Dawson to keep persevering in his quest to be the next young Leeds United starlet propelled into the first team. While the likes of Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt and Sam Byram are fully recognised as integral members of the United squad, with Charlie Taylor also now establishing himself, Dawson is still awaiting his big breakthrough. Despite being impressive for the development squad this season, the Dewsbury-born midfielder, now 20, has featured just twice for the first team in 2014-15. Both appearances have come off the substitutes’ bench, with his last appearance coming in the 1-0 loss to Fulham on December 16. Redfearn says at this current juncture that being in and around the first-team squad is the best option for the pint-sized schemer, handed his full debut in the home game against Derby County on April 1, 2013. But the United head coach admits that there may come a time in the future when he will need to go out on loan to further aid his development. Yet as it stands, Dawson is better on deck at Leeds, according to Redfearn. Redfearn said: “We have got a really talented group of young players and some are (currently) in and some are out, some around about it, some close. “And Chris is close, he has just got to keep persevering. “These are my kids I have brought through and I love them and they are going to be great players for Leeds United. “It is very rare you can get them all in at the same time. But they will fight because they are brought up like that. “They want to get in and will get their chance. I’d like to keep Chris around the squad. But at some point, if he doesn’t get in and around it, I understand he needs to go out and get some games. “Ideally, if we can keep him around it as much as we can, I think it will benefit him.” United’s Professional Development Squad are in League 2 Under-21s action at Sheffield United tomorrow afternoon (1pm).


Mon Feb 9th. Williams sues club LEEDS United’s former technical director has brought a High Court damages claim over his dismissal for sending an email containing “obscene” images of naked women in the shower. Gwyn Williams, 66, who was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct in July 2013, is seeking up to £250,000 in compensation for breach of contract. He claims that the email he sent to ex-Chelsea colleague Dennis Wise, Gus Poyet – now head coach of Sunderland – and Carol Lamb, a receptionist at the club, was part of a “dirty Leeds” joke, referring to the club’s reputation for heavy tackling in the 1970s. His counsel, Daniel Barnett, has told Mr Justice Lewis at London’s High Court that an attachment to the March 2008 email contained some images of a “Benny Hill” or “saucy postcard” nature while others went a little further, showing genitalia and women hugging and caressing each other. “But they fall considerably short of hard-core pornography, or images that are likely to shock and disturb. They are innocuous in nature,” he said. Mr Williams, who joined Leeds in August 2006 at an annual salary of £200,000 plus benefits, argues that forwarding the email to three friends was not sufficiently serious to amount to a repudiatory breach of contract – while the club says it was. He says that five years and eight months elapsed before it was discovered by the club, while allegedly conducting a forensic examination to find a reason to justify not paying him his notice. Mr Barnett said: “The sole remaining issue is whether forwarding an email containing vulgar images goes suffficiently to the root of the employment contract to justify dismissal without notice.”Mr Williams agreed with the club’s counsel, Fraser Campbell, that, as a matter of commonsense, people should not forward pornography from their work emails and it was particularly inappropriate for someone in a position of responsibility who was supposed to be setting an example to young people and whose actions might be of interest to the press. Mr Campbell: “We can probably agree that it was inappropriate, it was dangerous and it was worrying, wasn’t it?” Mr Williams: “Correct.”Referring to one of the images, Mr Campbell asked: “Would you agree it’s obscene?” Mr Williams: Yes.”Mr Campbell: And by the word `obscene’, more than just racy, risque, rude. It means explicit and probably likely to offend many people?”Mr Williams: “It could do, yes. ”Mr Williams said that he sent the email, which he agreed contained other images that were obscene, to the two men to amuse and titillate them. Looking back, he accepted it was something he should not have done.From 1970, Leeds was known as `dirty Leeds’ and these were forwarded to me on the basis that these were muddy girls in a shower getting clean and that was the basis I sent them out. Rather than the content, it was the dirty Leeds issue.” He added: “Obviously, one or two of them go a little bit further, but that was the general theme of it.”Mr Williams was asked about why he sent the email to Miss Lamb, who Mr Campbell described as a good-looking single mother, who was half Mr Williams’s age and on a fraction of his salary. Mr Williams said that Miss Lamb was “a good kid” and “Leeds United mad”, and he thought she would appreciate the email and “have a giggle about it.” “But I was wrong – I shouldn’t have sent it,” he told the judge. Mr Campbell: “ You understand just how bad it looks to an outside observer when a senior older well-connected manager singles out a young junior female receptionist out of all the people in the club to send an obscene email to?Mr Williams: “I agree.” Mr Campbell: “In your statement, you say it probably falls short of best practice. To an outside observer, it looks like absolutely standard sexual harassment, doesn’t it?Mr Williams: “No, we had a good relationship in the work environment. I incorrectly assumed that it wouldn’t offend her and I sent it on a whim, on the dirty Leeds thing.”The hearing, which is likely to last up to three days, was adjourned until tomorrow.

Mon 9th of Feb ‘Dream to play in England’ – Cani NEW Leeds United striker Edgar Cani says that he has fulfilled one of his footballing dreams by playing in England for the Whites. The 6ft 4in targetman, who made his debut as a late substitute in the weekend home defeat to Brentford, is hoping to endear himself with Whites supporters in the coming weeks and months – and is itching to be involved in the Championship clash at Reading. Signed initially on loan for the rest of the season from Serie B side Catania, the Albanian international has revealed his hopes of making a positive impression in his quest to secure a long-term contract at Elland Road. On his debut and his quest to earn himself an extended contract at Leeds, Cani, 25, said:I love to play here and the feeling you get here is special and I hope to stay here a long time.“I think my characteristics will allow me to play here.“It is a very nice stadium with a lot of fans and it was a really nice feeling (on Saturday).“It is something special to play for Leeds United. I have heard a lot of things about Leeds and it was the thing I was expecting.“The fans were very funny also when the referee did not whistle for us and when he gave us a foul, it was like a goal! “I was very happy to come in, although not for the score.” Cani revealed that he spoke with several members of Leeds’ Italian contingent, once he became aware of the Whites’ interest at the start of January. To a man, they all told him to make the move to Leeds, with he and his family delighted that he has sealed a move to West Yorkshire. He added: “I know Bellusci, Doukara and Silvestri from playing together (at Catania) and I also played against the other ones. “When I heard Leeds wanted me, I spoke with them and they said: ‘just come.’ “They told me it is a difficult league, but you have to make the best of it. “The coach wants to see me doing my best in training and I hope to come in and play. “My family are very happy, because this was one of my dreams; to play in England. “Now they are very happy and me too.”

Sat 7th of Feb Leeds 0 – 1- Brentford (Pritchard 64). United: Silvestri, Wootton, Bamba, Cooper, C Taylor, Byram, Austin, Murphy (Cani 85), Cook, Sharp, Morison (Antenucci 73). Subs. S Taylor, Berardi, Bianchi, Sloth, Mowatt. BReferee:  G Salisbury Booked: Cooper, Austin, Cook (UnitedAtt: 23,164 (1,022 Brentford) Report from Official website. Brentford arrived at Elland Road with United looking to make it three consecutive wins for the first time since November 2013, and head coach Neil Redfearn made just one change from the previous weekend’s Yorkshire derby win at Huddersfield as match-winner Billy Sharp came into the starting line-up to replace Alex Mowatt. There was also a home debut for January signing Sol Bamba, while fellow loanee Edgar Cani was named among the substitutes. United looked t o get on the front foot almost immediately, with Sam Byram and Lewis Cook searching for early openings behind the Brentford defence, but it was the visitors who had the first sight of goal as Alex Pritchard dragged a low effort wide from range. Brentford goalkeeper David Button was then called into action at the opposite end for the first time to hold Steve Morison’s LEEDS V BRENTFORD 7/02/2015goal-bound header after the striker was picked out by Charlie Taylor’s cross from deep. It was a bright start to proceedings from Redfearn’s men and their best opening of the early stages came following Luke Murphy’s deflected free-kick, with Liam Cooper glancing the resulting corner across the face of goal and inches away from the arriving Bamba at the back post. Brentford quickly responded, though, and Marco Silvestri pulled off a superb block to deny Andre Gray from the game’s clearest chance after the striker had raced onto Pritchard’s searching through ball. Rodolph Austin then blasted over after surging forward, before Pritchard fired a free-kick into Silvestri’s arms as the game approached the 25-minute mark. Despite United’s openings, it was Silvestri who was the busier of the two keepers and he thwarted Jota from inside the area with another strong, two-handed save after Brentford had broke away at pace. Harlee Dean then nervously sliced Sharp’s low cross behind for a corner as Redfearn’s side looked to re-assert some authority. Former Elland Road captain Jonathan Douglas headed a corner into Silvestri’s arms on the stroke of half-time, before referee Graham Salisbury blew the whistle on a competitive but goalless opening 45 minutes. Both sides re-emerged from the break unchanged and, after a relatively uneventful start to the second half, the game burst back into life, with the Elland Road atmosphere red hot following a number of decisions ruled against United. Silvestri was soon called upon, pouncing at the feet of Gray to smother the ball after the forward was played in by Pritchard, before United’s first sight of goal in the second half came through Morison. Murphy’s corner found the striker’s feet at the back post, but he could only fire over from a tight angle after working himself into space. The deadlock was eventually broken on 64 minutes and it was the 1,022 travelling fans who were celebrating as Pritchard swept Brentford ahead, the Tottenham loanee arriving at the back post to convert Toumani Diagouraga’s low cross. Redfearn made his first change of the afternoon on 73 minutes, replacing Morison with Mirco Antenucci in attack, as United were urged forward, but Austin was just unable to get the desired connection as Button held his low effort. The post then came to United’s rescue from Jon Toral’s volley, before the Brentford substitute fired inches wide as the visitors probed for a second. But United’s intent remained there to be seen and Sharp came closest to finding the net following a swift break up-field. Austin’s cutback rolled into the striker’s path, but he could only drag it inches wide of Button’s far post. Silvestri was then alert to push away Chris Long’s effort from inside the area, before Redfearn made his second change with five minutes remaining on the clock as Murphy made way for the debutant Cani, with United going all-out attack. Five minutes of stoppage time were added on with United throwing everything forward. Brentford were sitting deep and defending in numbers, meaning there was no way through for either Sharp or Cani in an almighty goalmouth scramble. And that proved to be the final chance on a frustrating afternoon as United’s suffered a league defeat for the first time in 2015. Feb 5th. White to miss rest of season Aidan White’s season could be over after a second operation. The versatile 23-year-old is undergoing fresh rehabilitation following another bout of surgery on the foot injury he sustained last summer. White – a winger and a full-back during his time at Elland Road – was injured in Leeds United’s pre-season friendly at Chesterfield in July and has not played any part in their Championship campaign. His latest operation is likely to rule him out for most of the run-in and White – a product of Leeds’ academy and the leading appearance maker in their current first-team squad – will find himself out of contract when his deal expires in June. He signed a three-year contract in the summer of 2012. United head coach Neil Redfearn said: “Aidy’s had a recurrence and another operation. “He’s a good healer, he seems to heal quite quickly, but he’s had the same operation twice now so it’s quite a long road for him. “It would be good to have a fit Aidy White because he’s got pace and he goes past people but he’ll be out for a while.”Redfearn, who said on-loan AC Milan midfielder Zan Benedicic was still “a fair way off” after a knee operation before Christmas, will target wingers when the Football League’s emergency loan window opens next week. The Leeds boss recommended a number of players to club owner Massimo Cellino, including Millwall’s Martyn Woolford and Rotherham United’s Ben Pringle. But striker Edgar Cani was the only arrival at Elland Road on the last day of the January transfer window. And Redfearn said: “We need some width. We need genuine width. “We’ve got players who can play there but we need competition in wide areas, I’ll put it that way. “We’ve got to keep our eye on that.“At home, when you’ve got to make the running, you need players who can go past people. It would be nice to have a balance.”

Feb 5th Phil Hay: Leeds boss Redfearn is becoming his own man At Leeds United, a nomination for manager of the month is as good as the prize itself. As Aitor Karanka caresses the trophy for January, Neil Redfearn can console himself by remembering that at no stage of United’s League One promotion season (one defeat from the first 23 games, eight points clear at the turn of the year) did Simon Grayson win it.The statistics get worse. In all the years of manager of the month – 10 and counting – Leeds have received the award three times. Dennis Wise took it twice, though his low opinion of the Football League at the time tempted him to throw the trophies into the crowd. He was dissuaded on the grounds that they would make nice mementos in years to come and, more seriously, that an alloy replica of a Coca-Cola bottle would kill whoever it hit. Leeds still have them in a cabinet at Elland Road. Ego aside, it matters not. Redfearn was the anomaly in January’s shortlist, a coach with a squad in 19th position alongside others with teams in second, third and fifth, and he can take his inclusion in the manner it was intended: as a meaningful nod of approval. For weeks he has been pushing the line that his players are turning the corner, getting a grip and starting to click. It must be nice to hear his own thoughts echoed by independent voices. Redfearn is not a manager in name – head coaches are the fashion at Elland Road, as they are at numerous clubs – but United’s form in January came down to old-fashioned management. It came down to old-fashioned nerve and willingness on his part to exert authority. He is nobody’s poodle, regardless of whether his club want one. Leeds’ defeat at Derby County on December 30 presented a few obvious conclusions: the formation needed to change and certain players need to be dropped. The diamond was shot and members of the team were too. Tommaso Bianchi and Souleymane Doukara, to take two examples, had reached the stage where they were playing without form or justification. The wait for Adryan to light a fire was beginning to drag and the sum of the individual parts equated to relegation or something close. Look back to quotes from that night at Pride Park and you’ll see Redfearn talking about “short-termism”. It’s not a popular phrase at Leeds – plans, players, debt and ownership are always discussed with a longer view – but it set the tone. Redfearn knows an emergency when he sees one. He’s been through relegation before and it was his urgent utterings in 2013 that convinced United to get their finger out, stand him down as caretaker and appoint Brian McDermott at haste. Too many people in the Elland Road boardroom were oblivious to the trouble ahead. In the past month, Redfearn has challenged the idea that a head coach at Leeds is a puppet on a string. That perception is not groundless, and Massimo Cellino holds less sway in the importance of a coach than he does in the importance of a playing squad, but Redfearn is finding the middle ground. He has less control over transfers than he wants, as his interest in Martyn Woolford showed. That deal went cold after word reached Millwall that Redfearn’s appreciation of Woolford was not shared by people above him. But it is equally clear that this team and strategy are his alone, dependent on players who were marking time and counting down contracts before Christmas. It’s to Redfearn’s credit that he’s following his own mind. A relationship with Cellino requires compromise and patience, along with a well bitten tongue. But a coach who banks his wage while rolling over is no better himself. The job at Leeds takes conviction and confidence to do your thing and live by results. There’s a definite sign in Redfearn’s demeanour that he’s as free in the role as he’s ever been. Cellino is absent – physically at any rate – and the football is falling purely to him. When push came to shove, Leeds looked at an offer of £500,000 for Rudy Austin and said no. Gradually Redfearn is gaining a foothold, albeit in the knowledge that he and his assistant are effectively out of contract in the summer. Leeds have options to retain him and Steve Thompson for another season, a decision which will fall to Cellino after his suspension ends. Months like January can only strengthen Redfearn’s hand. He’s not without flaws but in the context of the type of coach Cellino prefers to employ, he might hold it together at Elland Road as well as anyone. The other anomaly in a shortlist of Redfearn, Karanka, Steve McClaren and Mark Warburton is that only one of them would be game for this job.   Feb 3rd. Summary of window Championship transfer activity has been relatively modest this month, with Leeds United’s recruitment restricted to loan deals. The first arrival was Sol Bamba from Serie A side Palermo on January 23, with the Ivory Coast defender joining for the rest of the season. Three days later, United snapped up Bamba’s Palermo team-mate Granddi Ngoyi in an identical deal on loan for the remainder of the campaign. The arrival of Catania forward Edgar Cani yesterday represented United’s third temporary deal of the window, taking their number of loan signings currently at the club this season to seven. The other loanees are Adryan, Dario del Fabro, Brian Montenegro and Zan Benedicic. Meanwhile, the emergency loan window opens on February 10, with parent clubs allowed to recall players loaned out after 28 days. Leeds’ recruitment last January was restricted to the ill-fated captures of Jimmy Kebe and Cameron Stewart, with the pair starting just 17 matches for the club between them. Significant activity arrived on the final day of the winter window on January 31, 2013, with Steve Morison arriving in a swap deal which saw Luciano Becchio head to Norwich City. Stephen Warnock also came in from Aston Villa on a permanent deal, with Habib Habibou joining on loan from Belgian outfit Zulte Waregem on loan with a view to a full-time move. Feb 2nd. Leeds terminate Norris contract Leeds have terminated the contract of midfielder David Norris. The former Ipswich midfielder has struggled to get anywhere near the match day squad over the last couple of years-making only 1 appearance in each of the last 2 sessions. With his contract up in the summer, Leeds have decided to pay him off and let him go. Good move this one-Norris was never going to get a game, and this should save a bit of money


Cani becomes the third White during the Window

Mon Feb 2nd. Cani at last signs (the Albanian Matt Smith ?) Leeds United can confirm the signing of Catania striker Edgar Cani on loan for the remainder of the 2014/15 season, subject to international clearance. Cani, an Albanian international, becomes United’s third signing of the January transfer window following the arrivals of Sol Bamba and Granddi Ngoyi. The 25-year-old has featured 14 times for Catania in Serie B this season, scoring three goals for the Italian side. Cani has spent the majority of his career in Italian football and progressed through the ranks at Pescara before moving to Palermo in 2008. His three-year stay at Palermo was largely spent out on loan, though, and he departed for Polish outfit Polonia Warsaw in 2011. It was there where he had his most productive spell in front of goal, scoring 11 times in 31 appearances, before returning to Italy with Catania in 2013. The striker will wear the number 10 shirt after the Football League permitted Granddi Ngoyi to swap to the vacant number six shirt Mon Feb 2nd. Austin not for sale Chairman Andrew Umbers and club can confirm that midfielder Rodolph Austin is not for sale and will remain a Leeds United player beyond Monday’s 11pm transfer deadline. There has been significant interest in the player and media reports over the weekend and on Monday had suggested that the club had agreed a deal for Rudy to exit Leeds United, but this is not the case. Rudy remains a vital part of Neil Redfearn’s squad and will play a major part for Leeds United in the remaining 18 Sky Bet Championship matches and beyond. The midfielder has expressed a desire to remain at the club and help head coach Neil Redfearn make the season as successful as possible. The club are delighted that Rudy wishes to remain part of the club and the midfielder reported to Thorp Arch and trained with his team-mates as normal on Monday. New signing Edgar Cani is raring to get going at Elland Road and says he was eager to make the move as soon as he heard of the club’s interest. Cani, who has signed on loan from Catania for the remainder of the season, had been heavily linked with a switch to the Championship for some time prior to arriving at Thorp Arch on deadline day. The 25-year-old put pen to paper on Monday afternoon to become United’s third addition of the January transfer window after Sol Bamba and Granddi Ngoyi. “I heard about a month ago that Leeds wanted me,” the striker explained. “I was very happy about that and I’m very happy to be here.” Cani has already linked up with his new team-mates for training says his early impressions of the squad have been very positive as United look to build on a good run of form. “I think it is a great team,” he said. I think that we can keep going like this, like these last two matches that we won. “I would like to play and do as much for the team as I can.” On head coach Neil Redfearn, the striker added:He’s been very good. “We spoke together before training and we have a good relationship.” Asked about his style of play as a striker, Cani replied: I’m a good header and I like to move in the forward areas. “I like to keep the ball and to let the team go forward. I also like to play with my head.” Cani, who will wear the number 10 shirt, could make his debut in Saturday’s Elland Road clash with Brentford as he looks for a first taste of Championship football. “I know that it is a great league,” he said. “I’ve seen some games and I like the fans and the atmosphere a lot. “I came to see one match when I was here at the end of December. “The fans are great and they never stopped singing. I liked that a lot. The game was very good as well.”


Tonge joins Millwall on loan. His Leeds contract is up in the summer, so he has played his last game already for the Whites.

Mon Feb 2nd. Tonge joins Lions United midfielder Michael Tonge has joined Millwall on loan for the remainder of the season. Tonge, whose Elland Road contract is set to expire in the summer, has moved to the London club on transfer deadline day and could be involved in their home tie with Huddersfield on Saturday. The 31-year-old has made 12 appearances in all competitions so far this season but has not featured since Boxing Day’s Elland Road defeat to Wigan Athletic. Tonge has been with United for two-and-a-half seasons and was signed permanently from the Potters in January 2013 after establishing himself in the side while on loan. He was a regular in the side during the 2012/13 campaign, making 39 appearances and scoring five times, before featuring 25 times in all competitions last season. Mon 2nd of Feb Redfearn keen to do business Neil Redfearn remains keen to bolster his squad ahead of Monday’s 11pm transfer deadline, but the head coach insists any incoming players must make an impression to get into his team. United have already been active in the January window, bringing in Palermo duo Sol Bamba and Granddi Ngoyi on loan for the remainder of the season, while Noel Hunt, Stephen Warnock and Jason Pearce have all headed for the exit door. Asked if he was anticipating any deadline day arrivals, Redfearn replied: Perhaps. “We’ve got people that we want to try and get in. “We’ve racked our brains for the last month on players and what we’re looking at, with people making suggestions and putting things in place. “Like I said before, if we can get a couple in then great, but the ones that come in are going to have to play well because the lads are playing well at the moment. “They’re going to have to play well to get in.” Redfearn was full of praise for new addition Bamba, who went straight into the team for Saturday’s Yorkshire derby win at Huddersfield and impressed on his debut at the heart of defence. “I think Bamba made a difference, he gives that physical presence and he’s got that bit of pace and experience,” said Redfearn.


Can’t afford to let Austin go to Wigan now at last the midifield is settled and winning

Sun 2nd of Fen 2015. Leeds United agree £500k deal with Championship club for midfielder Leeds United have agreed a £500,000 deal with Wigan Athletic to sell midfielder Rodolph Austin to the Latics, according to Sky Sports News. The combative midfielder was a target for Welsh side Cardiff City, as reported on FLW, however he now looks set for a move to join Wigan Athletic. Austin would join former Leeds teammate Jason Pearce at the DW Stadium, who signed for Malky Mackay’s outfit earlier this week. Leeds United boss Neil Redfearn has introduced an influx of youth into his starting eleven, subsequently meaning Austin has found a starting berth not available week in week out. The Jamaican international has made 22 appearances for the Whites this season, scoring once, but has recently fallen out of favour with most of his appearances coming from the substitute bench. Malky Mackay’s Wigan Athletic side are in dire need of fresh faces as they currently lie in 23rd position in the Sky Bet Championship. Wigan have thus far accumulated a mere 21 points from 27 league games, and lie five points adrift of safety in the division, in what has turned out to be a very poor season for the club. Meanwhile, Leeds United are in advanced talks to sign Catania striker Edgar Cani, as reported on FLW. The Albanian forward is set to fly to Leeds tomorrow to conclude a deal before the 11pm deadline on Monday night. The 25-year-old striker has been linked with a move to the Whites all January transfer window, and it finally looks like the deal will materialise. This would be a crazy deal selling to a club below us, and also Ngoyi is weeks away from his debut at best. Austin is playing well at the moment in a settled midfield.


Woolford (A Yorkshireman) looking to become the 3rd White of the window

Feb 1st Woolford to become signing number 3? MARTYN Woolford could leave Millwall to join Leeds United before the transfer window closes on Monday night. Woolford has been left out of the Lions’ last two squads and Ian Holloway revealed after Saturday’s win at Nottingham Forest that the winger could now depart. But Woolford’s potential move to Elland Road is by no means a done deal, with Holloway prepared to bring the 29-year-old “back into the fold” if it falls through. Millwall may need Woolford to stick around after Lee Martin was taken to hospital with a rib injury he sustained during a heavy fall against Forest. “I’m not sure what’s going to happen with Martyn,” said Holloway. “Leeds’ manager wants him but I’m not sure [if he can sign him]. “I’ve had to be open with Martyn and say ‘this might be a possibility’ because he’s out-of-contract and they’ll pay him more than I will, eventually. “He’s a Yorkshire lad as well.”But if that doesn’t happen, he knows I will bring him back into the fold – that’s not an issue. I have to be open and honest with him. “I would’ve wanted to give Martyn a new contract but I’m not sure I can afford that. The ones I’ve moved out the way are my higher earners so that I can do other things. “But if Martyn and Leeds doesn’t happen he might well get a place in my team, particularly if Lee has now gone and done something.” Holloway is hoping to strengthen his squad before the 11pm deadline on Monday but also has the option of bringing in fresh faces during the loan window. “I’m looking to add if I can,” he said. I’ve got a couple of things but whether or not they’ll come off, I don’t know. “But there’s also loans after that. “It’s only the Premier League boys who can’t sign players after Monday. We can cheat the system with 93-day emergency loans.”  It seems that Holloway is keen on Michael Tongue and wants a swap deal. Both Woolford and Tongue are out of contract in the summer.


Sharp enjoying his winner v Terriers

Sat 31st Reaction to win : Leeds United striker Billy Sharp dedicated his goal to the fans after he came off the bench to score a late winner in the West Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield Town. The striker has had a frustrating start to his Leeds career after joining from Southampton in August. I was itching to get on,” Sharp told BBC Radio Leeds.  “I am so glad to have got the goal. “The fans have been absolutely fantastic with me since I joined the club. “I have not scored anywhere near enough goals, to what I would have liked to have done. “The fans have stuck by me and the goal was for them. “I dreamed of scoring those types of goals as a kid. Murphy`s goal last week was so much better than mine but I love scoring those types of goals.” Leeds are unbeaten in four league games in 2015 and the win at Huddersfield made it back-to-back wins for the first time since September and Redfearn was quick to point at a new look and spirit in the camp. Neil Redfearn : It was a typical derby and the quality was few and far between,” Redfearn told BBC Radio Leeds. I thought we started really well for the first 25 minutes and we took our goal well. They came back into it and it was a bad goal from our point of view but it made for a great derby. “The lads kept going and if you look at them, there is now resilience and toughness about them. “I now look at them and they are reacting well to things and sorting things out on the pitch and there is a good smell about them. “We are now toughing things out, there is a togetherness about them, we have good shape, we are competing and we look different. We now look a big and physical side and we can cope whilst still playing our football.”


Billy Sharp celebrates his third goal in a row v Huddersfield for his third different team and that’s his third goal for Leeds- The Terriers must love him


Sam Byram celebrates his first of the season for Leeds

Sat 31st of January. Huddsfld 1-2 Leeds. United: Silvestri, Wootton, Bamba, Cooper, C Taylor, Austin, Murphy, Mowatt (Antenucci 59), Cook (Sharp 86), Byram, Morison. Subs. S Taylor, Berardi, Bianchi, Sloth, Montenegro. Referee: C Foy Booked: Butterfield, Lynch (Huddersfield), Taylor, Austin (United) Report from BBC Leeds Billy Sharp’s late header secured a derby victory over Huddersfield Town for Leeds and eased the relegation concerns of Neal Redfearn’s side. Substitute Sharp connected with Mirco Antenucci’s cross in the 90th minute to decide the West Yorkshire contest. Sam Byram had put the visitors in front with a one-on-one finish, before Harry Bunn headed in a corner to level. But Sharp’s late interjection lifted Leeds eight points above the drop zone, with the later fixtures still to come. United had not won in seven league games until last week’s victory against leaders Bournemouth, and now have back-to-back victories for the first time since September, a week after owner Massimo Cellino stepped down from his involvement with the club. They looked in high spirits early on, against a Huddersfield side that won three of their last four, as Byram latched on to Luke Murphy’s pass before clipping over keeper Joe Murphy keeper with just seven minutes gone. Things seemed to get immediately worse for the hosts, with top-scorer Nahki Wells having to go off injured, but it paved the way for scorer Bunn to step off the bench. And after James Vaughan’s shot was deflected wide, Jacob Butterfield’s subsequent corner drifted all the way to the back post where the substitute was able to nod in his seventh of the season. Vaughan, wearing a facemask to protect a fractured cheekbone, had a header saved by Marco Silvestri and Sean Scannell fired across goal before the break. But the game became flat in the second half, living up to its billing as a gritty derby, with plenty of contested tackles ,but few clear-cut chances. Bunn almost snatched a winner for the Terriers, but his header was cleared off the line by Steve Morison, before Sharp produced the late drama, earning a booking for his exuberant celebration. The game finished on an even more sombre note for mid-table Town, as defender Tommy Smith was taken off on a stretcher with a worrying-looking injury. A good win for Leeds as at last they gather a bit od momentum. Once again Silvestri almost cost us points with his terrible handling from crosses. Time for Taylor (who don’t forget has a Premiership medal) to get a run. We are far from the finished article. We know that, but Bamba did well on his debut and Redfearn believes additions are still on the way before Tuesday. Let’s home they don’t all speak Italian. Sat 31st of January Phil Hay: Fans remain the one constant for troubled Leeds United Mad Friday Leeds United’s definitive breakdown – was not really a story about the club’s capacity to humiliate itself. It was an example of what happens when a football club has nothing more behind it than personal agendas. Twelve months on the tale is still riddled with shameless self-defence. It’s at the crux of Massimo Cellino’s attempt to sack Brian McDermott and his subsequent denial that he wanted McDermott gone. His people spent the next 48 hours trying to find and shred copies of a legal letter confirming the dismissal. It never quite reached McDermott’s desk. Others behaved in the same manner; directors with money and jobs at stake, trying to position themselves in a way which guaranteed a seat when the music stopped. McDermott’s mooted replacement, Gianluca Festa, was at it too. Supporters who watched him in the East Stand during Leeds’ 5-1 win over Huddersfield Town the following day said he spent the first half berating a broken performance but sat moodily through the second as Huddersfield fell to pieces. That brazen weekend became a catalogue of who-was-doing-what (even though some of the main protagonists were less than clear themselves) but at Elland Road that matters less than the question of who wants what. What’s the motive, what’s the angle and who stands to benefit? Was Festa here helping Cellino or was Festa helping himself? Supporters of the club are so hardened by politics that they no longer need to be warned. Scepticism is the default setting. Yesterday the YEP ran an interview with Andrew Umbers, the financier who became Leeds’ chairman after Cellino’s resignation as president last week. He spoke in detail about the club’s financial position and gave projections about how United would perform at future dates: a loss of around £7m in this financial year (down from £22m in 2013-14) and free from a transfer embargo by the summer window, even though Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules in the Championship allow a maximum shortfall of £6m. Umbers predicted that Leeds might break even by the end of the 2015-16 year which, given the state of their last accounts, is an unfathomable thought. That said, the club have shed a third of their staff under Cellino and other senior figures at Elland Road think United are genuinely capable of avoiding a loss next season. To gauge from the reaction to Umbers’ comments, the positivity was like a dirty pint; swallowed with difficulty. It didn’t help that the talk of “drastically” improving financial situation clashed so badly with Umbers’ contribution to Cellino’s Football League appeal, in which he basically implied that banning the Italian could result in administration. The Football League’s lawyer accused Umbers of trying it on. The dots don’t join. As chairman, he has the baggage of past associations with Gulf Finance House and Ken Bates. The takeover between Bates and GFH wasn’t completed on his say-so but he was in the middle of it and the company he worked for, Eurofin Capital, doubtless made money from it. He might not appreciate references to his involvement but it’s as much as people know about him and it’s all they have to reference. If Leeds escape embargo before June and break even in 2016, his claims will stand up. Until then they sit in abeyance. This treatment is not reserved for Umbers. Leeds would need Lucas Radebe as chairman for public faith in that position to reach a great height. And even then in certain quarters they would ask if Radebe had the expertise to head up a board of directors. The erosion of trust at Elland Road has been almost total over the years and the club are condemned until they claw it back. The slide into suspicion began long before Mad Friday but the night of the long knives guaranteed that Cellino’s regime would be plagued by it too. There’s a good reason why a year later supporter investment is on the agenda: the support is still the only facet of Leeds that people are sure enough to believe in. Friday 30th of Jan Pearce joins Latics for stability Jason Pearce has ended a two-and-a-half year stay at Leeds United by joining Wigan Athletic. The defender joined United’s Championship rivals this morning for an undisclosed fee, thought to be in the region of £300,000. Leeds paid £500,000 for the 27-year-old when they signed him from Portsmouth in 2012 and Pearce was the leading appearance-maker in United’s squad having played 112 times. He lost his place in the club’s starting line-up before Christmas, however, and was replaced as captain by Stephen Warnock. The recent signing of Sol Bamba on loan from Italian side Palermo added further competition at centre-back and a deal to sell Pearce to Wigan was agreed in principle earlier this week. He moves to a team who are in the thick of the same relegation fight as United, three places and eight points behind Neil Redfearn’s squad. Bamba is expected to make his Leeds debut alongside Liam Cooper away at Huddersfield Town on Saturday.  Pearce, who was the leading appearance-make in United’s squad, had a year-and-a-half left on his contract but lost his place in the club’s starting line-up last month. He admitted that the uncertainty surrounding Leeds and the club’s disqualified owner Cellino had encouraged him to move on, telling beanbagsports.com: “Coming to Wigan, it’s a stable club. At Leeds it was all up in the air. “No-one knew what was going on with the ownership, they were bringing players in left, right and centre and as player you just want to be able to get on with your job. “The team was changing week in, week out and for the last four, five or six games I felt like I deserved to play. I had to get out of there and show what I could do.” Jan 30th Bamba plots Whites stay   Sol Bamba says he has his heart set on a permanent contract at Leeds United, admitting his time with Palermo looks to be over. Bamba joined Leeds on a half-season loan last week and wants to commit his long-term future to the club after failing to make an impact in Italy. Palermo signed the 30-year-old in August but head coach Giuseppe Iachini used him only once in the first half of their Serie A campaign. A bid by Leeds to sign him on a temporary basis was accepted eight days ago and the deal included a clause allowing United to take the former Leicester City defender permanently in the summer. Asked if he expected to return to Palermo, Bamba said: If I’m honest I don’t think so. Not unless the manager changes. The club made it clear that they want me to come back and play but I don’t see that happening. We (Bamba’s family) want to settle here if we can and get a deal done as soon as possible. It’s up to me. I need to show what I can do on the pitch to make the president (Massimo Cellino) buy me.” Bamba, who is set to make his Leeds debut in today’s clash with Huddersfield Town, said he was unclear on the reasons for his lack of opportunities in Sicily. I really don’t know,” he said. I used to train well and if you ask the manager, he always told me ‘you’re doing absolutely everything right.’ “I’d just arrived at the club and people in front of me had been in Italy for two or three years. The manager would say ‘you’re not far off, keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll be playing.’ “Well, after one month then two, three and four you start to get worried. So when I had the chance to move to Leeds, it was an easy decision.” Bamba’s arrival at Elland Road hastened the departure of Jason Pearce who join Championship rivals Wigan Athletic for a fee of around £300,000 yesterday. Jan 30th Pavelotti joins Genoa Meanwhile, United’s interest in striker Leonardo Pavoletti looks set to come to nothing with the 26-year-old on the verge of a move from Sassuolo to Genoa. Leeds targeted Pavoletti prior to the start of the January transfer window and invited him to attend their 2-0 defeat to Wigan on Boxing Day but they have not concluded a deal and Genoa look set to secure his signature. Catania’s Edgar Cani remains an option for United as the club push to secure a new striker before the Monday’s 11pm transfer deadline 29th of Jan. Umbers – “We have turned the corner” New Leeds United chairman Andrew Umbers is confident the financial restructuring put in place at Elland Road will allow the club to break even at the end of next season. Phil Hay reports. The job of Leeds United chairman fell to Andrew Umbers at a time of internal strife last week. He accepted the post against the backdrop of a banned owner, a squad threatened by relegation and a club with battles left to fight. On paper it read like crisis management but Umbers sees the landscape differently. In his view the crisis at Elland Road came last May when, less than a month after Massimo Cellino’s takeover, the Italian was advised to admit defeat immediately and call in the administrators. Umbers had joined Cellino’s staff that month, asked to help him by “two leading attorneys in the Italian FA.” “At the time, Massimo and I were advised by accountants and other experts that the club should go into administration,” he says. “Massimo had run Cagliari for 23 years and for the last 15 years, that club made 10 million Euros per annum. He knows how to run a football club. We did a root-and-branch strategic review and we didn’t accept that this football club should go into administration. But the backdrop was pretty awful.” There are numerous ways of painting the mess in explicit terms. As the club’s most recent accounts show, Leeds – largely under the ownership of Gulf Finance House – lost over £22m in the 2013-14 year. They are presently subject to a Financial Fair Play (FFP) transfer embargo because of it. Loans of more than £20m are owed to GFH, and redundancies last summer were sweeping. Umbers estimates that staffing levels at United have fallen by 37 per cent since then. “The situation has dramatically improved,” he says. So much so that Umbers expects Leeds to be FFP compliant and out of embargo by the time the summer transfer window opens. Definitely? “Yes. We’ve submitted our FFP analysis. We’re already planning for what we need to do squad-wise for the 2015-16 season.” Umbers’ projection is that in this financial year, Leeds will lose between £7m and £8m. That figure constitutes a drop of around 66 per cent. He claims that money owed to “cash creditors” has more than halved and says “our objective is to finish the 2015-16 season at or around break even.” Talks about reducing GFH’s loans are well advanced, he claims. “That will mean our debt is minimal. “If you have a club with little debt and which is getting close to break even, it’s an advertisement for the way Massimo has run the business. But also, it’s long overdue at Leeds United.” It is indeed. Leeds broke even several times while Ken Bates was chairman, often helped by the sale of players, but the past few years have turned the club into a money pit. On top of GFH’s liabilities, Cellino and companies connected to him have loaned the club more than £12m. Umbers says Cellino’s total injection is “over £20m.” Capital or loans? “His cash commitment is over £20m – at a time when the company is still losing money and still restructuring.” Umbers, a 50-year-old Yorkshireman, was appointed to the board of directors at Elland Road last month. His career history shows a spell as managing director of Credit Suisse and other senior executive jobs. He was an investment banker for 30 years. But he is recognised in Leeds as the man who helped facilitate the sale of United by Bates to GFH in 2012, claiming at the time that the deal would create “the right legacy to build on the prudent stewardship of Ken Bates.” The reality was very different. “I was engaged by Ken Bates to try and find a buyer,” he says. “My question would be, why would someone want to sell a club if there were still potential improvements to be made? At the end of the day, GFH were the only buyer that came forward. And Ken Bates decided to sell.” Umbers says he is reluctant to “apportion blame” to previous regimes for the problems Cellino took on. “The ironic thing about GFH is that they didn’t do anything. When you look at their period of management of Leeds, they took over a club and they left it to run itself rather than providing the help it needed. They neither managed nor mismanaged anything. “But they put cash into the club. They put in real cash. It’s not for me to say why they decided to sell but when you can’t learn how to drive a car, you get a chauffeur. You bring somebody else in. That’s why Massimo was asked to buy the club. GFH were very fortunate in my opinion to find Massimo Cellino. He’s shown how capable he is of restructuring it.” GFH remain as minority shareholders and still control 25 per cent of the club. Shared ownership is something Cellino seems to tolerate reluctantly. Is the Bahraini bank a worthwhile partner? “With respect, the question is the wrong one,” Umbers says. “They owned a 100 per cent of the club and they only sold 75 per cent. It was their decision to keep 25 per cent. That’s why there’s a partnership.” Cellino himself is absent from Leeds, banned from running the club until April 10. The Football League disqualified him last week over a tax conviction imposed on him in Italy last March, leading to Umbers’ appointment as chairman. Umbers says his position is permanent. He talks about the need to re-engage with the local community, claiming the connection was broken by past regimes. The Leeds United Foundation will continue to operate under Cellino. Club officials have met with senior figures at Leeds City Council to discuss numerous issues, including the building of a new training ground. The council’s chief executive, Tom Riordan, wrote a statement of support for Cellino in his appeal against Football League disqualification. “They supported us on the basis that they’ve had the right representations from us,” Umbers says. “We have massively interesting developments that we’re working with the council on. More about that next month.” Umbers says that with Cellino absent, Leeds are financially sound. We have a very healthy cash balance in our bank account.” What is less healthy is United’s league position; 20th in the Championship, five points clear of relegation. Umbers admits that relegation would have severe consequences – “of course attendances would drop, of course commercial income could drop” – but claims the restructuring of the past nine months would guard against collapse. “This club would still be around,” he insists. For 70-odd days, the ship is his to steer.It’s a privileged position,” Umbers says, “and what we’re trying to do doesn’t take six months. It takes a minimum of two years. To start with you have to put in the hard yards and make the club financial viable.” In his opinion, Leeds are on that course


Ngoyi becomes signing number two during the window

Jan 26th Ngoyi signs on to becone number 2 in Jan Leeds United can confirm the signing of midfielder Granddi Ngoyi on loan from Palermo for the remainder of the season. The Frenchman becomes United’s second loan signing of the January transfer window following the arrival of Palermo team-mate Sol Bamba. Ngoyi, a former France Under-21s international, plays primarily in a defensive midfield role and provided back-up to Claude Makele during his early days at Paris Saint-Germain. The 26-year-old began his career in the French capital, progressing through the ranks at PSG before going on to make 31 appearances at the club. His five years with the Ligue 1 giants included three spells out on loan with Clermont Foot, Brest and Nantes respectively, as he looked to gain regular football in France. After departing PSG in 2012, N’Goyi joined newly-promoted Troyes, where he scored once in his 31 appearances before making the switch to Palermo in summer 2013 after just one season. His first campaign in Italy resulted in promotion to Serie A, but he had been limited to five appearances in the Italian top-flight prior to joining United. Ngoyi is capped at U19s and U20s level for France, but is also eligible to represent DR Congo due to having Congolese parents. The deal bringing Ngoyi to Elland Road is subject to Football League approval.


Changes afoot at Elland Road

Fri Jan 23rd. Redfrean happy with Bamba and competition for central defence United head coach Neil Redfearn has spoken of his delight at the loan capture of defender Sol Bamba from Serie A side Palermo. Bamba, an Ivory Coast international, has signed until the end of the 2014/15 Sky Bet Championship season and Redfearn is pleased with the acquisition. “Sol trained with us for the first time on Friday morning and from what I have seen he looks like he will be a really good addition to the squad. “We know about Sol and what he can bring to the side. He knows the Championship and British football from his time at Leicester City and also from playing up in Scotland. “He can play both left and right side of the defence and he brings great experience that is key in the Championship.” The arrival of the Ivory Coast international brings added competition to the defensive side of the playing squad, and Redfearn says that can only be a good thing. “Sol being with us brings competition for the two centre-back places,” added the United boss. “He now joins Liam Cooper, Jason Pearce, Giuseppe Bellusci and Dario Del Fabro in competing for those two spots. “Competition keeps players on their toes, both in training and on a matchday. They know if they play well they will keep the shirt. “Every player in this squad is important, and they all have to be ready to play when called upon.”


Sol Bamba is the Whites first signing of the January transfer window

Fri 23rd of January. Bamba seals move to Whites Leeds United can now confirm Ivory Coast international Sol Bamba has completed a loan switch from Palermo for the remainder of the season. The former Leicester City defender becomes United’s first signing of the January transfer window. Bamba, an experienced centre-back, is an established part of the Ivory Coast set-up with 44 caps to his name, and completed all three of their World Cup group games over the summer. The 30-year-old progressed through the youth system at Paris Saint-Germain before going on to spend five years in Scotland with Dunfermline Athletic and then Hibernian. January 2011 saw him move to English football as he re-united with former Ivory Coast boss Sven-Goran Eriksson in the Championship with Leicester City. Bamba made a dream debut for the Foxes, scoring with his first touch in a 2-2 FA Cup draw with Manchester City. The defender made a total of 55 appearances at Leicester, scoring four times, before going on to join Turkish outfit Trabzonspor in 2012. He made the switch to Palermo last summer, penning a three-year deal, but has been restricted to just one appearance in Serie A so far this season. Fri Jan 23rd. Umbers steps in to replace Cellino ‘temperarily’ The club can confirm that board director Andrew Umbers will be appointed Leeds United chairman in the absence of Massimo Cellino. Mr Cellino said: “Following my resignation and in my temporary absence, the board has appointed Andrew Umbers to become chairman of Leeds United. “Andrew has personally worked tirelessly with me in restructuring the football club from May 2014 and shares the same goals, strategy and insights that I do in bringing Leeds United back from its financial abyss to make it the strong entity that its fans, players and city need it to be and to which these foundations are now in place. “Andrew is also a Yorkshireman and lifelong Leeds United fan.” Andrew Umbers has thirty years banking experience primarily as Managing Director of European Equities at Credit Suisse and as Chief Executive of Evolution Securities and Board director of Evolution Group. For the last three years as Chairman of Oakwell Capital Partners he has focussed on providing capital and advisory services to the sports industry. Fri 23rd of Jan Cellino steps down Massimo Cellino has resigned from his post at Leeds United. Mr Cellino said It is with great sadness and frustration that I have to take this step, however I abide by the Football League’s decision to temporarily disqualify me from this great football club and will return in April in good health and good spirits. “I have done my best for a club and fans that I hold close to my heart and it is now financially much stronger than it has been for a long time. It will continue to thrive and I am sincerely looking forward to returning very soon.” Still Marching on Together.


Bamba almost a done deal


Ngoyi hopefully will have more of an impact than the other midfield arrivals

Thurs 22nd of January Leeds close in on first Januaray window sigbings – Phil Hay Sol Bamba and Granddi Ngoyi are awaiting the finishing touches on transfers to Leeds United as the club close in on their first signings of the January transfer window. Centre-back Bamba and midfielder Ngoyi have been lined up for half-season loans at Elland Road and should seal their moves from Italian club Palermo before the end of this week. A deal for Bamba – the former Leicester City and Hibernian defender – has been on the cards since last weekend and the importance of his arrival was heightened by a two-game ban imposed on Giuseppe Bellusci in midweek. Bellusci received a straight red card towards the end of United’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth and will miss their upcoming matches against Huddersfield Town and Brentford. Bamba and Ngoyi are due to be added to United’s squad in time to secure international clearance and compete for places in Neil Redfearn’s squad at Huddersfield next weekend. Ngoyi came onto United’s radar during the early stages of the January window and an agreement with Palermo for his signature was reached earlier this week. The 26-year-old Frenchman has been with Palermo for the past 18 months, his first stint outside of the French league. Ngoyi – a defensive midfielder – started his career at Paris Saint-Germain and also played for Troyes before departing for Italy in 2013. He won promotion from Serie B with Palermo last season. Bamba was one of the Italian club’s signings following their rise to Serie A but despite accepting a three-year contract in August, the 30-year-old has only made one league appearance. Leeds, who are under a Financial Fair Play transfer embargo and cannot pay fees for players this month, have negotiated clauses allowing them to take Bamba and Ngoyi on a permanent basis at the end of the Championship season. The initial loan moves are still subject to the completion of paperwork at Elland Road. The pair’s arrival in Leeds is likely to be followed by at least one further signing with United continuing to look for a new striker. Catania’s Edgar Cani and Sassuolo’s Leonardo Pavoletti are the club’s main targets. Speaking after United’s crucial win over Bournemouth – a result which pulled Leeds away from the Championship’s relegation zone – head coach Neil Redfearn said: “We want to bring players in but we don’t want to bring players in who are just as good as what we’ve got. “They need to be better because the players here are playing well.” Weds Jan 33nd – Leeds United: Club may well suffer as result of Cellino’s ban – Lorimer I’ve got a lot of sympathy for Massimo Cellino. Genuine sympathy. He’s been owner of Leeds United for nine months and it seems to me that he’s never had a chance. Whether you like him or not, he’s faced problems from the word go. Having come through the Football League’s attempt to block his original takeover, he then discovered that the club were in a far bigger mess than anyone realised. For a lot of Gulf Finance House’s time as owner, we were told that things were picking up behind the scenes. As it turned out they were actually getting worse. Cellino threw himself into a right old mess and I’d still question whether anyone else would have taken on the shambles he paid for last April. It felt like a massive job. As far as I can tell, since then he’s found bill after bill, debt after debt and liability after liability. I don’t think at any stage he’s ever had the opportunity to feel like everything was in hand or in control. And now he’s been told to step away from the club until April 10. In his shoes, I’d be very deflated and a bit sick of it all. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been plain sailing with him in charge and he’d probably admit himself that he’s made mistakes. But I find it quite hard to judge these nine months objectively. It seems like at every turn, someone has been trying to pull the rug out from under his feet. And at the end of the day it’s the club that will suffer. As far as his disqualification as owner goes, the Football League will say that it’s enforcing the rules that every club agreed to. I guess that’s true. But in some cases I wonder if many of the rules are fit for purpose. Take our transfer embargo. The reason we’re under embargo this month is because the club lost so much money during GFH’s time in charge. How is it fair that a different owner has to pay the price for that? It doesn’t make sense to me. And once again this has been dumped directly on Cellino’s doormat. If you think about it, in the summer transfer window we signed 15 players. Not all of those deals have worked out well. But still, bringing new faces to the club wasn’t a problem. This month we’ve signed no-one and while I don’t doubt that the uncertainty about ownership has played a part, I wonder too if part of the problem is the limits set by this transfer embargo. We need new players because it’s going to take a massive effort from the squad to reach the end of the season unscathed. I’m still hopeful that we’ll avoid relegation. But I do worry that for the duration of Cellino’s ban, the impact on the squad could be a negative one. And if it is a negative one, we’re in very serious trouble. This is my big frustration with the Football League. We’re being told that this ban is for the good of the game and for the good of our club but I don’t see that it is. There’ll be some supporters out there who don’t like Cellino and want a change of ownership, and that’s up to them. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. But how many other buyers are out there? In all seriousness, how many have the money to buy the club and turn it around? It’s a bit flippant to assume that if Cellino gives up we’ll have a crowd of wealthy investors to choose from. When Cellino first bought Leeds I honestly thought that he had the money and the vision to get it right at Elland Road. When I speak to him, I still think he knows what he wants to do – if only he was given the chance and the freedom to do it. I’ve no idea how he’ll be feeling now and I’ve no idea what his next move will be. I assume we’ll see him back in April but 79 days is quite a long time in football. In the meantime, I worry for our club and the damage this will do.


Lewis Cook still only 17 and already the best play at the football club

Weds Jan 22nd Leeds United: Keeping Cook is vital – Redfearn Neil Redfearn described Lewis Cook as the best academy player I’ve ever seen” as he urged Leeds United to tie the 17-year-old to a longer contract at Elland Road. Redfearn said the retention of Cook, whose existing deal runs to 2016, should be an essential part of United’s future plans after the midfielder stole the show in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Championship leaders Bournemouth. Leeds are understood to have opened negotiations with Cook about an extension of his contract and the youngster’s value is increasing rapidly on the strength of his maiden season as a first-team player. Cook made his breakthrough from the academy in August, three months after featuring in England’s European Under-17 Championship-winning squad, and he has been heavily used by Redfearn since the 49-year-old took over as head coach. Redfearn oversaw Cook’s development during his time in charge of Leeds’ youth-team system – a job the 49-year-old gave up to take control of the senior side in November – and he admitted that the teenager’s talent exceeded that of any other junior footballer he had worked with. “He’s the best I’ve seen by a mile,” Redfearn said.If we’re going to be successful and get to the Premier League, we’ve got to keep Lewis Cook. It’s as simple as that. “You forget he’s 17 years old but what an immense talent he is. He’s got this presence, this power and this drive about him and the kid can play. His best position is where he can dictate and he dictated that game (on Tuesday). He was the best player on the pitch.” Cook was named in England’s Under-18 squad before Christmas and Sean O’Driscoll, the current England Under-19 coach, attended last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Birmingham City. The midfielder has started 21 league games this season – more than all but two other outfield players at Leeds – and United are relying heavily on their academy products, with Sam Byram, Alex Mowatt and Charlie Taylor also established in the club’s line-up. Cook shone throughout Tuesday’s win over Bournemouth, a crucial result which put six points between Leeds and the Championship’s relegation places. “He’s a great kid and he doesn’t miss anything with his education or his scholarship,” Redfearn said. “He’s still collecting the (training) mannequins because it’s part of his scholar duties. Then he goes out there and plays like that.” Discussions with Cook’s representatives about a new deal are likely to continue during the second half of the campaign, despite Massimo Cellino’s ban as owner of Leeds. Cellino was formally barred by the Football League after losing an appeal against his disqualification on Monday. The 58-year-old was given 48 hours – until noon yesterday – to resign as a director at Elland Road but United are yet to officially announce his departure from the board. The ex-Cagliari president is subject to a short-term suspension which ends on April 10 and Leeds are expected to complete a number of new signings before their next game at Huddersfield Town on January 31. Cellino cooks the players their pre match meal v Bournemouth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAgqUWskiNQ#t=90 Jan 20th Managers’ reactions  Eddie Howe : “We created a number of chances in the second half and a couple at the end of the first half when we finished very strongly.”But the big disappointment for us was the way we started and the way we gave Leeds a chance to get their crowd behind them early in the game. Our game-plan had been to quieten the crowd and try to make a fast start but they put us under pressure and I thought they played well in the first half…”…I thought we got into some great attacking positions and some of our forward play was very strong but for the final part. Our record would say we have been very strong in that department and it`s unlike us. The penalty summed up our night in front of goal.”They scored a good goal and, unfortunately for us, it just seemed like one of those nights when the ball wouldn`t go in.” Neil RedfearnIt’s tough times at the moment but we proved with that performance that the club’s alive and kicking,” Redfearn said. “At the moment the football is our saving grace. It’s something you enjoy doing and something you can lose yourself in. I’ve said from day one that Bournemouth are the best footballing side in the division but in the first half in particular we pressured them to death. We rode our luck a bit at the end but because of the work rate we deserved our luck. That’s four games running now where we’ve played well.” Only 15 points off the play offs – the Optimist. Jan 20th Leeds 1 (Murphy 36), BOURNEMOUTH 0. (Report from Official website) United: Silvestri, Wootton, Bellusci, Cooper, C Taylor, Byram, Murphy, Austin (Berardi 90), Cook, Mowatt (Pearce 87), Morison (Sharp 67). Subs. S Taylor, Bianchi, Antenucci, Doukara. Referee: O Langford Booked: Cook, Byram (United), Francis (Bournemouth) Sent off: Bellusci (United Att: 17,634 The midweek visit of league leaders Bournemouth saw United head coach make just the one change from the draw with Birmingham as Alex Mowatt was recalled in place of Mirco Antenucci. Elsewhere, Gaetano Berardi returned from injury to occupy a place among the substitutes. It was the visitors who had the first sight of goal on four minutes, Callum Wilson dragging wide after racing away up-field, before Brett Pitman scraped the side-netting as he looked to turn home a low Marc Pugh cross. But United were quick to threaten themselves and Rodolph Austin forced Artur Boruc into tipping his header over the bar following Mowatt’s floated cross. Simon Francis was then the saviour for Bournemouth, keeping the scoreline level as he hacked Steve Morison’s dangerous-looking cross away from the feet of the awaiting Mowatt, before Austin twice fired wide in quick-succession as United began to enjoy the better of proceedings inside the opening 20 minutes. There was a visible air of confidence from Redfearn’s side as the home crowd urged them forward, and volume levels inside Elland Road were notched up a level when Luke Murphy’s rasping long-range drive was diverted over the bar by an acrobatic Boruc save.


Luke Murphy celebrates

It was largely one-way traffic and United deservedly took the lead on 37 minutes as Murphy made it two goals in as many games with a stunning left-footed strike from 25 yards. Austin teed up the midfielder and Murphy let fly in front of the South Stand, with the ball sailing beyond the sprawling Boruc and into the top corner. The visitors looked to respond and thought they had pulled level almost immediately as Pitman tucked away Wilson’s rebounded effort, only to be denied by the offside flag. Marco Silvestri was then called into action as he clutched Wilson’s goal-bound header right on the goalline to preserve the lead on the stroke of half-time. Both sides returned unchanged from the break and United quickly began the second half on the front foot as Morison raced behind the Bournemouth defence, only to be hauled down by Simon Francis, who went into the book for his troubles, before Austin blazed over from a tight angle. A quieter period followed and the United defence stood firm to clear a couple of balls into the box before Matt Ritchie fired well wide from distance as he looked to catch Silvestri off his line. Wilson then came close to finding an equaliser for Bournemouth as he poked inches wide after working his way into the area. And the Cherries striker came even closer moments later after being slotted through on goal to lift over the onrushing Silvestri, but the home fans were relieved to see his effort go just wide of the post. Redfearn then made his first substitution of the evening on 67 minutes as Billy Sharp replaced the tireless Morison in attack. Bournemouth were starting to assert some serious pressure inside the United half as they began to enjoy more of possession, but Redfearn’s side remained organised and compact, restricting substitute Dan Gosling into firing a speculative effort wide from range. United held firm and soon had the chance to go on the attack themselves as the effervescent Lewis Cook sent Byram hurtling through on goal down the right. The full-back’s low strike cannoned back off the legs of Boruc before Austin saw his headed rebound scrambled off the line by some desperate Bournemouth defending. The visitors quickly re-found their stride, though, as Pugh clipped the post after turning free inside the area before the United defence managed to clear their lines from the penalty-box pinball which ensued. Andrew Surman then lashed wide before the hosts survived even more late drama. Giuseppe Bellusci was shown a straight red card after being adjudged to have brought Wilson down inside the area, prompting referee Oliver Langford to point to the spot on 87 minutes. Substitute Yann Kermorgant stepped up from 12 yards but smashed his penalty against the bar and over to the delight of the home crowd. Jason Pearce was introduced in place of Mowatt as four minutes of stoppage time were added on. The 10 men of United were hanging on but the final whistle brought Elland Road to its feet as Redfearn’s side celebrated doing the double over the Cherries and securing their first win since late November.


Former Leicester City defender, Sol Bamba looks like he is on his way to United

Tues 20th . Bamba to sign on Weds ? Palermo defender Sol Bamba will reportedly join Leeds United tomorrow. The 30-year-old Ivory Coast international arrived as a free agent from Trabzonspor over the summer, but has made only one appearance for the club this season. The Sicilians confirmed Bamba is on the market and will leave over the January window. According to Sky Sport Italia, he is due to complete his transfer to Leeds United on Wednesday. His only match in a Palermo jersey was the 3-3 draw at Napoli on September 24 2014.

Tuesday January 20th Celino – Is this the start of the long goodbye ? Phil Hay

Seventy-nine days in a retreat of his choosing and back in business at Leeds United before May but the length of Massimo Cellino’s disqualification will not stop people asking if this is the start of the long goodbye.

In a deflated frame of mind this afternoon, Cellino must be thinking the same. His needle with the Football League stemmed from the tax conviction imposed on him by an Italian court last year but the appeal which he lost today (Jan 19) was about points of principle and the credibility of the Football League’s rules.

The governing body won and Cellino’s knows they will win again.

He touched on the implications of an unsuccessful appeal when his ban as owner of Leeds was announced on December 1. “If the League ban me for this, they can ban me for every parking ticket, for any little thing they accuse me of in Italy,” Cellino complained, but the imminent cases awaiting him in his homeland are more serious than simple parking fines.

Massimo Cellino gallery

Looks like the Football league have been sniping at Cellino for a long time and he may be on his last legs at Leeds

They are charges of tax evasion, much the same as the crime he was found guilty of by a judge in Cagliari in March. On that occasion, Cellino was convicted of failing to pay VAT on a private yacht called ‘Nelie’. The judgement of the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) which upheld his Football League disqualification today said Cellino was guilty of “deceptive simulation” in that cases.

Later this year, he is expected to stand trial twice more over non-payment of import duty owed on a second yacht, ‘Lucky 23’, and a Range Rover. The risk to him now is that a guilty verdict on one or either of those charges will result in a fresh disqualification as United’s owner. And so it goes on.

At his PCC hearing last week, Cellino tried to argue that his offence in Italy was not a conviction under Italian law while it remained subject to appeal. The PCC rejected his claim, saying: “That is not the position under the League’s rules, which are governed by English law.” In other words, Cellino has no protection from future convictions of a similar nature in Italy. As the majority shareholder of an English football club, he is badly exposed.

The egotist in Cellino resented the fact that the League was attempting to paint him as “a crook”. “I cannot accept that,” he said last week. “It humiliates me and my family and it’s not true. I feel as if I’m forcing England to accept me.” A successful appeal would have driven a bus through the governing body’s Owners and Directors Test, offering immunity against certain tax charges. In light of his defeat, the 58-year-old has none.

Today’s result will not have come as a surprise. Sources close to Cellino described Thursday’s appeal – held at the London offices of the Football League’s solicitors, Bird and Bird – as a “hard hearing”. But even those around him are not certain about what he will do or how he will react. They are not clear if the PCC’s ruling against him will start the countdown to the sale of his and Eleonora Sport Limited’s 75 per cent stake in the club.

When the date of his appeal was agreed last month, Cellino was told that he would be required to resign from the board of directors at Leeds within 48 hours of a verdict in the Football League’s favour. He has until Wednesday to step down and take steps to convince the League that he is no longer exerting influence on the club or acting as a “relevant person”.

Discussions are on-going about who will take control of United in his absence. Authority could pass to Matt Child, the club’s newly-appointed chief operating officer, or Andrew Umbers, the financier who helped arrange Gulf Finance House’s ill-fated purchase of Leeds from Ken Bates in December 2012.

Umbers joined the board at Elland Road last month and supported Cellino’s appeal against his disqualification, telling the PCC in a statement that banning the Italian would have “severe adverse consequences” for Leeds and create a “a real likelihood of insolvency”. The Football League’s lawyer, Jonathan Taylor, said Umbers’ claims were “exaggerated, speculative and unsupported by any external evidence or, tellingly, by any evidence from Mr Cellino himself.”

GFH, which sold United to Cellino last April, continues to control a 25 per cent stake in the club and is currently held in favour by Cellino. He and GFH met before Christmas to resolve their many differences. But those who helped Cellino plan for the possibility of disqualification as owner say passing temporary back to GFH is not an option. The Bahraini bank remains deeply unpopular with the club’s support and has had next to no involvement in day-to-day decisions since Cellino’s buy-out nine months ago.

In the short-term a suitable solution will be found. Minus Cellino, Leeds will tick over in the midst of a fight against relegation from the Championship until his ban ends on April 10. The club are still working at a financial loss – albeit a smaller loss than they were when GFH sold up – but the threat of administration voiced by Umbers is not being echoed by others at Elland Road.

There are suggestions too that new players will arrive shortly and a deal with Palermo defender Sol Bamba is one of several which Leeds are pushing to complete. Cellino’s sabbatical is unlikely to alter the identity of the signings United move for or the way the club are managed. They will be run in his image, regardless of Cellino’s whereabouts. And some will tell him that investment in players is still a prudent course. If he feels compelled to sell United in the near future, it will help with levels of interest and the asking price if Leeds are still a Championship team.

The long term is where the real uncertainty lies. The message to Cellino from his failed appeal is that for as long as the Italian justice system is chasing him, the men in charge of English football will give him no quarter. For him, it’s a question of how much hassle and disruption he can cope with; of whether Leeds can achieve anywhere if he is forced to dip in and out of Elland Road at regular intervals.

At no stage of the disqualification process has Cellino been formally instructed to sell Eleonora’s stake in United. On the contrary, Taylor told the PCC that Cellino’s “family members would not necessarily have to divest themselves of their stakes in the club.” The tune could change in due course and in the light of Cellino’s failed appeal but the League might wish that such an outcome was so straightforward.

According to United’s latest accounts, the club owe GFH more than £20m in loans. The bank and Cellino have been negotiating a restructuring of those debts but they have not disappeared completely. Cellino and parties connected to him loaned more than £12m to Leeds before the start of July, and only he knows how much since. There are black holes at Elland Road and no single shareholder. In the meantime, Leeds are in danger of being relegated. As nicely-packaged takeovers go, selling the club would be anything but.

The presence of two Football League board members on the PCC – Greg Clarke and Richard Bowker – was agreed at United’s insistence. Despite the fact that both men had taken part in the vote to ban Cellino in the first place, it was felt that they might show sympathy or leniency when the impact of his disqualification was spelled out to them.

As it turned out, that support was not forthcoming. The panel upheld the view that Cellino’s offence in Italy was and is a formal conviction. They upheld the view that it was dishonest. They dismissed the idea that Leeds would be prone to financial collapse in Cellino’s absence and they rejected his hopeful suggestion that a failed appeal should result in a ban of ‘nil’ days. “The remaining period of the ban, 79 days, is short when measured against the conduct of which Mr Cellino was convicted,” the PCC’s judgement c

Cellino’s belief – held for many months – is that the Football League wants him gone; not for 79 days but for good. Nothing in today’s verdict will persuade him otherwise. The Italian still has options; he could approach the Football Association for arbitration or take other legal avenues. But both would cost time, money and energy, all of which he is tired of spending despite his inherent desire to fight on. It remains to be seen if this kick in Cellino’s ribs is one dig to many.


Born: July 28, 1956. Age: 58.

1992: Purchases Serie A side Cagliari and sacks 35 managers in the next 21 years at the club.

1996: Given a suspended 14-month sentence after being convicted of deceiving the EU and Italian Ministry of Agriculture out of £7.5m.

2001: 15-month suspended sentence for false accounting at Cagliari.

2013: Arrested as part of an investigation into whether public money was improperly used to finance building part of Cagliari’s stadium.

February 2014: Leeds United announce that Cellino has agreed a 75 per cent buy-out of the club, subject to Football League approval.

March 2014: A court in Sardinia finds Cellino guilty of illegally evading import duty. Ordered to pay a €600,000 (£500,000) fine after being convicted of failing to pay €388,500 in tax on Nelie, a yacht seized by Italian police and customs officials in June 2013.

Football League vote unanimously to block Cellino’s takeover of Leeds and disqualify him from owning the club after failing their owners and directors test.

April 2014: Cellino wins his appeal to an independent QC against the league decision, with his Eleonora Sports company completing the purchase of a 75 per cent stake in Leeds from Gulf Finance House Capital.

June 2014: Cellino agrees to sell Cagliari to Italian company Fluorsid for an undisclosed fee.

October 2014: Cellino’s court trial in Sardinia for tax evasion for allegedly failing to pay import duty of around £75,000 on a second yacht, Lucky 23, is delayed after the judge decided to step down due to a conflict of interest.

December 2014: The Football League announce that Cellino has again been disqualified from owning the club after they received detailed evidence from the Italian court that convicted him of tax evasion on his yacht Nelie.



Tuesday 20th of January Massimo Cellino case at Leeds United exposes frailty of fit and proper test David Conn Given supporters’ many dissatisfactions with the new generation of owners buying historic clubs as personal investments, it should feel like a victory that the Football League has asserted its rules and barred Massimo Cellino from owning Leeds due to his criminal conviction for dishonesty. Cellino, a multimillionaire mostly resident in Miami from where he runs his family’s flour firm, and Leeds also face a further misconduct charge for refusing to give the League a copy of the written reasons for his conviction in Sardinia. In them, the League’s professional conduct committee has finally confirmed, the judge in Cagliari, Sandra Lepore, found he evaded tax on his yacht, the Nelie, with “macchiavellica simulazione” and “intento elusivo“. The League’s committee, chaired by Tim Kerr QC, found itself delving into several different Italian-English dizionarios, and concluded neither of Lepore’s descriptions did much to help Cellino’s defence that he had not been dishonest. Cellino had argued the yacht was owned by a company, Freetime Miami LLC, and he was authorised to use it as the manager of the company, so no VAT was payable. The judge found Cellino was the only shareholder and director of Freetime, that it was set up for the sole purpose of buying that yacht, and the yacht was exclusively for Cellino’s personal use. She found, as the Guardian revealed when it saw the judgment, Cellino was the real owner and Freetime was just a “schermo societario fittizio“, a fictitious shell company, established purposely to enable Cellino to evade VAT on imports. The fact that despite repeated requests Cellino would not hand the League the written reasons did not, presumably, weigh any balance of doubt in his favour, although it has worked to reduce the length of his ban, until after the conviction is spent, on 28 March. The governance of clubs has progressed a long way since the game had no rules whatsoever requiring “fit and proper” people in charge, as recently as 10 years ago. The 31-page appeal ruling by Kerr, weaving through Italian law and language, with pricy lawyers on each side, is evidence of the effort to properly enforce the rules. Any regulations to encourage decent people to be in charge of clubs would surely bar people who get themselves convicted for criminal dishonesty – and yet, somehow, this does not feel like a victory to many Leeds fans and football people. There are several reasons. It is messy, as Cellino was allowed to take over, by Kerr’s unsatisfactory ruling last year, reasoning that although he was already convicted, Kerr could not say at that point it involved dishonesty because Lepore had not produced her written reasons. Barring crooks is a lot easier if done before they take over, rather than once they are shaping the club in their own image. With Cellino completely in charge, this ban looks fiendishly difficult to enforce – this is the next challenge for the League. The committee, which included the League chairman Greg Clarke and former rail regulator Richard Bowker flanking Kerr, was explicit that Cellino himself owns Leeds “through corporate vehicles controlled by him and his family”. The rules bar him from being a director – which is the easier part – and from owning 30% or more of Leeds. A barred person must not simply be able to pass ownership to a friend or family member as a charade, nor must he continue to exercise any influence. Any ceding or sale of the shares must be permanent; the ban and rules are meaningless if shares are held in trust or safekeeping until a conviction is spent. It also feels odd that Cellino will simply walk back in when that happens and the ban is served by 10 April. He has shown no remorse – he would argue, presumably, that he has no need to because he is still appealing in Italy – and has two more similar tax evasion prosecutions coming up, yet the rules will allow him to take over again in less than three months. This is messy too because despite his predictably erratic ways including the sacking of two managers and employment of the inexperienced Neil Redfearn, and Leeds scrabbling just above the relegation zone, a sizeable chunk of the support has taken to Cellino. He is understood to have put £20m into the club – £8m in equity, £12m in loans – to try to bail out yet another dire financial morass which is the default fate of the modern Leeds United. Fans cast back at the club’s trials since its first financial collapse in 2002 and question why Cellino is the only owner to have faced any censure – and this for something to do with a yacht in a marina a long way from Yorkshire. The League’s employment of Shaun Harvey as chief executive – fresh from faithfully serving the Ken Bates regime at Elland Road, with its 2007 administration, undeclared offshore owners and adverse court findings of libel and harassment of the former director Melvyn Levi – has mystified Leeds fans. It has also led to suspicion, although the League has insisted it is only enforcing its rules and that Harvey has absented himself from the decision-making. That leads to the overall way in which this feels like a mess: many supporters argue it is not actually protecting the club from damage, but hitting the one owner who has significantly invested – although Gulf Finance House, the much-maligned Bahraini bank, did put in £20m in loans. The “fit and proper person” rules are narrowly defined, not shaping the game with any vision for good ownership. They are seen by many in Leeds to be not operating in the best interests of a club which has been in dire need of help for years, but as unfairly singling Cellino out as a wrong ’un. The League needs to learn from this, because what should be seen as an admirable enforcement of necessary rules, is instead being resented, and the once mighty Leeds are marching on into another crisis.

Tuesday Jan 20th. ‘I will be back’ – Cellino YP Massimo Cellino delivered a defiant outburst in the wake of his Football League disqualification last night, saying his ban as owner of Leeds United changes nothing” and claiming “someone else will sign the cheques for me.” Cellino vowed to “abide by the rules” after failing with an appeal against a Football League ruling barring him from running Leeds until the second week of April but he said questions about his long-term future were “stupid”. A Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) chaired by QC Tim Kerr enforced a 79-day ban of Cellino yesterday by ruling that his conviction for tax evasion in Italy last March was in breach of the Football League’s Owners and Directors’ Test. Cellino must resign from the board at Leeds by tomorrow and the PCC’s decision bars him from acting as a “relevant person” at Elland Road or influencing the club’s affairs in any way before his suspension ends on April 10. The former Cagliari owner will meet with his legal team today to decide how power will be delegated in his absence but speaking to the YEP, Cellino said: “This changes nothing. “I’ll abide by the rules, I’ll resign but then in April, finito, I’ll come back. I was signing the cheques before. “Now someone else will sign them for me. The club has been looked after. “The League say I must go but where do they want me to go? Miami or Cagliari? I’ll go where I like and I’m going nowhere. If I want to live in Leeds, I’ll live in Leeds. I’ll follow the rules but I’ll stay in Leeds.” During Cellino’s appeal hearing last Thursday, another United board member – financier Andrew Umbers – told the PCC that Leeds would face a “real likelihood of insolvency” if the Italian’s ban was upheld. Cellino, however, contradicted that comment, saying: The club is healthy, it has wealth. It will pay its bills while I’m not here, that is no problem.” Cellino’s existing conviction for tax evasion in Italy will be classed as spent under UK law by the time his ownership ban ends but he is facing further charges of a similar nature in Cagliari, charges which could lead to further Football League disqualifications. The threat of repeated bans raised questions today about whether Cellino would look to retain the 75 per cent stake in United bought by his British firm, Eleonora Sport Limited, in April or seek to offload a club he has controlled for just nine months. Despite the PCC’s judgement, the Football League has not instructed Cellino to give up his shareholding and the PCC did not rule on whether Cellino should be ordered to sell. United are currently three places above the Championship’s relegation places ahead of tonight’s game against league leaders Bournemouth at Elland Road, and Cellino said: “Why talk about selling the club. It’s stupid. Can I sell this club in one week? “If I try to sell and it takes six months then we’ll get relegated. I’m here and I’m thinking about the team. I think I’m going to get a reaction from them. They need to fight for me and the fans need to fight too. They need to show me how tough they are. We need to win games.” Cellino, however, claimed three players – Souleymane Doukara, Casper Sloth and Tommaso Bianchi – had indicated their intention to quit Elland Road if his appeal failed and he insisted again that his ban was hindering attempts to sign new players. “This disqualification kills us,” he said. “We have to persuade players to come and we have to persuade players not to leave us. A lot of the players want to leave.” With his appeal over, Cellino and Leeds are still facing a misconduct charge for failing to supply the Football League with the court judgment from his tax case in Italy when it first became available in July. The governing body was forced to wait until November for a copy of the written verdict and only secured it via a request to the court of appeal in Cagliari. A date for the misconduct hearing, which will be handled by a Football Disciplinary Commission, is yet to be announced. Cellino could face an extended disqualification if he is found guilty.

January19th. Cellino loses appeal LEEDS UNITED have been plunged into further chaos today with owner Massimo Cellino having lost his appeal against his disqualification from owning the club. A three-man Professional Conduct Committee, who heard Cellino’s case on Thursday, have arrived at their verdict, with the Italian’s ban from owning the club or sitting as a club director upheld. Cellino had been barred by the Football League’s board from being an owner and Cellinodirector of Leeds in December after it ruled that his conviction in Italy for tax evasion – for not paying import duty on his yacht Nelie – was a “dishonest act” which failed to satisfy their fit and proper owners and directors’ test. Cellino subsequently decided to appeal, but the challenge has proved unsuccessful. Cellino has been disqualified from acting as a “relevant person” at Leeds United (ie owner or director) until April 10, 2015.A further misconduct charge against Cellino and the Club for failing to supply the Italian Court judgment to The Football League when it first became available will be heard by a Football Disciplinary Commission in line with League regulations in due course. The league statement in full read: “Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) chaired by Tim Kerr QC has rejected an appeal by Leeds United President Massimo Cellino against the recent decision by the Board of The Football League that he is subject to a disqualifying condition under its Owners’ and Directors’ Test. “The PCC found that the reasoned judgment of the Italian Court, once it had become available, was for an act involving dishonesty as determined by the Board in its original ruling in March 2014. “Mr. Cellino’s appeal against that original decision had been upheld on the basis that it could not be concluded that the offence necessarily involved a ‘Dishonest Act’ for the purposes of the Test. “Once the reasoned judgment became available, the Board considered the matter again and concluded that it clearly demonstrated that Mr. Cellino’s offence did indeed involve acts that would reasonably be considered to be dishonest.” In its judgment, dismissing Mr Cellino’s appeal against the decision, the PCC stateD: “We consider that the judge’s findings of fact and her description of Mr. Cellino’s state of mind based on them, is of conduct which would reasonably be considered to be dishonest. We therefore conclude that Mr.Cellino has been convicted of an offence involving a ‘Dishonest Act’ within the meaning of the rules, and that he is accordingly subject to a ‘Disqualifying Condition’.” A Football League spokesman said: “The Football League’s sole objective throughout this process has been to ensure that our regulations, as democratically approved by our member clubs, are complied with. “These regulations uphold principles relating to club ownership that are widely recognised to be in the interests of the game and have the support of the other football authorities, the Government and football supporters generally.” Meanwhile, Leeds have made a brief statement and expressed their surprise and disappointment at the decision to uphold Cellino’s ban. A club statement said: “Mr Cellino would like to thank the fans, sponsors and members of the wider footballing community that have given him overwhelming support, not just since the disqualifying order was issued but since he arrived at the club. “We are surprised and disappointed by the verdict, however we are continuing to take legal advice.“We will release further statements in due course.”The decision further adds to the unstable situation at Leeds, with Cellino – tellingly ahead of the appeal last week – speaking about being “worried for the club, not just the season’. He went onto add that Leeds could face severe financial problems if he had to cede control of the club. Speaking before his appeal was heard on Thursday, Cellino said: “I worry for the club, not just the season. Tomorrow is a big day.“If I’m not here, if I can’t help, then who looks after the club? I don’t know what the League will do. If they force me out and tell me to sell, do I go or do I fight?“I didn’t buy the club to sell it again and anyway, how long does it take to sell a club?“I worry about what would happen in that time and how the club would survive. “But at this moment I feel like I am forcing England to accept me.This is hurting us. I try to sign players but many players want to know if I’ll be here. And if not, what then? We have the embargo and that hurts us too. “We aren’t free to buy the players we want.”Cellino sought to have his disqualification from United overturned at a hearing last Thursday.His appeal was heard by a three-person professional conduct committee, chaired by Tim Kerr QC. Cellino had originally fined 600,000 euros (£465,000) by a court in Sardinia last March after being found guilty of failing to pay import duty on his yacht, Nelie. Kerr was also the person who allowed Cellino’s original appeal back in April on the basis that there were no written reasons available from the court case which would determine whether it was a dishonest act or not. However, the QC stated in his decision allowing that appeal: If the reasoned ruling of the court in Cagliari discloses the conduct of Mr Cellino was such it would reasonably be considered to be dishonest, he would be [disqualified].”The Football League then applied to the court in Cagliari for those written reasons, and once it had received them, its board took the view that the conviction did constitute a dishonest act and announced on December 1 that Cellino was to be disqualified. The Football League originally said Cellino had to resign as a director of Leeds by December 29 but agreed to defer that deadline until two days after the final decision by the professional conduct committee. Cellino is also the subject of a second tax evasion trial for allegedly failing to pay import duty of around £75,000 on a second yacht – called Lucky 23. That trial was delayed in October and a new date has yet to be confirmed. If Cellino, who denies that charge, is found guilty, it will be considered as a brand new case that will be judged separately from the previous trial. The likely punishment for a conviction would be another separate 12-month disqualification


Billy Sharp argues for a late Leeds penalty to no avail

Mon January 19th. Redfearn eager tom hold on to ‘Sharpe’ shooter Neil Redfearn urged Leeds United to fend off any fresh interest in Billy Sharp after Ipswich Town failed with a bid to sign the striker on loan.United’s head coach, who used Sharp as a substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Birmingham City, said he would “ideally” keep the forward at Elland Road this month despite doubts about Sharp’s future arising last week. The 28-year-old was the subject of an approach from Ipswich who asked to take Sharp on loan for the rest of the season with a view to a permanent deal in the summer. Ipswich’s manager, Mick McCarthy, had aimed to complete the transfer before this game at Millwall on Saturday but Town were unable to reach an agreement with United owner Massimo Cellino amid differing views about how much they should pay for him at the end of the campaign. Sharp featured as planned in Redfearn’s squad for the visit of Birmingham to Elland Road and completed most of the final half-hour, helping Leeds secure a valuable point through a late goal from Luke Murphy. Redfearn said: “Billy Sharp’s a Leeds United player. That’s it.“He looked busy and bright. You want to keep your best players and add better players to them. That’s the idea. He came on and gave us momentum.” Asked if he wanted Sharp to remain with the club, Redfearn said: “Ideally yes.”United’s boss, however, admitted he was in the dark about the club’s plans for the strikers, saying: I wouldn’t know. I can only deal with what’s put in front of me. As far as I know, Billy’s a Leeds player and he’s competing for a place up front.” Mirco Antenucci, Leeds’ top-scorer, started alongside Steve Morison on Saturday but experienced an unrewarding afternoon before Redfearn replaced him with Sharp on 63 minutes. The Italian striker punched the dug-out in frustration after leaving the field. Redfearn said: “Mirco had no luck. He couldn’t fashion that yard to finish but he worked hard. “He linked in well with Morison and Morison’s a good foil for Sharp or Antenucci.”Redfearn also defended his decision to revert to a 4-4-2 formation with Lewis Cook on the left side of midfield. Leeds struggled in the first half and fell behind to an early Paul Caddis penalty but went on to dominate an in-form City side after the break. “We’re at home and we’ve got to force the reckoning,” Redfearn said. “Lewis was out of position but you can play him anywhere because he’s so good.“We looked balanced and it gave us the chance to play with two strikers.”Right-back Gaetano Berardi missed Saturday’s game with a hamstring strain but could be fit to face Bournemouth tomorrow night.


Liam Cooper (new captain) following Warnock’s departure


Luke Murphy celebrates his late equaliser

Sat Jan 17th 2015 Leeds 1-1 Birmingham City Leeds United: Silvestri, Wootton, Bellusci, Cooper, C Taylor, Byram, Austin, Murphy, Cook (Doukara 78), Antenucci (Sharp 63), Morison. Substitutes not used: S Taylor, Pearce, Sloth, Bianchi, Mowatt. Referee: Dean Whitehouse (Northants). Attendance: 23,534. Report fron YP. AN 86TH-MINUTE leveller from Luke Murphy saved the day for Leeds United as they rescued point against form-side Birmingham City at Elland Road in a 1-1 draw. It looked like being another desperate afternoon and extension of the bleak midwinter for Leeds, who trailed for the majority of the game after Paul Caddis put Blues ahead from the spot after captain Liam Cooper was penalised for tripping Yorkshireman Clayton Donaldson. Leeds, without a win bonus in the league since beating Derby County on November 29, looked increasingly forlorn heading into the final stages and seemingly destined for another barren episode, only for Murphy, arguably Leeds’ best performer, to grab a leveller. A cross from Sam Byram wasn’t cleared and Murphy arrived right on cue to sidefoot the ball high into the net in front of the Kop, his first goal in Leeds colours since netting a brace in the 2-0 victory over Blackpool in mid-April. Neil Redfearn made two changes to his starting line-up with Mirco Antenucci replacing Casper Sloth and Scott Wootton – recently returned from a loan spell at Rotherham United – coming in at right-back for the injured Gaetano Berardi. It was Wootton’s first appearance since starting in the 1-0 victory over Bolton at Elland Road at the end of August for Leeds, who headed into the game seeking their first win in eight matches in all competitions and first goal in open play since December 6. Brian Montenegro made way on the bench, with Sloth taking his place, with Billy Sharp, interesting Ipswich Town, also among the replacements. The recent fortunes of both sides could not have been different, with Blues, troubled in previous seasons, on the crest of a comparative wave, having won seven games out of 11 under the command of Gary Rowett. Like Rowett, Redfearn took charge of his first game in permanent charge on November 1, but whereas he has presided over a haul of just nine points from a possible 33, incorporating two wins, the Blues’ manager’s tally of 23 points is far more eye-catching. An open first-half saw Blues take in an interval lead, courtesy of Caddis’ well-struck penalty after Cooper was penalised for an injudicious foul on Bradford-born Clayton Donaldson and while Leeds had their moments, the visitors maintained menace on the break. For Leeds, several players looked far less vibrant than in the game at Bolton seven days ago and despite the protests surrounding the penalty award for Blues, at the behest of a linesman, it looked the correct call. It was Blues who fired the first salvo with ex-Doncaster Rovers man David Cotterill off target before Rudy Austin dragged a shot off target at the other end, with Leeds attacking the South Stand. Steve Morison, without a competitive goal for United since March 9, 2013, then carved out an excellent chance to break his barren run after chesting the ball down and evading a Blues defender in the box following Luke Murphy’s tidy cross, but he skied his effort when well placed from ten yards out. A more definitive moment arrived eight minutes in when Blues were presented with a penalty following Cooper’s indiscretion, with Caddis needing no second invitations to blast the ball low past Marco Silvestri, who guessed correctly, but had little chance with the well-struck penalty. It represented the nightmare opening for Leeds, with Rowett’s side interchanging well in the final third and showing their confidence by unleashing shots at goal from distance whenever the chance afforded. Cotterill and Andrew Shinnie fired efforts off target before Wootton almost marked his comeback game with a leveller, connecting well with a firm header following Murphy’s free-kick on the right, but his effort flew just wide. Morison then headed at Randolph following Wootton’s deep centre before Shinnie saw his long-ranger held by Silvestri. Antenucci then got involved in the action, bundling an effort wide after Morison headed the ball into his path following a deep cross on the left from Charlie Taylor as Leeds attempted to build up a head of steam. At the other end, Leeds survived a scare on 26 minutes when a rising strike from Sean Gleeson was tipped over in splendid fashion by Silvestri before play switched to the other end, with Randolph blocking Antenucci’s snapshot at the near post after another assist from Morison. Shinnie then saw a rasping low shot whistle just wide before Randolph showed his prowess to make a fine reaction save to deny Giuseppe Bellusci from point-blank range after he was left unchallenged to make a telling connection to Murphy’s free-kick. The half ended with David Davis seeing his shot from distance turned away by Silvestri before Shinnie’s effort was deflected for a corner. On the resumption, the first chance fell Leeds’ way, with Cotterill fouling Murphy, but the resulting free-kick, in a dangerous position, was wasted by Austin, whose tame header hit the wall. Morrison was then within a whisker on putting United on terms, with his flicked header from Lewis Cook’s cross seemingly destined for the net, but it unluckily hit the inside of the post before a relieved Randolph gathered. Cotterill fired a free-kick off target at the other end before Morison was again so close to a leveller, managing to find half a yard in the box before his shot with the outside of his foot sailed agonisingly just wide. It was beginning to look like one of those days for Leeds, with Sharp thrown into the fray to replace Antenucci on 63 minutes. Blues then made their first change, with David Edgar replacing Shinnie, booked minutes earlier for a late challenge on Taylor. It was a defensive move, with the visitors happy to protect their gains and rely on the pace of Gray and Donaldson on the break and it was that avenue which almost saw Blues claim a decisive second. Gray outstripped the United defence before seeing his shot parried by Silvestri before Donaldson was left to bemoan his fortune after his header from Gleeson’s cross hit the post. Souleymane Doukara came on for Cook, with the decision greeted with a fair few boos, 12 minutes from time with Leeds showing discernable signs of fading. Controversy arrived seven minutes from time, when referee Dean Whitestone avoided appeals for a penalty after ex-United loanee Paul Robinson appeared to trip Byram. But relief was at hand, when Murphy fired home after Byram’s cross was not cleared, with the pent-up frustration of a tough season unleashed in his passionate celebrations. With United’s tails up, backed by superb support again, Murphy soon saw a volley held by Randolph while right at the death, further appeals for a penalty were rebuffed as Leeds protested in vain for a handball offence in the box.


Redfearn thought penalty was “soft” and Leeds deserved all three points

Redfearn to LUTV after game : “I thought we had enough chances to win the came. In 2nd half we were more or less camped in thert half and if we hadn’t got a point it would have been a travesty. If one of our earlier chances had gone in, it’s adifferent kettle of fish. Re their penalty it looks like a soft one to me, but I don’t want to talk about the ref. We are playing with spirit. We just have to be strong. Luke Murphy has been playing really well. He has had it tough but the boy is tough for( whatever reason he hasn’t had it easy ) but he never hides. He is always looking for the ball. Lewis Cook can play anywhere. (Re fans unhappy re Cook coming off) Sometimes you just have to make decisions to change things. We look better with width if I’m honest. We found a better way of playing (diamond gone) and we look better with the width. Sam is doing well for us on right and Scotty Wootton did well for us too today at right back. (Re Tuesday’s game)If we get the rub of the green we know where Bournmeouth are vulnerable. We beat them down there already. They are the best footballing side in the division by a mile but we will give them a game, but they are due to lose one.”. Fri Jan 16th Ipswich show interest in Billy Sharpe Ipswich Town are showing an interest in Leeds United striker Billy Sharp, the YEP understands. The Portman Road club look ready to bid for Sharp who is six months into a two-year deal at Elland Road but has seen his first-team opportunities limited this season. United paid around £600,000 to pay up his contract at Southampton and sign the 28-year-old in August but he has made only eight starts since moving to Leeds. Ipswich strengthened their pool of strikers by taking Noel Hunt on a short-term basis last week, 24 hours after Hunt severed his contract at Elland Road, and the Suffolk club – currently third in the Championship – are now targeting a deal which secures Sharp for the rest of the campaign. Sharp’s most recent start for Leeds came in their Boxing Day defeat to Wigan Athletic. The striker reacted angrily, kicking a water bottle towards the dug-out, when he was substituted by head coach Neil Redfearn 19 minutes from time. Speaking at the end of the game, Redfearn said: “I’ve done that myself in the past. I was far worse than Billy when I was a player. I was a nightmare. “He wants to play, he wants to start and I understand that. But looking at it from my side, it’s important that he understands it’s a team game. “He’s part of a squad and sometimes you have to change things around to chase a game or do something different. “I don’t have a problem with it. I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t disappointed about coming off. I don’t see it as a major issue.” Sharp was named on the bench for last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Bolton Wanderers and despite Ipswich’s interest, he is likely to be included in Redfearn’s squad for Saturday’s match against Birmingham City. This will be interesting to watch. Andy Richie is 100% right. We are letting experienced pros go and replacing them (well not even replacing them, talking about replacing them) with Italian and Albanian players who will take time to settle. Cellino was wrong about Hockaday, wrong to replace Readfearn and then reinstall him after putting another coach in place in the meantime. We are all over the place already. January is half over and no replacements have walked through the gates of ER, although Hunt and Warnock were allowed leave. Not good enough by a long shot ! Friday Jan 16th Warnock transfer beggars belief – Andy Richie Very little in football is black or white. Work in the game for any length of time and you’ll discover that an awful lot of what goes on has more to it than meets the public eye. I don’t know the exact ins and outs of Stephen Warnock’s transfer to Derby County but whatever the reasons, the move beggars belief. It beggars belief because I don’t understand why on earth Leeds United would want to lose him of all people now. Neil Redfearn’s been speaking over and over about the need for Championship experience. Doesn’t Stephen Warnock epitomise that? Experience isn’t the only issue. Besides anything else, he’s been one of the club’s best players this season; one of their most reliable certainly. Most Championship managers would be happy to have Warnock at left-back and you can deduce that from the fact that Derby have come in to sign him. Redfearn made a pertinent comment about Rudy Austin last week. He basically said – and I totally agree with this – that if other Championship clubs were interested in signing him, shouldn’t Leeds be taking the hint and realising that they’d be better off keeping him? The same applies to Warnock and Derby. If a side at the top of the league wants him, he’s not someone who Leeds should be contemplating losing. As I say, I can’t really comment on the politics involved. Maybe Warnock was desperate to go and maybe Leeds felt he’d had his head turned but the transfer seemed to happen very easily. I honestly thought this would have been the sort of loss the club would have fought hard to avoid. But Warnock goes and we all move on. It’s not the first time Leeds have lost a decent player and it won’t be the last. They’ve got Charlie Taylor to cover for him and going by what we saw at Bolton last weekend I don’t think Taylor’s inclusion is a problem. The problem will come if he gets injured. Who will Redfearn turn to then. And for all Taylor’s ability, he’s not the sort of lad who can lead the club through the second half of the season. He’s only 21. With the pressure on, this is when you look to the likes of Warnock to keep the place calm and hold it all together. I can’t speak for Redfearn but I’d be amazed if he wanted Warnock to go. As for Saturday’s game at Bolton, I came away with mixed feelings – encouragement and frustration. I thought the team played well, not least because they were away from home, and in the end they were probably a bit unlucky to finish with a point. And once again I found myself thinking that a few astute additions in the right areas would transform this side completely. It surprises me to say the least that we’ve gone this far through the January transfer window without any signings. I might be underestimating the pressure on Massimo Cellino or the uncertainty caused by his appeal against the Football League but the last thing Leeds want is to be in a situation where games are running out. I’m well aware that they’re looking abroad for players again but my opinion hasn’t changed – the club needs lads who know this league. That doesn’t mean that every signing requires Championship experience but it seems crackers to overlook them completely when the team are one point above the relegation places. In some ways, Leeds are lucky that they can make new signings at all. They’re supposed to be under a transfer embargo and if that was really what it said on the tin, they’d be in very serious trouble. As it is, they’ve got scope to bring new players in and they have to take advantage of that opportunity. I don’t go along with the idea that the team needs ripping up because, in the main, there’s the basis of a good side here. That’s the truth. But it’s missing that little bit of nous and that little bit of grit, and they’re going to need both qualities to make it through the rest of the season. Warnock is on his way and we’ve got no new additions to the squad. I’d say it’s time for a bit of urgency. Friday Jan 16th Cellino blocks Wootton move Rotherham United’s interest in Scott Wootton is on hold amid claims by manager Steve Evans that Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino blocked a deal to send him back to South Yorkshire. Evans revealed that Rotherham attempted to re-sign Wootton after the end of his recent loan but said Cellino had moved to prevent a transfer agreed with United head coach Neil Redfearn. Wootton is surplus to Redfearn’s first-team plans and the proposed signing of a new centre-back this month looked set to hasten the 23-year-old’s departure from Elland Road. The former Manchester United defender has a year-and-a-half on his contract but he has played only four times for Leeds this season. Evans, who signed Wootton on loan in November, said: “Scott was a young man we would have liked to have kept. That deal in principle was agreed with Neil Redfearn. “As we know, Redders is perhaps not subject to making the final decision. Mr Cellino, which he is entitled to – the same as our chairman would be – decided that was not to be the case. So we have to respect that and Scott Wootton has gone back to Leeds . “I thought it was all agreed with Neil. Mr Cellino makes the decisions as we know and Neil has never hidden from that. Mr Cellino at this moment in time has said no and we have to respect that.” Cellino was unavailable for comment. Thursday Jan 15th. Warnock bears no grudges Stephen Warnock quit Leeds United yesterday with a cordial goodbye and a word of thanks for former head coach David Hockaday. The defender said he had left Leeds with “no grudges against anyone” and praised Hockaday for ensuring his involvement in United’s season, at a time when Warnock claimed owner Massimo Cellino was “happy to let me move on.” Warnock completed a move to Derby County yesterday morning, agreeing an 18-month contract and the option of a further 12 months with the Championship promotion contenders. His deal at Elland Road had been due to expire in the summer and despite his appointment as captain in November and solid form throughout the season, Leeds did not offer him an extension. Cellino told the YEP that Warnock had asked him for a new two-year deal but Warnock said: My contract was up at the end of the season and there’d been no sort of talks with Leeds as to extending the contract, contrary to reports I had asked for a longer contract. “That wasn’t true, I don’t know where the stories came from. “I had six months left on my contract. If I’d waited and let my contract run down, I’d have been going into a pool of about 10,000 (out-of-contract) players. When you get a club like Derby knocking on the door and saying ‘we want to sign you’, it’s a great feeling.” Warnock and Cellino endured a tense relationship, with reports in October suggesting that the left-back had sought the help of the Professional Footballers’ Association due to his belief that Cellino was trying to prevent his inclusion in the first-team. But Warnock said: I’ve got no grudges against anyone. I was made captain, a great honour, and I’ve not got a bad word to say about the club. “I went in there under Neil Warnock and I think he lasted about two or three months which was a shame. Brian McDermott came in and he deemed me surplus to requirements but I ended up forcing my way into the team. “This season David Hockaday stood my ground and wanted me to be involved. I think the chairman was quite happy to let me move on at the time but Dave fought my corner and gave me a chance. Hopefully I proved him right. “I enjoyed my time there. It’s been emotional, it’s been up and down, but I’ve got fond memories of my time there.” Warnock joined Leeds in January 2013 on a free transfer from Aston Villa. He played 67 times for the club and scored three goals, his last in a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers in August. Weds Jan 14th Leeds United move for Albanian striker Edgar Cani? Leeds United are reportedly in discussions to sign Catania striker Edgar Cani. The Championship outfit are known to be in the market for a new striker this month in a bid to boost their chances of survival. Talks between the two clubs regarding the 25-year-old’s services are at an advanced stage, with the move initially being a six-month loan, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post. Cani, who has been capped on 15 occasions by Albania, joined is Serie B employers from Polonia Warszawa in 2013 Weds Jan 14th Becchio not coming back Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has revealed that Luciano Becchio will not return to the club this month. The Norwich City striker’s agent recently confirmed that his client was eager to return to Elland Road, where he spent five years before he left for Norfolk in 2013. However, despite expressing his affection for the Argentine, Cellino has insisted that Becchio “is the past and we are concerned about the future”. “We love Becchio and made a big mistake when we let him go. But now it’s too late,” The Sun quotes the Italian as saying.”He is not the same player he was three years ago and Leeds is not the same club. He is the past and we are concerned about the future.” Becchio has failed to score in any of his 13 appearances for the Canaries. So let me get this straight. Redfearn wants hardened Championship pros and has targeted Becchio as one of those, but Cellino and Salerno don’t fancy him. So far their record of signing strikers has been poor and not backing Redfearn is wrong. Becchio would be better than an Albanian unknown. These signings are all taking too long for a club who are lingering perilously close to League One. Weds 14th of Jan Whites keen on defender Bamba United remain keen on bringing former Leicester City defender Sol Bamba to Elland Road to boost their central defensive options. Ivory Coast international Bamba, who celebrates his 30th birthday today, is currently plying his trade at Italian outfit Palermo. A striker is also high on United’s priorities, with Redfearn having recommended to owner Massimo Cellino to make a loan move to take Luciano Becchio back to the club from Norwich City. The other forward consistently linked with United is Sassuolo frontman Leonardo Pavoletti, who Cellino and sporting director Nicola Salerno are working on bringing to Leeds. Weds Jan 14th. D-day approaches for Cellino Italian businessman Massimo Cellino will seek to have his disqualification from owning Leeds United overturned at an appeal hearing on Thursday. Cellino was barred by the Football League’s board from being owner and a director of Leeds in December after it ruled his conviction for tax evasion was a “dishonest act”. Cellino’s appeal will be heard by a three-person professional conduct committee, chaired by Tim Kerr QC. The outcome is likely to be known next week. If the Football League’s disqualification is upheld, it will mean 58-year-old Cellino will have to step down as a director – but only until March, when his conviction becomes spent under UK law. Cellino was fined 600,000 euros (£465,000) by a court in Sardinia last March after being found guilty of failing to pay import duty on his yacht, the Nelie. Kerr was also the person who allowed Cellino’s original appeal back in April on the basis that there were no written reasons available from the court case which would determine whether it was a dishonest act or not. However, the QC stated in his decision allowing that appeal: “If the reasoned ruling of the court in Cagliari discloses the conduct of Mr Cellino was such it would reasonably be considered to be dishonest, he would be [disqualified].”The Football League then applied to the court in Cagliari for those written reasons, and once it had received them its board took the view that the conviction did constitute a dishonest act and announced he was to be disqualified. Cellino may try to claim that under Italian law he is still presumed innocent because the appeals process has not been exhausted. The issue with that, however, is it means he would then be gaining an advantage on any club director dealt with under British law where they are viewed as being guilty after the initial conviction. The Football League originally said Cellino had to resign as a director of Leeds by December 29 but agreed to defer that deadline until two days after the final decision by the professional conduct committee. A statement from the league last month said: “As a consequence, the parties have agreed that if Mr Cellino is unsuccessful in his appeal, any disqualification period will be extended by an amount equivalent to the length of time between December 29 and the deferred deadline.” Cellino took over Leeds towards the end of last season and has already fired two managers – Dave Hockaday and Darko Milanic – during this campaign Tues Jan 13th. Warnock still off to Derby LEEDS UNITED captain Stephen Warnock’s move to Derby County is on hold, although the Championship high-fliers remain hopeful of completing a deal later this week. Warnock underwent a medical at Derby yesterday, with the Rams keen to assess the extent of the ankle injury he suffered in the Championship game at the iPro Stadium a fortnight ago before rubber-stamping the move. An 18-month contract is reportedly on the table for Warnock, once he proves his fitness. The 33-year-old – out of contract in the summer and not yet offered new terms at Elland Road, hobbled off after being injured in a block tackle with Rams’ defender Cyrus Christie in the opening minutes of United’s 2-0 televised loss on December 30. Warnock has not played since, although Derby remain optimistic that a deal, likely to be a free transfer, will be finalised once they establish when he is fit to return to training. Warnock, one of United’s highest earners, underwent a scan on the injury seven days ago, which allayed fears of serious ankle ligament damage. This came after head coach Neil Redfearn had earlier expressed concern that the consistent left-back could potentially be out for a lengthy spell – after labelling the injury suffered at Derby as a ‘bad one’ Warnock tweeted last week: Very happy with the news that my scan is all clear! “Dr also happy with its condition…need to get the last bit of swelling out of it!” Charlie Taylor has deputised for Warnock in United’s past two matches, the FA Cup defeat at Sunderland and the weekend Roses’ draw at Bolton Wanderers, his first league appearance since facing Wanderers in the reverse fixture on August 30. Derby are keen on landing Warnock to provide some serious competition for regular left-back Michael Forsyth, while providing some invaluable experience during a critical run to the end of the season for the promotion-chasing Rams. Former Wolves defender Lee Naylor is the current understudy to Forsyth, although he has made just one appearance this season – in the FA Cup home victory over Southport on January 3. Meanwhile, United remain keen on bringing former Leicester City defender Sol Bamba to Elland Road to boost their central defensive options. Ivory Coast international Bamba, who celebrates his 30th birthday today, is currently plying his trade at Italian outfit Palermo. A striker is also high on United’s priorities, with Redfearn having recommended to owner Massimo Cellino to make a loan move to take Luciano Becchio back to the club from Norwich City. The other forward consistently linked with United is Sassuolo frontman Leonardo Pavoletti, who Cellino and sporting director Nicola Salerno are working on bringing to Leeds. Scott Wootton is back at Elland Road after his loan spell at Championship rivals Rotherham United ended at the weekend, with both clubs remaining in discussions about the 23-year-old moving to the New York Stadium on a full-time basis.Wootton, who joined Leeds on a three-year deal in August 2013 for an undisclosed fee from Manchester United, impressed during his time in South Yorkshire, which saw him make seven appearances. Any deal for Wootton is likely to involve a fee, with the Red Devils still owed part of the fee agreed when Wootton moved to Leeds from Old Trafford. United’s development side welcome Birmingham City in the Professional Development League 2 Under-21s today (1pm). Sat 10th of Jan Boton 1-1 Leeds Silvestri, Berardi, Bellusci, Cooper, C Taylor, Byram, Austin, Murphy, Cook, Sloth (Mowatt 85), Morison. Substitutes not used: S Taylor, Pearce, Bianchi, Montenegro, Antenucci, Sharp. Report from Yorkshire Post AN ENCOURAGING away performance earned Leeds United a deserved point at Bolton Wanderers – in a tale of two penalties at the Macron Stadium. Rudy Austin fired Leeds ahead after just three minutes after ex-Whites keeper Andy Lonergan was penalised for bringing down Sam Byram, but that strike was cancelled out early in the second half when Eidur Gudjohnsen confidently fired home from 12 yards after Luke Murphy was penalised for a challenge on Darren Pratley. Given the fact that Bolton had been running hot at home and were unbeaten in seven matches, with six wins accrued, it represented a very good point for United, who remain two places above the Championship relegation zone. There was plenty to talk about ahead of the kick off, given an extremely bold selection call from Neil Redfearn, who handed Steve Morison his first start since the 3-1 loss at Cardiff City on November 1 and just his third in the Championship this season. Top-scorer Mirco Antenucci reverted to the bench, with there being no place in the squad at all for Adryan or Souleymane Doukara. Casper Sloth and Luke Murphy also kept their places in the side, with Alex Mowatt named on the bench, with Lewis Cook, Sam Byram and Giuseppe Bellusci returning to the starting line-up. Bolton started with veteran pairing Eidur Gudjohnsen and Emile Heskey, with the latter celebrating his 37th birthday tomorrow. With just three minutes on the clock, the Whites were handed the perfect start with Andy Woolmer showing no hesistation in pointing to the spot after Sam Byram went down in the box after Andy Lonergan came out of goal and challenged him following Cook’s defence-splitting pass. Bolton’s protests were ignored, with the contact looking neglible, but Austin ignored the commotion to send Lonergan the wrong way with an emphatically-taken penalty for just his second goal of the campaign. It was a spot of karma for Byram after he was aghast at conceding a late penalty just up the road at Blackburn in November. It represented a massive shot in the arm for Leeds, who stuck with the 4-2-3-1 formation, with Cook in an advanced central role behind Morison, with Byram and Sloth on the flanks. On ten minutes, United went mightly close to a second when Bolton switched off in central defence and allowed Morison a free header in front of goal with his effort brillantly turned away by Morison. With Bolton without a home defeat since October 4, the odds were on the hosts getting their act together after a testing opening and so it proved. Not before Liam Trotter was cautioned for a late challenge on Charlie Taylor, his second poor tackle of the afternoon, which could have represented a second yellow card with a less lenient referee. Taylor then had to be alert to make a saving clearance after clever play from Gudjohnsen released Liam Trotter and from the resulting corner, Matt Mills headed wide when well placed. Bolton, with six wins in their previous seven home matches and no losses, maintained the pressure with good covering from Geatano Berardi denying Heskey a run at goal after a slick pass from Josh Vela. Bolton were then handed a free-kick in a dangerous position after a clumsy challenge from -Austin on Darren Pratley, with the away supporters heaving a sigh of relief when Gudjohnsen’s well-taken free-kick whistled just past the near post, with Marco Silvestri rooted to the spot. At the other end, a splendid pass from Cook teed up Murphy, whose volley was blocked by Dorian Devite before switched back to the other end amid an atrocious storm which beset the Macron Stadium. It almost conjured a leveller with Silvestri blocking an effort from Mills close to the line following a corner with Pratley’s follow-up blocked as Leeds survived a genuine scare. A last-ditch challenge from Mills then saved the day with Morison waiting to strike in front of goal after a decent counter-attack before the half ended with Bolton having another good free-kick chance after Bellusci – involved in a brief flashpoint with Morison moments earlier – fouled Heskey, but fortunately Neil Danns’ effort was blocked. After such a good start to the opening period, Leeds were afforded the opposite in the second half as Woolmer again pointing to the spot, with the hosts the recipients this time. Feeney’s cross found Pratley, who was just about to unleash a shot with Leeds unhinged, before he tumbled over following a desperate stretching challenge from Murphy. Gudjohnsen, despite a short run-up, was coolness personified as he fired the ball high past Silvestri to level the scores. It was a worrying development given the way Leeds had previously surrendered strong positions on the road, but thankfully it was not the precursor to a power surge from the hosts. The next chance fell to the visitors three minutes before the hour mark, with Byram dispossessing Tim Ream before squaring the ball to Murphy, who dragged a low shot narrowly wide when well placed in front of the 3,918 visiting contingent, again providing top-class support. Play started to fragment and become more scrappy with Bolton making their first change midway through the half when David Wheater replaced Dervite. A counter attack saw Sloth fire over after a dangerous cross from Berardi, having a decent afternoon before a key block from Liam Cooper denied a certain goal for Gudjohnsen, who unleashed a fierce volley following Ream’s pass. The game was on somewhat of a knife edge, with the next development seeing Silvestri, not exactly convincingly, turn away a cross-shot from sub Craig Davies, thrown on to boost Bolton’s attacking punch. Heading into the final ten minutes, it was anyone’s game with Leeds producing their best moment of the half and going close to a second five minutes from time. Super play by Cook found Byram, who twisted and turned neatly before firing in a goalbound shot which was saved at his near post by Lonergan. Some big calls by Redfearn today. He rested our best player Antenucci, and went up top with the unpopular Morison, who by and large performed well. Defensively he gives us cover from corners where we struggle. Bianchi and Mowatt also were benched and Doukara and Adryan didn’t even make the squad. The performance suggested he got it right. A lightening start and if we had taken our chances we would have been the first club to leave Bolton with a win in the last seven. A good performance deserving of all three points but I think Slvestri is starting to cost us far too many points. Redders wants 3 players in the window to go straight into the team starting with Becchio, and I have no problem with a Becchio/Antenucci partnership. The mangers : Neil Lennon believes that Bolton only deserved a share of the spoils following a lacklustre performance from his players. “I think in the end it was a fair result,” he is quoted as saying by the club’s official website.We’re disappointed, but satisfied with a point because we were nowhere near our best. “We wanted to impose ourselves on the game early on, but unfortunately we never really did that. A lot was said at half time and we did get off on the front foot at the start of the second half.” Neil Redfearn felt his side deserved all three points : It was a battling performance in the second half at Sunderland and today we scrapped for ninety minutes. That is important. “We have said right the off we have got to get the performances right. Get the performances right and we get the results. “We had a good performance today and showed a lot of character. We aren’t always going to ‘football’ teams to death – this division says you have got to compete and play this division. “But I thought when we got the chance to play, we played. But I also thought we showed more resolve.” On the performance of Morison, handed just his third Championship start this term in what amounted to a bold selection call, Redfearn said: I thought big Stevie led the line well and what he does in this system is be a targetman and a good man to go to. “We can’t rule anybody out of the squad and we are in a position where we have to look at everyone. “He (Morison) is a good player and he’s got great assets. He led the line well today. And offering his view on Lonergan not being dismissed and Trotter staying on the pitch, he added: “It was black and white with the penalty and Trotter continually offended and he had a tackle before he got a yellow card, which for me was even more of a yellow card. “I thought he was lucky to stay on the pitch and they could have been down to nine men easily. “I felt their penalty was a bit soft from our point of view when we had done so well and been so diligent and so thorough defending. To concede a penalty like that; I am not sure it was a penalty if I ‘m honest.” On strengthening the team : “Massimo flew back today but I think his flight was delayed – I’m not surprised with the winds – and obviously we will meet up and have a chat next week. Like I’ve said before, our set-up is different in that we have a recruiter and technical director in Nicola Salerno,” the Leeds boss told reporters. “I’ve got to get my head together with them and see which is the best way forward, but in my opinion I think we need two or three players to stiffen us up. “Ideally it will be soon because other clubs are recruiting now; the Brightons and Millwalls, they are getting players in. There are players out there but we will obviously have to have these conversations.” Weds 7th of January Bechio ‘desperate’ for return ‘home’ as Hunt departs NORWICH CITY striker Luciano Becchio is desperate to return to Leeds United, according to his agent. Horacio Rossi, the Argentinian’s representative, said Leeds was “Luciano’s home” and invited the Elland Road club to move for him, saying: “If they want to sign him they know where we are.” Becchio has emerged as a January target for Leeds head coach Neil Redfearn, who is understood to have recommended the forward during transfer discussions with club owner Massimo Cellino. The 31-year-old has resumed full training following the heel injury which forced him to cut short a loan at Rotherham United earlier in the season, and Norwich are likely to listen to offers for him this month. Becchio spent five-and-a-half seasons at Leeds before leaving for Carrow Road in January 2013. His time at Norwich, however, has failed to yield a concerted run in the first team. Rossi told Press Association Sport: “Leeds is Luciano’s home and if they want to sign him they know where we are. “Leeds is always going to be a special club for Luciano. It’s a club that he loves.” Rossi said Becchio was fully fit following a three-month lay-off and claimed other Championship clubs were also interested in signing the player. Rotherham are likely to look at Becchio again having been forced to cut short his half-season loan in October. Neil Redfearn has indicated to Cellino that becchio is the type of player that Leeds need to get them out of the scrap they fins themselves in. Weds 7th of January Hunt leaves on good terms Striker Noel Hunt has parted company with Leeds United. The club have terminated the forward’s contract by mutual consent and he is now free to find an alternative club. In total Hunt made 22 appearances for United but the striker spent the final weeks of 2014 on loan at Championship high-flyers Ipswich Town where he made four outings, scoring once. Noel’s final appearance for United came at Elland Road when he was a substitute in the 2-1 Capital One Cup victory over Accrington Stanley on August 12. The club would like to wish Noel all the best for the future. Departing United striker Noel Hunt would like to say thank you for the support he has received since he arrived at the club in 2013. Hunt, who made a total of 22 appearances for United, cancelled his contract by mutual consent on Wednesday but he insists he feels no bitterness towards the club. “I feel no bitterness in anyway towards anyone associated at the club,” said Hunt. All the way from the president, to all the coaching and general staff at Thorp Arch and at Elland Road, I’d like to say thank you. “Everyone made the experience as enjoyable as possible and I’d also like to thank the supporters for everything you have shown me. I leave the club with many happy memories. “My home is in Leeds and that will continue and I have made many friends during my time at the club.” Since joining the club in the summer of 2013 Noel started 14 games but with no goals scored the striker admits it didn’t quite work out for him at Elland Road. It didn’t quite happen for me here for whatever reason,” added Hunt. But I appreciate the support I have received, whether that be on or off the field. “I love the club and I’ll be taking the positives from my time at Leeds United. “I wish all the boys, Neil Redfearn and the supporters well for the rest of the season and the future.” Sunday January 4th Sunderland 1-0 Leeds Silvestri; Berardi, Cooper, Del Fabro, C Taylor; Murphy, Austin; Sloth, Adryan (Sharp 62), Montenegro (Doukara 85); Antenucci. Substitutes not used: S Taylor, Thompson, Dawson, Killock, Phillips. Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral). Attendance: 30,302. LEEDS UNITED’S bid to exact a spot of revenge for that famous 1973 FA Cup final loss to Sunderland at Wembley failed to materialise as they bowed out of the cup on Wearside in a single-goal defeat. In the first meeting of the two clubs in the world’s most enduring cup competition since that fateful final of May 5, 1973, Leeds failed to defy the odds like their Sunderland predecessors of 1972-73, with the higher-division side prevailing. It ensured Leeds started 2015 with another defeat, their fifth in their last six outings and while they were second-best to the hosts, an improved, competitive second-half at least gives Neil Redfearn and his charges something to build on for Saturday’s crunch Championship trip to Bolton Wanderers. A much-changed Leeds side, who included debutant Dario Del Fabro and also included Brian Montenegro, handed his first start, succumbed to a 33rd-minute strike from Patrick van Aanholt as they bowed out at the third-round stage for the fourth time in five years. Leeds, after a lame first half, did improve on the restart and were far more competitive and handed Gus Poyet’s Black Cats a couple of scares. The biggest one arrived in stoppage-time when captain-for-the-day Liam Cooper headed a cross from the recalled Luke Murphy onto the post. But it was Sunderland, who had won just once on home soil this season ahead of the game, who booked their place in the hat for round four. United, who brought back Casper Sloth and Murphy from the equivalent of footballing exile to hand them rare starts, went close to leveller through Adryan and Montenegro, although it was a day in which Marco Silvestri made several telling saves to keep the scoreline down and Sunderland’s attacking department misfired. A number of Sunderland’s class of 73 were introduced to the Wearside crowd ahead of the game, including legendary goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery, who broke Leeds hearts at Wembley, Dennis Tueart, Dick Malone and Micky Horswill. As they waved to the crowd, a chorus of We Are Leeds came from the away end, showing early defiance, with it now over to the players bedecked in white to show similar spirit. Leeds started with full debutant Brian Montenegro in a left-sided attacking role, supporting loane striker Mirco Antenucci, with Adryan handed creative licence just behind. A quiet start did not hint at much before Sunderland got their act together, posting a particular threat down the left. First, Emanuele Giaccherini twisted and turned his way past Gaetano Berardi before seeing his effort beaten away competently by Marco Silvestri, one of just four survivors from the side who lined up at Derby. From the resulting corner, the Black Cats again went close with Ricardo Alvarez seeing his shot deflected onto the crossbar. The exercise was self-evidently on containment for Leeds and then breaking out when the opportunity arose, but there were precious few moments of that, with the hosts – with just one home win to their name this term – seeking redress at the expense of the visitors. Another scare for Leeds arrived on 19 minutes which could and should have yielded a home opener. Jordi Gomez’s first-time ball picked out the rampaging full-back Patrick van Aanholt, handing Leeds a nightmare down their right, whose fine low cross found Stephen Fletcher in front of goal, but he blazed over at full stretch from point-blank range. It looked a matter of time before a home opener arrived and another dangerous moment came not long after when Gomez’s outswinging corner was headed towards goal by Santiago Vergini, whose downward header was blocked on the line by Sloth. Leeds’ resistance was finally broken, unsurprisingly down their right, which Sunderland had exposed from the opening stages with Fletcher’s lay-off finding van Aanholt, who crowned his excellent half with a raking low shot which flew past Silvestri on 33 minutes. Going forward, Leeds lacked belief and fluency, with their only substantive moment coming just before half-time when a neat one-two between Rudy Austin and Mirco Antenucci saw the former, briefly, looking like he could power an effort in on goal, only for John O’Shea to make a timely challenge. That aside, Leeds’ offensive efforts were non-existant, but thankfully, the visitors awoke from their slumber to post some genuine threat in the early stages of the second half. First, Antenucci found Adryan, but his point-blank effort was blocked by Costel Pantilimon, who had nothing to do in the first half before Montenegro tested the reactions of the Black Cats keeper at his near post. A foul by substitute Seb Larsson just outside the box on Taylor brought further encouragement with the free-kick blazed over by Austin before Sloth wriggled clear down the right before delivering a dangerous ball across the face of the box which just evaded Montenegro. Perhaps lulled into a comfort zone after Leeds’ derisory efforts in the first half when it was a stroll for the hosts, Sunderland were guility of taking their foot off the pedal on the restart, which it taking time for the Wearsiders to get going. They eventually did, with Fletcher denied a goal by an offside flag before Giaccherini, lively in the first period, saw his low shot held by Silvestri. The Italian keeper then produced a choice save to kee United in the tie on 69 minutes when former Leeds loan man Connor Wickham profited from Cooper’s error to find Fletcher, whose point-blank effort was turned away superbly. Gomez soon shot at Silvestri as the hosts sought a reassuring second to kill off any vestiges of a Leeds comeback. A half-chance at the far post saw Montenegro blast the ball over after Antenucci’s cross found its way to him before Fletcher’s ordinary day continued when he fired wide at the other end. Sunderland had chances to seal it late on with Fletcher seeing a shot deflected wide for a corner before Wickham’s header was saved and the hosts were nearly punished at the death when Cooper’s header cannoned off the post from Murphy’s cross. Redfearn post match : “To be honest, I think we deserved to go through on the second half performance. “But you need to stick your chances in when they come along and we had no luck. “In the second half, I thought we dominated and it looked like we should have had a penalty to me.” “I think if we had scored a penalty then, Sunderland would have struggled.” On Cooper’s late header, he said: “You are hoping for that little bit of luck that it drops the right side of the post and drops in, because really we deserved to get something out of the game for the second half showing. “The second half was a cup tie and we sucked Sunderland into a scrap and came out on top and played our football as well and need to make sure we take that into the league now.” Jan 3rd Five key points Whites need to address in 2015 – Hay YP The artist, Henry Moore, used to say that resolutions for a single day were easier to cope with than resolutions for a whole year. It’s a policy for Leeds United to live by. But January is the time for vows and commitments so here are some thoughts on what the Elland Road club need in 2015: 1) Neil Redfearn in charge until at least the end of the season Full-time control of United’s squad has not been the picnic his time as caretaker was but some genuine commitment to a head coach at Leeds is long overdue. The club employed four different bosses in 2014 and it’s hard to imagine that any other team in the world, let alone the country, went through coaching staff at such breakneck speed. Aside from anything else, the financial cost of so many changes is ludicrous and it’s ironic that a club who know a quick fix is beyond them keep trying to find one. This is developing into a hard paper-round for Redfearn and both his man-management and his tactical nous – not least in respect to finding alternatives to the midfield diamond – will be keenly tested in the second half of the season. But can United or their squad really take another new broom? And is it healthy that since Massimo Cellino’s takeover, managers and head coaches are making hard work of taking their competitive matches in charge into double figures? Redfearn is yet to set Leeds on fire but he’s the sort of coach Cellino will always go for and he’s shown touches of potential. The problem is not him. 2) An end to the pursuit of Massimo Cellino, one way or the other If Cellino wins his appeal against Football League disqualification – his hearing is scheduled for January 15 – then the Football League should concede defeat in its bid to oust him from Elland Road. The crux of his appeal is likely to call into question the validity of the League’s rules on ownership anyway. If he loses, Cellino must accept that he is in a seriously compromised position; at risk of being banned by the governing body over and over again if other tax charges against him in Italy stick. In short, Leeds cannot have an owner who is repeatedly found to be non-compliant, and far too much time is being devoted to the process of fighting the League and disputing its regulations. Unless we are heading for an almighty fudge, someone is going to have to roll over for the good of the club and its health. It’s 11 months now since Cellino first agreed his takeover, nine since he was convicted of tax evasion in Cagliari and eight since he formally bought United. Leeds could lose years to this unprecedented squabble. 3) The addition of a Championship backbone to their squad There is one actual consequence of United’s January transfer embargo: the upper limit of £600,000 a year in salary costs that Leeds can pay to new signings this month. That figure is the equivalent of more than £11,000 a week, an amount which opens certain doors but closes many others, particularly among surplus Premier League players who are open to the idea of moving to the Championship. In the circumstances it’s easier (and considerably cheaper) for Leeds to look abroad for signings of the ilk of Leonardo Pavoletti and Rene Krhin – and those deals might have some merit – but the club are in danger of pursuing a path which has not served them well this season. Would Charlie Adam or someone like him not exceed the impact of an import like Krhin? It was notable on Tuesday that a Derby midfield containing John Eustace (now 35) had the wit to drag County through a cold and fairly uninspired night at Pride Park. Even Watford, for all their reliance on the Italian leagues, continue to litter their squad with Deeneys, Gomeses, McGugans and Bassongs. Signing English isn’t necessarily the answer. Signing players who know the country’s upper divisions might be. 4) A strong run in January and February The next two months are where the season is likely to be won and lost. After Sunderland tomorrow, Leeds meet Bolton, Birmingham, Huddersfield, Millwall and Brighton in the space of nine league fixtures. It goes without saying that at least one of those clubs is probably going down. That passage of games will be highly pressurised but it gives United the chance to move themselves a good distance from harm’s way and keep out of trouble in the closing weeks of the season. United go to Sheffield Wednesday on the penultimate weekend and host Rotherham United on the very last day. There is no appetite whatsoever for anything to be riding on either of those derbies. 5) Nerve and fight in adverse circumstances Redfearn is right when he says that Leeds don’t need any in-fighting or back-biting. As a caveat, he might also concede that his side need to play better than they did at Derby to prevent the mood turning seriously sour. In fairness to the club’s support, their commitment is holding up. Attendances at Elland Road are only marginally down on last season and the away crowds have been solid. Teams who win relegation battles tend to make a good job of fighting their league rather than fighting amongst themselves, and Leeds have found in the past that they invariably wither badly when factions start turning on each other. That said, results keep a club up and results come down to the nerve and attitude of the dressing room. With the die cast the existing squad will earn themselves kudos by showing that, as fraught and demoralising as their predicament is, they’re game for it. Sat 3rd of January Hunt returns injured to Leeds Noel Hunt has returned to Leeds United from his loan at Ipswich Town but the striker will not play any part in Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Sunderland. Hunt is back at Elland Road after a short-term stay in Suffolk but he is suffering from a knee injury and awaiting clarification over his future after his time at Ipswich ended without a fresh deal between the clubs. Leeds sent Hunt to Portman Road in late November, sanctioning a move which looked likely to end a difficult career at Elland Road. The Republic of Ireland international is out of contract in the summer and has struggled to find his form since joining United on a two-year deal from Reading in 2013. Leeds remain open to offers for him during the January transfer window and his return this week is unlikely to see him regain a place in the plans of head coach Neil Redfearn. Redfearn said: “He’s back but he’s got a niggle with his knee so he’s not been able to train. At this moment he’s back at the club. “We’ve got a big squad here. Some players have been in contention and some haven’t. Noel found himself out of the picture so he went to Ipswich. We’ll have to sit down and work out what’s best for him. “He’s a good lad and a good pro. It hasn’t happened for him at Leeds United but it’s not for the want of trying.” Hunt has failed to score a single competitive goal for United but he struck on his Ipswich debut, earning the club an injury-time win at Charlton Athletic. He made a further three appearances, his last against Charlton on Tuesday night, but Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy said: “There is nothing in place between the two clubs to extend the deal. “There’s no agreement so Noel will have to go back to Leeds and do something else.” Jan 3rd. Redfearn brushes speculation off about his future NEIL REDFEARN has brushed off speculation about his future as Leeds United head coach, claiming he had the backing of Massimo Cellino and saying his owner shared responsibility for the club’s relegation fight. Redfearn dismissed suggestions that he was under threat after 10 games in charge, describing Cellino as “happy with the way we’re playing” and insisting that blame for United’s league form should not be laid solely at his door. Leeds play Sunderland in the FA Cup on Sunday but they will resume their Championship season next weekend just a point above the division’s bottom three after five matches without a win. Frustration with United’s results earlier in the year led Cellino to sack former head coaches David Hockaday and Darko Milanic after just six competitive games in the job. Redfearn became Leeds’ third full-time boss this season when Cellino named him as Milanic’s replacement on November 1. United have accrued eight points from 10 league fixtures since then and a report on Tuesday said Cellino – presently abroad in Miami and not expected to return to England until next Friday – was considering removing Redfearn from his post. Redfearn took on a contract until the end of the season when he stepped up from his previous role as academy manager, negotiating a deal which gave him the option of a second year as head coach. The contract also included a provision for the 49-year-old to return to his old academy job if his time as first-team boss failed to work out. Sources at Elland Road have denied that Redfearn’s position is in danger and speaking ahead of tomorrow’s third-round tie at Sunderland, Redfearn said: Obviously he (Cellino) can’t be happy with getting beat every week but he’s happy with the way we’re playing. “He understands it’s a process and he understands it’s not just me. He’s part of that process. Our set-up here’s different. I’m a head coach, I’m not a manager. We have a president and we have a technical director (Nicola Salerno) who signs players. The make-up of what we do is different to other clubs. “But it comes with the territory – if you get a couple of defeats then people are going to speculate. These things will be mooted about. But I don’t worry about it. There’s no point.” With the January transfer window officially opening today, (Jan 3) Redfearn spoke again about his preference for signings who add “Championship experience” to United’s squad. Eight of the 15 recruits who came to Elland Road in the summer window arrived from abroad and most of the players linked with Leeds this month – including three definite targets, Sassuolo’s Leonardo Pavoletti, Inter Milan’s Rene Krhin and Livorno’s Andrey Galabinov – currently play in foreign leagues. “Massimo’s got his ideas and he’s got one or two players up his sleeve,” Redfearn said. “I’ve had input about where we need to strengthen too. We do lack Championship experience. It’s something we have to try and address. “For me it’s about getting the balance right between the overseas boys and having experience and strength at this level; players who can cope at this level. I’ve had my input but it’s up to Massimo ultimately. “I think it’s different here to what they (the foreign players) expected. Technically they’re more than capable. You see that on their day. Some of the stuff they produce is better than this level, when you look at the games where we’ve played well and won. “But the Championship is relentless. It grinds teams down and if you’ve not got the make-up right, it becomes difficult. “The young boys here have been outstanding for us but it might be at a point now where we’ve got to look after them and think about their development and their future. It’s a big ask to keep playing them week in, week out.” Friday 2nd of January Let’s keep the fith with Massimo Neil Redfearn has urged Leeds United’s supporters to keep faith with Massimo Cellino, saying the Italian’s strategy at Elland Road will take another year to come good. Redfearn spoke out in defence of United’s owner as the club faced up to the prospect of a tense relegation battle in the second half of the Championship season. Leeds are on the cusp of the league’s bottom three after taking 24 points from as many matches and Cellino is under pressure to salvage the campaign by strengthening Redfearn’s squad in the January transfer window. The 58-year-old appears ready to recruit new players this month, despite the possibility that the Football League will succeed in banning him as owner of United in the coming weeks. Cellino was disqualified by the League at the start of last month but he appealed against the ban – imposed due to his conviction for tax evasion in Italy – and will have his challenge heard on January 15. Despite that uncertain situation, United are attempting to loan Slovenian midfielder Rene Krhin from Inter Milan and have also lined up a deal to take striker Leonardo Pavoletti from Sassuolo on a temporary basis until the end of the season. The club also intend to sign a new centre-back after suffering from defensive frailties throughout the first half of the season. Cellino, who spent 22 years in charge of Serie A side Cagliari before buying Leeds, is almost 11 months on from the date when he first agreed his takeover of United from previous owner Gulf Finance House. Redfearn said: “The owner’s put a lot of money in and he’s got a plan and a vision. It’s in its infancy and at this moment it’s tough. I’m not speaking for them all but I think the vast majority (of the supporters) realise we’ve got a new owner and he’s got a vision for the club. They realise we’ve got a young side who are going through change. “In the conversations I’ve had with Massimo, he said it was going to take two years for him to put it all together here. He’s been in this situation before at Cagliari. He’s been in a situation where it was tough. Like I said, it’s in its infancy at the moment so it’s going to take time.” Cellino has been in Miami for the past 10 days but is due to return to England towards the end of next week. Redfearn became United’s third first-team boss of the season and their fourth of 2014 when he was appointed as head coach in November but reports on Wednesday claimed Cellino was considering the 49-year-old’s position after a 2-0 defeat to Derby County 24 hours earlier. Sources at Elland Road deny that Redfearn is under any immediate threat, claiming Cellino is more intent on changing Leeds’ squad than changing head coach. espite taking eight points from his 10 matches in permanent charge, Redfearn insisted he was better suited to the job now than he would have during either of his spells as caretaker in 2012 and 2013. “It’s easier for me this time,” Redfearn said. “I’ve found it far more within my grasp. “Perhaps what comes with age is perspective. I understand that we’ve got a young side and I understand that they’re going to make mistakes. “But as the person at the front of it, I have to be there for them and be positive for them when things are not so good.” Leeds will break from their Championship season for an FA Cup third-round tie at Premier League side Sunderland on Sunday. “It’s a good game to look forward to us,” said Redfearn. “We’ve got to be positive.”


Charlie Taylor hoping for his chance

Friday 2nd of January . Taylor hoping for his break Charlie Taylor says he will be ready to handle the nerves of a big occasion if he starts for Leeds United in tomorrow’s FA Cup tie at Sunderland. The 21-year-old full-back is set to replace injured club captain Stephen Warnock at the Stadium of Light, his first start for Leeds in two-and-a-half seasons. aylor made a brief breakthrough at Elland Road during the 2011-12 term, stepping up from United’s academy for a handful of games, but he was sent out for loans at Bradford City, York City and Inverness Caledonian Thistle before spending last season with Fleetwood Town. Fleetwood won the League Two play-off final at Wembley in May, a match which Taylor started, and Leeds handed him a new three-year deal in the summer, one of only two out-of-contract professionals at Elland Road who received extended terms. He has played only twice this season, however, with Warnock’s impressive form tying down the left-back position but United’s captain injured his ankle in Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Derby County and will not be risked against Sunderland tomorrow. Taylor said: “I’m hopeful I’ll be involved. You never expect anything but I was hoping to get a chance somewhere down the line and with Stevie’s injury it is more likely now. “I think I’m ready. Last season at Fleetwood really made me ready and got me up to scratch with men’s football. Playing week in, week out and playing twice a week helped my fitness improve massively. It improved my all-around game and I became more confident. “I’ll be nervous with it being a big game. Sunderland are a big team and an established Premier League side. I’ll definitely have some nerves but hopefully I’ll get into the game.” Taylor will come up against in-form Adam Johnson if Sunderland manager Gus Poyet uses a full-strength side for the third-round tie. “I need to take my chance when I get it,” Taylor said. “I’ve not had much of a chance this season and if I do play, I want to impress as much as I can.” Thursday January 1st Austin to leave when Krhin arrives Millwall have joined Brighton in eyeing a transfer-window move for Rodolph Austin with Leeds United’s interest in Rene Krhin threatening to end the Jamaican’s time at Elland Road. Leeds are ready to listen to approaches for Austin if Inter Milan agree to send 24-year-old Krhin to England on a half-season loan this month. United have been in talks with Inter ahead of the start of the January transfer window and the Championship club are confident of securing Krhin on a temporary basis with a view to a permanent transfer in July. A new central midfielder is one of Leeds’ main priorities but the signing of Krhin would leave former captain Austin surplus to requirements. The Jamaican international, who cost Leeds around £300,000 from Norwegian club SK Brann in 2012, has been in and out of United’s team this season and is edging into the latter stages of his contract at Elland Road. Austin’s three-year deal expires in June and he has not been offered an extension by the club. Brighton, who are one place above the Championship’s relegation zone and a point behind Leeds, enquired about Austin’s availability last month, prior to Sami Hyypia’s resignation as head coach at The Amex. The Sussex side appointed Chris Hughton as their new boss yesterday but might still follow up their initial approach after the January transfer window opens on Saturday. Millwall are also believed to be monitoring Austin with their manager, Ian Holloway, attempting to stave off relegation. Brighton’s win at Fulham on Monday dropped Millwall into the Championship’s bottom three, two places below Leeds, but United would not stop Austin from moving to either club. Leeds are continuing to work on an agreement with Inter and hope to add Krhin to their squad before their league game at Bolton Wanderers on January 10. Krhin, a Slovenia international, started his career in Milan but spent four years at Bologna after moving from the San Siro in a co-ownership deal in 2010. He returned to Inter six months ago and has made two competitive appearances this season. United head coach Neil Redfearn admitted new signings were needed after a 2-0 defeat to Derby County on Tuesday night, a result which left Leeds in serious trouble near the foot of their division.We’re finding it tough,” Redfearn said, “but it’s important to stick together. That’s the way we’ll make things better. It’s answers the players need. The lads in the dressing room need help”. Thursday January 1st. Leeds linked with Huddersfield’s Danny Ward Huddersfield Town frontman Danny Ward could be heading back to Leeds United. The versatile 24-year-old, who had four years as a junior with the Elland Road club before joining Bolton Wanderers, is believed to be on head coach Neil Redfearn’s list of January targets. Steve Thompson, who recently left Town to become Redfearn’s assistant, is also a fan of Ward, who cost a reported £1m in 2011. Leeds are under a transfer embargo for breaching Financial Fair Play, but have some room for manoeuvre because their current squad has fewer than 24 ‘established players’. They cannot pay a transfer fee, but Town could be willing to release or loan Ward, who is out of contract at the end of the season, as manager Chris Powell looks to reshape his squad. He has made only four starts, with 10 further outings from the bench, this term and is behind the likes of Sean Scannell, Harry Bunn, Joe Lolley and Adam Hammill in the pecking order. Leeds, who visit Town on January 31, are keen to recruit a wide player as they aim to move away from the Championship relegation zone. A fourth defeat in five games at Derby County on Tuesday left them 20th, just one point above the bottom three. Bradford-born Ward, who has also been linked with Blackpool, where his old Town boss Lee Clark is in charge, scored 10 goals in 40 games (29 starts) last season.