Erwin wants to go out on loan

Tuesday 29th of Sept Erwin looks to go on loan After being courted from Motherwell, his goals helping preserve their SPL status, Lee Erwin is seemingly open about going out on loan from Leeds United, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post. There is always that player in your eyes who sparkles for the ‘reserves’ but somehow doesn’t make it in the first team. For Leeds United, last season that player was Brian Montenegro, a player who scored 12 goals for the U-21 Development side. This season, up until now at least, it is Lee Erwin who is deserving of that title. His performances in the Leeds United Under-21 Development side have caught the eyes of Leeds United football fans and general observers alike, capped off with two quickfire goals yesterday in a 3-3 draw against QPR’s Under-21 Development side. His form has led some fans to question why, when Leeds are devoid of attacking talent, aren’t they making the call downwards to the Under-21s and bringing Erwin into the first team fold? When Massimo Cellino pushed through the transfer of Erwin from Motherwell to Leeds United, the young Scot was always seen as something of a slow-burner or a developmental project, the YEP reporting that Leeds United seem content with an approach that sees the club, “blooding the 21-year-old further down the Football League.” This approach, seems to strike a chord with the Leeds United youngster who thinks that time away from Elland Road, whilst playing regular first team football, will benefit him as he seeks to build a career with the Whites. Erwin confirmed to the YEP that Rosler had spoken to him regarding a potential loan move, something that he appears extremely open to. When asked directly, Erwin said, “I’d enjoy going out on loan if there’s no chance of me playing first-team football here. Once you get a taste of first-team football, like last year, it’s a lot better than under-21 football. Hopefully I can get out and prove my point. “If you look at Chris Wood and Mirco Antenucci, you can’t fault them or the way they’ve played. They’re doing really well and they deserve to be in the team. I understand that. It’s just a learning curve for me. I’ve got a lot to learn and I’ve always said that but I want to develop into a player who the club can use for the first team. I’ll hopefully get something sorted but if not, I’ll continue with my football here, develop and maybe get picked and get a chance.” Lee Erwin – Yorkshire Evening Post – September 29, 2015 Coming with a certain pedigree, if Lee Erwin goes out on loan, there will no doubt be a decent-sized queue of suitors waiting to take the Leeds United man on board


Adeyemi in action against Boro who didn’t have to work hard for the three goals gifted by Leeds

Sat 26th of September MIDDLESBROUGH 3 (Nugent 3, Bellusci og 32, Fabbrini 81), UNITED 0 United team: Silvestri, Berardi, Bellusci, Bamba, Taylor, Adeyemi, Cook, Mowatt, Botaka (Doukara 64), Dallas (Murphy 79), Antenucci. Subs: Turnbull, Wootton, Cooper, Phillips, Byram. Referee: N Swarbrick. Booked: Stuani, Fabbrini, Ayala (Middlesbrough) Att: 27,694 (2,652 United)  Sunday’s televised trip to Middlesbrough saw United head coach Uwe Rosler make five changes to his side from the win at MK Dons – one of which was enforced – as Mirco Antenucci started in place of the injured Chris Wood in attack. Elsewhere, Jordan Botaka was handed his Leeds debut, coming in for Sam Byram on the right wing, while Gaetano Berardi, Giuseppe Bellusci and Tom Adeyemi were all recalled to the team. The Riverside Stadium was a cauldron of noise come kick-off, and the hosts made a lightening start to proceedings as David Nugent forced the ball home from close-range inside the third minute following Christian Stuani’s cross from the right. Having opened the scoring, Boro appeared to be in control during the early exchanges and their lead could have been doubled on 11 minutes, but Marco Silvestri was alert with a superb, flying save to prevent Sol Bamba from turning Albert Adomah’s left-wing cross into his own net with a chested back-pass. But Leeds started to come into the game as the half progressed, and Rosler’s side had their first sight of goal inside the 19th minute following some smart build-up play involving Berardi and Botaka. The ball was worked down the right before Antenucci was slotted into the area, only to see his low effort from a tight angle held by Dimi Konstantopoulos. Despite signs of improvement from United, Boro doubled their lead on 32 minutes as Bellusci inadvertently turned George Friend’s cross from the left into his own net with a diving header. Rosler’s men looked to respond, with both Stuart Dallas and Alex Mowatt calling Konstantopoulos into action with efforts from the edge of the area, but the hosts took their two-goal advantage into the break following a late flurry of crosses into the box on the stroke of half-time.  Both sides re-emerged from the break unchanged and United made a much more promising start to the second half as Rosler urged his team forward. Only the heroics of Konstantopoulos denied them a way back into the game on the 53rd minute, as the increasingly busy Boro ‘keeper pushed away Mowatt’s free-kick as it curled towards the top corner. Dallas almost combined with Antenucci to work an opening inside the area, but United did have the ball in the back of the net inside the 55th minute, only to be ruled out for a late offside decision. Antenucci slotted the ball underneath Konstantopoulos and wheeled away in celebration after the linesman’s flag remained down but, after consulting the referee, the officials decided to rule the goal out for offside. It was a contentious call and one which – had it swung in United’s favour – could have seen the momentum swing towards the visitors. Instead, Rosler’s side continued to press for a goal which the vocal 2,652 travelling supporters deserved. Souleymane Doukara and Luke Murphy were both introduced – replacing Botaka and Dallas – but the third goal of the game eventually fell for the hosts. Second half-substitute Diego Fabbrini capitalised on Sol Bamba’s defensive slip before rounding Silvestri to find the net and wrap up the three points with just nine minutes remaining on the clock. Rosler reaction : “In many ways, the game turned out the way I predicted,” Rosler said. “Middlesbrough didn’t create much but they are very efficient and very deadly because of the quality they have in their squad – Premier League quality. “We met a team who we couldn’t allow to have too many of the sort of situations we gave them. “In general, the players did what I asked them to do. We got on the front foot, we tried to move the ball quick, we tried to attack them in the right way. “In the first half we were right in the game. There was nothing in it apart from us scoring their second goal. Their first was the first ball into the box and we couldn’t defend it. “We were clearly on top in the second half.” One of the positives which Rosler was particularly keen to take from the Riverside Stadium was the display on Jordan Botaka on his Leeds debut, with the winger making a good impression on his head coach during his 64 minutes on the pitch. “There were a lot of positives,” Rosler said. I think Jordan Botaka had a decent debut. He forced one of the most attacking full-backs in our league to stay back. “It was his first taste of English football and I think it was a good performance – something to build on. “I saw that he is getting physically ready for the Championship, I saw that he is a player who can take us forward on the pitch. “He looks for one-on-one situations and can open up gaps for us and commit defenders. That was encouraging and I’m looking forward to working with him in the weeks and months ahead. “Overall, I think we were part of a good football match. We’ve got to learn the lessons and today we got taught some lessons.”


Weds Sept 23rd Buckley an ideal signing for Whites – Virgo Will Buckley’s credentials as a Premier League player are open to debate after a hard year at Sunderland but clubs in the Championship know what they think of him. Several enquired about Buckley last month, Leeds United included, and a sizeable wage was the only the reason why he failed to find a new home before the transfer deadline. Ipswich Town rated the 25-year-old but did not fancy taking on a salary in excess of £20,000 a week. Leeds were similarly prudent and their refusal to dive into a deal will pay off next week when Buckley joins the club on a 93-day emergency loan. Sunderland’s determination to move him on just 12 months after valuing the winger at £2.5m tells the story of how Buckley’s situation has changed.

His move to Sunderland and his opportunity in the Premier League came about last summer on the strength of three years with Brighton. Quick and old-fashioned in style – “knock the ball past the full-back and cross,” as one journalist puts it – Buckley’s career followed a steep trajectory from the days when he eared a few hundred pounds a week at Rochdale. Watford took him higher up the English pyramid in 2010 and Gus Poyet tempted him to Brighton 18 months later for a club record fee of around £1m. Adam Virgo, a former Brighton defender who now works as a football pundit for Channel Five, said the interest in Buckley during the recent transfer window was a legacy of form on the south coast which as not been forgotten. “Clubs have seen what he’s capable of in the Championship,” Virgo told the YEP. “Sunderland doesn’t change that. “When you get a call from a Premier League club you’re going to take it. And don’t forget that when he went there, Brighton were selling all of their best players – Ulloa, Bridcutt, Ashley Barnes. It was the right decision to go. “In the Championship you’d call him a very good signing, a winger who clubs who want to sign. He’ll help Uwe (Rosler) because he’s versatile. In a 4-3-3 formation he can play left or right without a problem. He’s right-footed but he puts in a decent delivery from both sides. He’s naturally quick and away from home he’s very good at carrying the ball 20 or 30 yards upfield, taking the pressure off. “That’s a pretty valuable skill in the Championship because Championship teams don’t keep the ball that well. There’s a lot of transition. The way he plays will let Uwe’s midfielders get into the box more. I think you’ll see more chances created for the likes of Chris Wood. That’s his game and that’s what he does.”

Brighton reached the play-offs in both of Buckley’s last two seasons at The Amex. Poyet masterminded the first of those runs before leaving amid a bitter and public fall-out with the club. The Uruguayan tried and failed to sign Buckley midway through the following season but went back to Brighton in August 2014 with an offer of £2.5m. Buckley by that stage had indicated his desire to leave. Buckley’s debut for Sunderland was encouraging – 79 minutes in a 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United – but other impressive moments came only in flashes. Some who watched Buckley believed that he lacked the strength and a yard of pace to thrive in the Premier League. A knee injury suffered in January didn’t help and by the time Buckley recovered, Poyet had been sacked.


Buckley looking to kick start his career at Leeds

Buckley started one game under Poyet’s replacement, Dick Advocaat. He was substituted at half-time of a 1-1 draw with Stoke City. Advocaat’s decision was said to have been designed to alter Sunderland’s shape, rather than pointing the finger at Buckley, but it was a warning to the winger nonetheless. At the end of last season Sunderland began seeking a buyer for Buckley and valued him at £1m. Advocaat warned him that he would be limited to game with the club’s Under-21s if a move did not materialise before the deadline. Leeds held talks about Buckley as late as August 28 but decided to sit tight until the emergency loan window opened. Their patience was rewarded over the weekend when Sunderland agreed to a loan which will start a week on Friday and run to January 2. Buckley began training at Thorp Arch yesterday and is preparing to make his debut against Birmingham City next Saturday. “I don’t know how his fitness is because he won’t have played much at Sunderland,” Virgo said. “It’s pretty clear he’s got no future there. “He had hamstring problems at Brighton, especially in his second year, and that sometimes stopped him from getting into fifth gear. He wasn’t the same player in that period, mainly because he seemed to be holding back slightly. “But my only concern with him would be confidence. He’s a confidence player. On his day he’s almost unplayable. On a Tuesday night you’d watch a game and think ‘Will Buckley’s the reason Brighton got three points’. Then on Saturday he wouldn’t see so much of the ball, he’d get frustrated and go into his shell pretty quickly. Wingers can be like that.”Leeds needed to sign someone like him and at his best the fans will love the way he plays. Fans always love a winger who runs at defenders and managers do to. “It might not have worked out at Sunderland but it’s not a surprise that so many Championship clubs wanted him. He’s a great signing in this league.”


Cornman as usual poor at diplomacy and difficult to see his point when Byram is being offered a reduction in wage to sign on. I doubt if we would have seen Pearson slate a player in public like this.

Weds 23rd of September Has Cellino made his first mistake post Pearson ? It just a week since Adam Pearson resigned as chief executive of Leeds United, and already owner Massimo Cellino is making headlines – and not really for the right reasons. Pearson quit to focus on other business interests, but his departure has left a void at the club, which Cellino appears intent to fill. While Pearson was in post, Cellino was barely heard from, fading into background at the club, with positive decisions taken off the pitch. The Italian may well have been strongly involved with these, and to his credit he fronted up the money to sign players like Chris Wood, Sol Bamba and Stuart Dallas. His decision this week to talk to the press and publicly call out Sam Byram was not so smart. He told The Yorkshire Evening Post: “Sam Byram is the only one that maybe thinks Leeds is too small for him. “He maybe thinks he deserves to be in a bigger team and a bigger club and maybe he’s right. But when I hear that a player from Leeds, with his agent, that he thinks that Leeds is not big enough for him, that he wants something bigger, I felt really embarrassed. “He didn’t sign the new contract and he won’t sign it anymore. He’s been offered a contract a few times, he didn’t want to sign and I am deeply offended.” Byram’s contract saga has been bubbling under for months, with the youngster having just one year left to run on his contract, with Premier League clubs circling. His place in the Leeds team is even less than assured at present, with Gaetano Berardi and Jordan Botaka potentially keeping him out of right-back and right-wing spots. Even so, Cellino knows losing Byram for free would be a disaster for the club financially, and could come back to bite them from a sporting perspective too. So it appears he is deliberately putting the youngster under pressure to sign, and trying to keep supporters onside. Yet many will be able to see through what he is doing, even if Cellino’s actions are out of pure exasperation with Byram’s refusal to commit. This is a saga best dealt with behind closed doors and not in the press, and it’s fair to wonder if this would have happened had Adam Pearson still been at the club.

Tues 22nd of Sept. Cellino on his vision for Whites United chairman Massimo Cellino has outlined his vision for the club to achieve Premier League promotion, saying “we have two years to build something together”. In an interview with Sky Sports, Cellino explained what his aims are for the current season and how he plans to develop “this team in the right way”. “We have two years to build something together,” he said. “I myself think that if I am not going to build something, then I am not going to do this job. I am a professional. “I want to grow something, to farm this team in the right way, and to look in 24 months’ time to see how the team will be to try to go to the Premier League. “I do not want Premier League football; I wish for it. I am very superstitious. If you want something in football you never get it. If you wish for something then you get it. “This year, if we get close, maybe we can make the play-offs. But this team has to be built and to grow. “It’s not ready yet, I don’t think. The target is to keep us in the Championship.” 22nd of September


Monday 21st of Sept Leeds United: Five key facts about Will Buckley

Former Brighton and Hove Albion player Will Buckley is set to join Leeds. WITH Leeds United completing a deal to sign Will Buckley on loan, we look at five key facts you will need to know about the winger.

1 He played at Wembley in his first season at Rochdale


Buckley about to be come a White next week

Buckley made his first league appearance in Rochdale’s 4-2 home defeat against Hereford United on February 12, 2008 when coming on as a substitute. His first start for the club in a 1-0 defeat against Wycombe Wanderers on February 23 of that year. Buckley played at Wembley in that season as Rochdale made it to the League Two play-off final against Stockport County. Coming on as a 73rd-minute substitute, his side were already 3-1 down and eventually went on to lose 3-2. Buckley scored his first professional goal against Rotherham in September of the following season. After another defeat in the play-offs and 59 appearances for Rochdale, he was eventually sold to Watford in January 2010.

2 Brighton and Sunderland spent millions on him

Buckley signed for Brighton & Hove Albion for £1m on June 6, 2011 after playing just 39 times for the Hornets and scoring five goals. He played three full seasons on the south coast, tottinig up 96 appearances and scoring 19 goals. His form attracted a host of Premier League sides and eventually saw him snapped up by Sunderland in August 2014, for an undisclosed fee, believed to be £2.5m. Buckley has only played 22 games for the Black Cats and has yet to find the net.

3 Gus Poyet is a big fan

Former Leeds United assistant manager Poyet has signed Buckley twice, when in charge of Brighton and then again during his time at Sunderland. A knee injury curtailed his season last year as he made only two appearances after January 24. Poyet was sacked from the club in March and Buckley has since struggled to hold down a place in Dick Advocaat’s side.

4 Home hero

Buckley fired in both goals for Brighton as they came back to beat Doncaster Rovers in the very first match at the Amex Stadium. His late double has gone down in Seagulls folklore.

5 He can play for Ireland

The winger is eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland through his grandfather, but he is yet to make a senior international appearance.


Will Buckley will give more options on the flank, but does it mean that Byram will be leaving in January ?

Monday 23rd of September Buckley set to join Whites Sunderland winger Will Buckley is set to begin training with United ahead of signing on an emergency loan deal next week. Opting to start the loan after Sunday’s trip to Middlesbrough enables the club to have Buckley available for the maximum amount of games. It means he will remain a Leeds player until January 2 – the day of our home game with MK Dons. Otherwise, he would have been due to return to Sunderland over the Christmas period as the maximum length of an emergency loan is 93 days. The 25-year-old, who moved to the Stadium of Light from Brighton last summer, made 24 appearances in all competitions during his debut season with the Black Cats. However, Buckley is yet to feature in 2015/16 and was heavily linked with a switch to Elland Road over the summer, despite being named in Dick Advocaat’s 24-man Premier League squad. The Oldham-born winger began his career with Rochdale having progressed through their youth system, and he sealed a move to Watford in 2010 after emerging as one of the Football League’s brightest young talents. A year-and-a-half later he was snapped up by Brighton for a then club record fee of £1million following their promotion to the Championship. Buckley made 109 appearances during his three-year spell with the Seagulls, scoring 19 goals along the way as he helped Gus Poyet’s side mount a push for the top-flight. August 2014 saw him follow Poyet into the Premier League by joining Sunderland for a reported £2.5m fee. Buckley has another two years remaining on his current deal at the Stadium of Light.

Sat 19 th of Sept. Rosler on performance Uwe Rosler felt United should have “killed the game off” during the early stages of the second half of Saturday’s 2-1 win at MK Dons, but the head coach was pleased with how his side “dug deep” to claim the three points. First-half goals from Chris Wood (penalty) and Charlie Taylor sent Rosler’s men into the break with a 2-0 lead, despite the hosts spurning a number of chances in the opening 45 minutes. “There were so many twists and turns in the game,” Rosler said. “Being 2-0 up at half-time, I felt we managed the first 15-20 minutes of the second half and were pressing for a third goal. “I felt we could have easily scored in that period. Then the panic button came into play, even with a man more. “All credit to MK Dons, they made some tactical changes. They put ball after ball in our box and found a momentum with corners. “We found it difficult to get the ball down to play, even with our one-man advantage. “In this league you need to find a way to win, even when you’re not playing pretty over 90 minutes. That’s what we did in the end.” The head coach continued: “When you see the whole game and how big the chances were for both teams, I think we should have killed the game off in the first 15 minutes of the second half. “We didn’t do that and we made it difficult for ourselves for the last half an hour. “But it’s about character. The team dug deep and were terrific. “We were a little bit nervous, you could see that. We had not won ma ny games on the road. “We had not been beaten in many games but I think the Bristol City game was in the back of our minds today. “That’s understandable for me but that will get better.” Rosler was also full of praise for goalscorer Taylor, who doubled United’s lead with a stunning solo strike. “I think Charlie Taylor has been magnificent throughout the whole season,” he said. “I had the luxury of giving Gaetano a bit of a break. The last time we had three games in one week, Scott Wootton came in and did very well at Bristol City. “I had that luxury on the right hand side. On the left Charlie has played every single game and he’s doing that very impressively. “He has a great future in front of him. He’s willing to learn and he’ll keep getting better and better.”

Sat 19th of Sept MK DONS 1 (Church 74), UNITED 2 (Wood pen 31, Taylor 43)

United team: Silvestri, Wootton, Cooper, Bamba, Taylor, Murphy, Cook, Mowatt (Adeyemi 77), Byram (Antenucci 84), Dallas (Bellusci 90+2), Wood. Subs: Turnbull, Berardi, Phillips, Botaka. Referee: D Webb Booked: Lewington (MK Dons), Cooper, Wootton (United) Sent off: Carruthers (MK Dons) Att: 19,284 (6,297)

United made the trip to MK Dons looking to respond to their first league defeat of the season – Tuesday’s 1-0 loss at home to Ipswich – and head coach Uwe Rosler made three changes as Scott Wootton, Alex Mowatt and Sam Byram all returned to the side in place of Gaetano Berardi, Tom Adeyemi and Mirco Antenucci.

Over 6,000 United fans had made the trip to stadiummk, and Rosler’s side made a lively start as Mowatt and Byram combined to create an early opening, only for Mowatt’s strike to be blocked on the edge of the area. Charlie Taylor then fired wide from distance before the hosts stepped into gear with a series of chances.

First, Carl Baker hit a low effort well wide of Marco Silvestri’s post after being invited forward, before Sol Bamba was well-placed to steer away Jordan Spence’s dangerous-looking cross from the right with a superb, sliding clearance.


Charlie Taylor celebrates his goal

But their best opening fell to Rob Hall, who skipped away from two yellow shirts on his way into the United area before lashing a strike inches wide.

At the opposite end, Chris Wood was agonisingly close to connecting with Lewis Cook’s floated ball over the top after the striker had evaded the offside trap, while Josh Murphy curled over the bar for the hosts in an end-to-end opening 20 minutes.

It took a while for Silvestri to truly be called into action, though, and the United ‘keeper was alert to acrobatically turn Sam Gallagher’s effort over the bar with a fine, fingertip save.

Dons stopper David Martin was forced into his first save of the afternoon on 24 minutes, and he got down sharply to his right to hold Wood’s low attempt as it headed on target.

Dons pair Hall and Murphy both threatened, with the latter denied by Silvestri’s outstretched leg at the near post after working his way into the area, but it was United who managed to break the deadlock on 31 minutes through Wood’s fourth of the season.

Taylor surged into the area down the left and went down under a clumsy challenge from Baker, prompting referee David Webb to point to the spot. Wood stepped up and made no mistake, coolly sending Martin the wrong way to the delight of the travelling supporters.

And Wood could have doubled United’s advantage from close-range just seven minutes later, but the striker saw Stuart Dallas’ whipped cross late and could only turn it over the bar with his chest.

The hosts looked to respond and a brilliant reflex save from Silvestri pushed Hall’s strike onto the post before Gallagher smashed the rebound high and over the bar with an open goal gaping.

Then, on the stroke of half-time, United made it 2-0 thanks to a superb individual goal from Taylor. The full-back advanced forward, shrugging off several white shirts before firing an unstoppable strike into the bottom corner.

Leeds were in the ascendancy and looked to keep it that way after both sides had re-emerged unchanged for the second half.

Byram curled over the bar within four minutes of the restart after beating his marker with a drop of the shoulder, while Mowatt was denied by Martin at his near post following some persistent play by the midfielder to work an opening inside the area.

Dons boss Karl Robinson looked to stem the tide and was prompted into his first changes of the afternoon on 58 minutes, replacing Gallagher and Hall with Simon Church and Ben Reeves in attack.

It was Murphy who remained their biggest threat, though, and the winger saw his low strike held by Silvestri as the game passed the hour mark.

The United goalkeeper was then forced into another fine, fingertip save – this time to divert Diego Poyet’s first-time effort over the bar – before Murphy slammed the post with a ferocious strike after bursting into the area.

And when the hosts did manage to pull a goal back, Murphy was the provider as his low cross from the left was turned home from close-range by the substitute Church.

Rosler then introduced Adeyemi in midfield in place of Mowatt, but his side were soon up against ten men after Samir Carruthers was shown a straight red card for a mis-timed challenge on Dallas.

Despite their shortage in numbers, the hosts threw everything forward in the closing stages and Silvestri did well to beat away Reeves’ goalbound free-kick with two strong hands.

United almost made their numerical advantage count on the break, though, as Wood slammed into the side-netting after being slotted into the area by Dallas.

Six minutes were added at the end of the 90 and Rosler brought Giuseppe Bellusci on in place of Dallas to help see out the lead.

It was a frantic finale and goalline clearances at both ends could have made for a different scoreline. A Dons corner was headed clear and Leeds broke with Martin off his line. Cook raced forward but was denied by a superb recovering clearance on the line in the game’s final piece of drama as United clinched the points to return to winning ways.

Cellinoand Pearson

Cornman is to take on Pearson’s workload. The one signing he did try and do himself he fu##ed up when the player signed for Sheff Weds (a lesser club) after all his messing

Weds 16th of Sept – Cellino has no plans to replace Pearson Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has no plans to appoint a new chief executive despite Adam Pearson’s dramatic resignation. The YEP understands that Cellino will personally pick up much of Pearson’s workload in the wake of the 50-year-old’s sudden departure from Elland Road. Pearson ended a four-month spell as executive director when he tendered his resignation to Cellino over the weekend. He and the Italian met on Sunday before speaking again at Elland Road on Monday to finalise his exit. Pearson’s departure was formally announced after last night’s 1-0 defeat to Ipswich Town. The former Hull City owner helped Cellino to manage an eventful summer and was seen as a key influence behind the most settled spell of Cellino’s time as majority shareholder. Head coach Uwe Rosler described himself as “devastated” by the news of Pearson’s resignation and Cellino used a club statement to thank Pearson for his “efforts and his loyalty”. Pearson assumed the role of executive director in May, shortly after Cellino returned to United at the end of his Football League ownership ban. A source close to the club told the YEP that Cellino would be “doubling his workload” following Pearson’s exit and was not planning to look for a replacement.

Sept 16th Five things Adam Pearson brought to Leeds United

Adam Pearson has left Leeds United. In the wake of Adam Pearson’s shock departure from Leeds United on Tuesday night, the Yorkshire Evening Post analyses five things he did in his brief four months in charge.

1: Experience of running an English football club

Massimo Cellino with Adam Pearson

Or ‘a’ football club for that matter. Leeds have had other employees in the chief executive mould during Massimo Cellino’s time as owner – Matt Child and Andrew Umbers last season – but both Child and Umbers were learning on the job. Pearson’s experience of running Hull City gave him the training and, just as crucially, the contacts for the job. When it came to reshaping the staff at the academy, he knew what to look for and where to find them. When it came to transfers, he knew which deals to push and which to suggest that Leeds pulled back from. He saw commercial agreements across the line and spoke publicly with the sort of clarity that United have been missing for many years. Most of the staff respected him – albeit with certain exceptions – and it was generally felt that Pearson as executive director could only be an asset. Working beneath Cellino, he’s the one person who has managed to make Leeds run like a Championship club.

2: The ability to complete deals

Cellino has and will always have the final say on transfer at Elland Road but so much of United’s summer transfer business was left to Pearson. The 50-year-old negotiated Billy Sharp’s departure to Sheffield United and was left to tie up most of the signings made by the club. Leeds set realistic targets and did not miss out on many players who interested them. It may be significant, or perhaps coincidence, that the one deal which Cellino looked after personally – the attempt to land Fernando Forestieri from Watford – was the deal which became messy and acrimonious. That’s not to say that Pearson had the midas touch. Negotiations with Sam Byram over a new contract came to nothing last month and the severance of Neil Redfearn’s contract as academy manager was not pretty. But business in Pearson’s hands was as safe as it should be in the hands of a club’s chief executive.

3: Credibility

It is still not clear exactly why Pearson was so willing to make himself available to Cellino and align himself with a club who had untold problems in May. Some said at the outset that Pearson was the eyes and ears for a future investor, a claim he always laughed off. It is true, certainly, that Pearson had previous history with Leeds and is naturally attracted to professional football but his willingness to get involved at Elland Road was a coup for Cellino and something of a Godsend for as long as it lasted. United’s supporters were inclined to trust him and Pearson tended to deliver on promises. “You’ll see some key appointments,” Pearson said on the day Uwe Rosler was named as head coach. Rosler’s backroom staff, including head of recruitment Martyn Glover, is fully five strong. Pearson promised changes at the academy and the changes arrived. How effective they’ll be remains to be seen but Leeds have operated with increased credibility in the past four months. That’s why Pearson’s departure will cause so much concern.

4: The knack of controlling Cellino


Pearson at the unveiling of Rosler

When you think of Pearson’s influence, you think back to the launch of United’s new kit in July. It was the first time Cellino had been seen out and about for a while and his demeanour was an eye-opener – relaxed, happy and quite detached. For the first time, he seemed pleased about the idea of someone else nudging him into the background and carrying the can and the bulk of the workload. Some journalists thought the stress which Cellino once coped with was more visible in Pearson, which was not surprising considering the weight of responsibility Cellino took on when he first bought United. But the bottom line is that they found a way of working together and co-existing. Leeds will do well to find another chief executive who can keep Cellino so sweet.

5: A long-term view

A strange thing to say when Pearson is clearing his desk after less than six months in his job. But he understood the concept of stability. He wanted Rosler to be given space and peace to get his plan up and running. He wanted to make sure the academy was supplemented with new staff and given an experienced boss. When he talked last night about his “huge level of disappointment” at moving on from Elland Road, he was essentially admitting that he did not expect or plan to be leaving so soon. “I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think I was going to stay,” he insisted in May. Did Pearson, who still runs Hull FC rugby league side, burn out or is there more to his departure? The question was bound to be asked.


Tuesday 15th of Sept. Pearson quits Leeds United suffered a dramatic and unforeseen setback last night as executive director Adam Pearson quit his job at Elland Road. In a move which threatens Leeds’ recent stability, Pearson left the post he took up in May, telling the YEP that he was “taking a break” but saying his relationship with Massimo Cellino had ended amicably. News of Pearson’s exit broke yesterday evening, confirmed by the 50-year-old shortly after Leeds suffered their first defeat of the Championship season at home to Ipswich Town. The former Hull City chairman, who has continued to control rugby league side Hull FC during his time at Elland Road, played a pivotal part in a summer which saw United recruit a new coaching team and add eight players to their senior squad. Pearson was widely credited with bringing calm to a club who stumbled from crisis to crisis during Cellino’s first year as owner. In an open letter published on the club’s website, Pearson said

Adam Pearson Open Letter


Our best signing of this and many other summers has left. Why ?

“It is with great disappointment that I have to confirm I’ll be taking a break from Leeds United and football in general, in order to focus on other personal and business interests.

I have really enjoyed my time at Leeds United and would like to thank everybody, the staff and supporters, that have made me feel so welcome.

I’d also like to thank Mr Cellino for allowing me to work closely with him in what I feel has been a very productive summer for the football club.

There are some outstanding staff members in both coaching and administrative roles and an emerging young team that I am sure, with Mr Cellino’s continued support, will ultimately find their way back to the Premier League.

It is with a huge level of disappointment that I cannot continue to contribute to the revival of what now is a very strong football club once more.

I wish Uwe and his coaching team all the very best in their quest for a successful season and it is reassuring to see the club moving forward again in such a positive manner.

Once again, thank you for your support.

Adam Pearson

Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino added: “I want to thank Adam for his efforts and his loyalty to Leeds United.

“I will be keeping the role open for him and I hope to welcome him back at some point in the future.

“We worked very well together and we will remain good friends. He will always have my support.

“It saddens me that he is stepping away to focus on other personal and business interests, but he knows that he is welcome back at the club if he feels ready.”


Sat 15th of September UNITED 0, IPSWICH 1 (Smith 32) United team: Silvestri, Berardi, Cooper, Bamba, Taylor, Murphy, Cook, Adeyemi (Mowatt 69), Dallas (Byram 59), Antenucci, Wood. Subs: Turnbull, Wootton, Bellusci, Phillips, Doukara. Referee: J Adcock Booked: Bamba, Cook, Byram (United), Parr (Ipswich) Att: 21,312 (520 Ipswich)

The midweek visit of Ipswich Town saw United head coach Uwe Rosler make two changes from the weekend’s 1-1 draw with Brentford, replacing Alex Mowatt and Sam Byram with Luke Murphy and Mirco Antenucci after the pair had made positive impacts as second-half substitutes against the Bees.

The opening 10 minutes passed without a sight of goal for either side, but United had started fairly brightly as Gaetano Berard’s low cross was scrambled clear with Chris Wood lurking inside the area, while Lewis Cook had an early penalty appeal waved away following a surging run into the box.

Despite a fast-paced start to proceedings, both goalkeepers remained untested as the game reached the 20-minute mark, with the hosts just seeing more of the ball and mainly inside the Ipswich half.

The first effort on goal eventually came midway through the first half and it came through Saturday’s goalscorer, Antenucci. He was invited forward after picking up the ball on the edge of the area but his low strike was deflected into the arms of Ipswich ‘keeper Dean Gerken.

Leeds were starting to apply the pressure and Berardi tried his luck from range after a corner had been cleared into his path, only for his strike to sail high and wide.

But the deadlock was broken at the opposite end on 32 minutes as defender Tommy Smith headed home from close range after United had failed to clear their lines from a corner.

David McGoldrick then blasted over from a tight angle under close watch from United captain Sol Bamba. Leeds looked to respond and both Tom Adeyemi and Antenucci had shots blocked as a frustrating first half drew to a close.

David McGoldrick then blasted over from a tight angle under close watch from United captain Sol Bamba. Leeds looked to respond and both Tom Adeyemi and Antenucci had shots blocked as a frustrating first half drew to a close.


Leeds should have gotten a pen but not any points

Both sides re-emerged unchanged for the second half and Ipswich made a lively start, with Marco Silvestri getting down sharply to hold Daryl Murphy’s drilled cross from the left. The United ‘keeper then clutched onto Ashley Maitland-Niles’ volley after a clearance had fallen kindly into the path of the Arsenal loanee.

Silvestri was again called upon to push away Ryan Fraser’s deflected effort as Town pressed for a second.

As the game approached the hour mark, Rosler was prompted into his first change of the evening, introducing Byram in place of Dallas on the right wing.

Leeds looked to step things up a gear and soon threatened through Cook, gliding through the Ipswich midfield and exchanging passes with Wood before firing over from just outside the area.

Ipswich were enjoying the better of the chances, though, and both Fraser and Murphy threatened as Leeds’ frustrations grew. Mowatt replaced Adeyemi in midfield with 20 minutes remaining on the clock, hoping to repeat his goalscoring heroics in this fixture earlier in the year.

Cook was the player looking United’s biggest threat with his speed on the break, and the young midfielder twice fired wide from outside the area as the home crowd urged the team forward in the closing 10 minutes.

“It was disappointing,” the head coach said. “The game turned out the way we thought, especially in the first half – they were very physical and went back to basics after their 5-1 defeat. “They made the game a scrap and we couldn’t make the game into our game, pass and move and get the ball down to play. “We didn’t have enough spells of doing that. We wanted to get on the ball from the back but they tried to pressure us. “I think we needed a little more bravery to get on the ball at times. When we get the ball down and put three or four passes together, we look like a decent football team. “In the second half I felt they drew us into their long-ball game, which they obviously did better than us. “They played the time down and some decisions went against us. “Overall, a disappointing evening and we have to learn to play against teams who make it difficult for us to get on the ball.”

United were shite tonight. The keeper was poor, but then again he is a poor keeper.

Sat 13th of Sept Leeds (Antenucci 76), BRENTFORD 1 (Djuricin 29) United team: Silvestri, Berardi, Bamba, Cooper, Taylor, ALEEDS UTD V BRENTFORD 12-9-2015deyemi (Murphy 57), Cook, Mowatt (Antenucci 46), Byram, Dallas, Wood. Subs: Turnbull, Wootton, Bellusci, Phillips, Doukara. Referee: N Miller. Booked: Dallas, Antenucci (United), Colin, Diagouraga, Judge (Brentford). Att: 25,126  Brentford (621) United returned from the two-week international break to face Brentford at Elland Road, and head coach Uwe Rosler named an unchanged team from the one victorious last time out at Derby County. United, having made an unbeaten start in league, entered the game buoyed by that late iPro Stadium victory, but it was the visitors Brentford who were first to threaten as Gaetano Berardi was forced to hack Konstantin Kerschbaumer’s low strike off the line inside the opening minute. Leeds soon started to apply some pressure and Bees ‘keeper David Button was called upon to unconvincingly push away Charlie Taylor’s curling effort from range. The hosts were the ones seeing more of the ball and looked the more likely of the two to open the scoring without really threatening. Stuart Dallas, facing his former club for the first time, curled a right-footed effort over on 22 minutes, but both goalkeepers remained untested. At the opposite end, Alan Judge cut inside from the left before lashing high and wide, but the Bees managed to break the deadlock inside the 29th-minute, turning free inside the area before slotting beyond Silvestri. Rosler’s side pushed forward in search of a response but a frustrating first half was brought to a close with Brentford on top. Mirco Antenucci was introduced in place of Alex Mowatt at the start of the second half as Rosler switched to a more attack-minded 4-4-2 formation. But it was Brentford who forced the first opening after the restart as Jake Bidwell’s back-post header bounced across the face of goal, but Chris Wood was alert to turn the ball behind for a corner. Antenucci’s introduction appeared to have given Leeds an added impetus going forward, though, and he was inches away from poking home Dallas’ low cross after the winger had weaved his way towards the byline. Rosler’s second change of the afternoon then saw Luke Murphy replace Tom Adeyemi in midfield. United were showing signs of improvement and Byram curled over the bar from 20 yards after Lewis Cook had glided forward in trademark fashion. Brentford continued to look dangerous with their pace on the break, and opening goalscorer Djuricin really should have doubled their lead when he was found unmarked inside the area, only to clip the base of the post with a casual, first-time effort. Leeds then hit the woodwork themselves on 65 minutes as Wood’s deflected effort from close-range was tipped onto the post by Button before Brentford managed to scramble clear. The game was starting to open up with the hosts pushing forward, and Lasse Vibe drilled over the bar from 20 yards out following a quick Bees counter-attack. But Leeds pulled level in the 76th minute courtesy of Antenucci’s third goal of the season. Wood found the Italian on the right of the area and – similar to his opening day equaliser against Burnley – he cut inside before curling a delightful strike beyond the helpless Button. The goal put the hosts on the front foot and Byram twice threatened with strikes from distance as the game headed towards four minutes of added time. Taylor then looped a header into Button’s arms, but the golden opportunity to win it fell to Antenucci in the final minute of stoppage time, racing through on goal before Button held his low effort as it ended honours even.


Friday Sep 11th 2015 Who is Jordan Botaka?- YP

Jordan Botaka became Leeds United’s eighth and final summer signing when he joined the club from Excelsior on a two-year deal last week. Here, football journalist Peter McVitie – an expert on the Dutch game and a writer for BeNeFoot.net – gives the YEP the lowdown on the little-known Congo international.

Botaka was largely unheard of in Leeds before his transfer to Elland Road. How surprising was it to learn that Leeds United were interested in signing him?

PM: The interest was quite surprising given that he is so young and has only played two full seasons of first-team football – with one of those coming in the second tier of Dutch football.

The indication from sources at Leeds was that the deal to sign Botaka was worth around £1m to Excelsior. Have Excelsior commented on the size of the transfer fee?


Jordan Botaka

PM: No fee has been announced but when chief executive Ferry de Haan was asked about the €£1.5million transfer – which had been reported – he laughed and said Botaka was sold for much less than that.

Leeds also showed a serious interest in NEC’s Anthony Limbombe and saw an offer for him rejected. Have they signed a better player in Botaka?

PM: They’ve certainly signed a more established player. Limbombe is a very thrilling and somewhat similar player to Botaka but the latter is a year older, more developed and has already shown what he can do in the Dutch top flight. Limbombe featured for Genk in the Belgian league but never established himself as a first-team player until he moved to NEC.As Botaka was available for a smaller price than Limbombe – who is pivotal to a NEC team trying to remain in the Eredivisie and who’ve already lost many key players – it’s a good deal for Leeds.

Botaka joined Excelsior from Club Brugge two years ago. What was your impression of him when he first signed and how much has he improved in the last two seasons?

PM: We had no idea what to expect from him because he hadn’t played much first-team football during his time in Belgium or his loan period in Portugal (with Belenenses).

When he joined Excelsior, they were in the second tier and it took him no time to establish himself in the first team. When Marinus Dijkhuizen was brought in as coach in January 2014, he turned Excelsior into a more effective attacking team and Botaka was critical in that, scoring seven goals in the second half of the season to help them reach the playoffs. He finished the campaign with 10 league goals and had a couple of assists in one of their play-offs to help the club get promoted. What was so interesting about Excelsior in 2014-15 was that the core of players who brought them up remained in the team. They just built on that. Botaka was a pivotal part of the team. Starting generally on the right wing, he often switched to the left and operated as a direct threat on goal.

Last season he was more of a creator than a goalscorer – he found the net once with a backheel – and showed he had good balance to his game by drifting inside when Excelsior attacked from deep and staying out wide to create space when the opposition needed stretched.

He has taken to his first spell of first-team football very well and developed significantly throughout – though he was clearly a talented player from the beginning.

Leeds see Botaka as a quick, skilful winger but how would you describe him? What are his strengths and what are his weaknesses?

PM: Botaka is a flashy, skilful winger with lovely close control and immense pace. He plays with his head up and blends his individual ability well with his ability to play for the team. It could be said that his main weakness is one aspect that makes him so exciting – he likes to take risks with his dribbles which sees him give the ball away quite a bit. It makes him a thrilling player to watch but might irritate his coach.

Was he a player who carried respect in Excelsior’s dressing room? What is his attitude like and what is his reputation in Dutch football?

PM: Botaka has a good reputation as a talented young footballer and there is something very admirable in the way he has risen up through a difficult and unsteady life to finally start making his mark in a career which was also tough from the beginning. As an infant, he and his family had to flee his homeland in DR Congo because of war and they jumped from asylum centre to asylum centre for five years before they finally settled.

He always wanted to be a football player and says his father was extremely supportive in helping him realise his dream. But he went through several youth teams and failed trials before he was finally given a chance.

At Club Brugge he wasn’t able to get his breakthrough and it seemed difficult for him despite his raw ability. But he has really taken advantage of the chance he received, worked very hard to get to where he is and wants to honour his late father by fulfilling his potential. It’s hard not to admire someone and hope for the best when they have been so driven to make their dream a reality, despite the hardships.

They say that Botaka is nicknamed ‘The Wizard’. Was this a nickname given to him by Excelsior’s fans?

PM: This is an interesting story, actually. About a year ago someone decided to make a video compilation of Botaka’s personal highlights throughout his first year at Excelsior. The maker of the video decided to put ‘The Wizard’ in the title of it. Then about a year later he attracted interest from Leeds United and some people in the media in England had never heard of Botaka before. They Googled him, saw that video title, assumed it was his established nickname and decided to refer to him as ‘The Wizard’. (So no, he was never called that.)

How disappointed are Excelsior and their supporters to be losing Botaka? Do they see his transfer as a big loss?

PM: He was an important player for an Excelsior team which is desperate to stay in the Eredivisie again this term. They have changed their style slightly and lost their head coach Marinus Dijkhuizen and Botaka was a key part of the squad so it’s a bit of a blow for the Rotterdam team.

This is Botaka’s first opportunity in English football. How do you think he will cope in the Championship?

PM: I think he will do well once he adapts to the physical aspect of the game. I don’t think he’ll get as much time on the ball as he’s used to but he has the ability to succeed for Leeds and he’s still developing as a player. There’s more to come from Botaka. Overall I think it’s a good move for him and Leeds United.


Sunday 6th of September Leeds keen on winger MAN CITY, LATEST NEWS UPDATE: 3 HOURS 34 MINUTES AGO Brandon Barker looks set to leave Manchester City on loan with Leeds United reported to be stepping up their interest in him. The highly-rated youngster remained at the Etihad Stadium as the transfer deadline came and went, but there is still a chance he could be on the move in the coming weeks. The emergency loan window is due to open for clubs outside of the Premier League, and Manuel Pellegrini is keen for Barker to go and get some regular game time under his belt. There is no shortage of interest in the talented winger but Leeds boss and former City star Uwe Rosler, will be hoping to use his connections to take him to Elland Road. Pellegrini will want guarantees over the amount of game time Barker will get, but there is a good chance the youngster will be heading over the M62 to West Yorkshire. Read more about Man City.

Sept 3rd. From : “I hate Leeds” – Leed spend £6.8M in smarter ways than their peers

I remember when we signed Million Dollar Murph, the first time we’d broken into six-figures since Richard Cresswell in 2005 it seemed like we’d turned a corner. We hadn’t. Then the Summer of madness happened when El Presidente rolled into town and started indelicately spraying money and foreign players into the squad, which also didn’t really work. This Summer we’ve been far more measured, far more considered, far more deliberate. I think we’ve had a really positive window. The first one in years and I think when you look at our peers, I think we’ve spent well.

It’s a funny eco-system in the Championship. Bristol City bidding £9m for Andre Gray, Wednesday bidding £10m for Ross McCormack, Derby spending £6m on Bradley Johnson – money has been flying around. Leeds are never going to be one of those clubs; from top to bottom we’re practicing a different ethos. Where those 3 bids above are clubs trying to pay top dollar for established (and proven) players, we’re operating under a more uncertain philosophy. Buy promising players at the more youthful end of the scale and nurture them. This means that instead of spending £7-10m on a proven entity we’ll spend £1m on a 22 year old who looks promising.

Who did we get and how much did we spend?

Most figures were undisclosed, but going on reported values you can get an indication for how much Leeds spent during this period.

  • Chris Wood – around £3m
  • Stuart Dallas – £1.3m
  • Jordan Botaka – £1m
  • Sol Bamba – £1m
  • Lee Erwin – £500k

With only Billy Sharp going out for money (£500k supposedly) giving us a net transfer spend of £6.3m. I think it’s obvious that Sol Bamba is stunning value for £1m considering what he offers to the team as a whole, more so now he’s proudly wearing the captain’s armband. Stuart Dallas, too, looks good value at 24 years old. He’s looked promising in the games I’ve seen him in and has already contributed 2 assists (in 5 games). Considering the most assists anyone at Leeds managed last season was 3 (Warnock and Doukara) and that Alex Mowatt (arguably our most creative player) was only attributed with 2 shows the impact he’s made already.

Chris Wood has had a mixed start, bagging important goals but struggling to convince people with his overall play; but the Kiwi is joint second top scorer in the Championship with 3 goals in 5 games. So while it’s easy to criticise his all-round play, he’s doing the job. Long may he continue to do so.

Lee Erwin is someone who I’m really looking forward to seeing, as the limited time I’ve seen him for the development squad has been promising. I maintain he’ll get a run at some point this season when tired legs need breaks or the inevitable injuries set in. For £500k you can’t really argue with that, for a 21 year old. He looks a tidy player from what I’ve seen, but time will tell. Jordan Botaka is an unknown quality but his reputation for being pacey and conducting wizardry with his feet – I’m excited to see him too. A good set of players at good price-points, I’d say.


What makes me say it’s been spent smarter than our peers?

When you consider that Derby spent £6m on Bradley Johnson, that’s essentially our entire budget on one player. Not that Bradley isn’t great at this level, he was tremendous for Norwich last season, but it’s all about context. Granted, we did want Fostieri and he opted to sign for Wednesday instead and he’s good value at £3-4m. Burnley signing Andre Gray for £9m, Boro signing Stewart Downing for between £5-7m, David Nugent for £4m… There’s a lot of money changed hands and you’ve got to think that Leeds have been far better off this way.

Not that Stewart Downing won’t do okay for Boro, but when you consider that he cost the same as our main striker, a good winger, a promising winger, our enormous captain and a promising striker… It’s on this basis that I think we’ve been quite shrewd. Bradley Johnson is a good signing, but he’s not better than the combination of those 5. He’s also 31. David Nugent is good, but he’s 30. Chris Wood is 23. In most ways that I consider the ways in which teams have spent money this window, I maintain that we’ve done good business.

But that reads a lot like optimism so I’m going to stop. A good, hard pasting by Brentford will bring us down to earth no doubt. Especially when Stuart Dallas scores 6 own goals and I’m forced to eat my words as he spends the rest of the season transforming into Jimmy Kebe.

But for now I’m going to sit back and smile, we had a positive transfer window in terms of bringing people in and more importantly than that, Monsoirs Mowatt, Taylor, Cook and Byram still wear the correct shirt. We even beat Derby away. So while the International break goes on I’m going to pretend that we’re going up as Champions.


Sept 3rd. Things look better for the Whites And Leeds If the first month of the season was solely about results the Championship would not have made it through August without a single managerial kill. Perception counts for something at this stage, much as the culling will begin before long. Statistically Uwe Rosler has coaxed Leeds United onto familiar ground. The club hold one point more than they did after their rash alliance with David Hockaday last season. They have one point fewer that Brian McDermott gained from their first five league games in 2013.Seven from five is somewhere close to United’s average mark. In context, Hockaday’s tenure inspired no confidence and the final fixture last August was left to Neil Redfearn after Leeds sacked Hockaday before the end of the month. McDermott had United under more control but problems with his team were apparent: creative shortcomings and a lack of wingers which led him down the path of the diamond midfield. “Did we take the game to QPR enough?” McDermott asked after a 1-0 defeat at Elland Road. “The answer is probably ‘no’.”Rosler reached the international break on Saturday with more credit in the bank; unbeaten and –helped by a logical, methodical transfer window – in possession of a squad which is adapting to him rather than the other way round.Here’s what we’ve learned from United’s start:

1) Tactically, Rosler needs horses for courses

By paying money for Stuart Dallas and Jordan Botaka, Leeds have given their head coach scope to employ his preferred formation without worrying that the set-up is half-baked or contrived. Rosler could not have relied on 4-3-3 without out-and-out wingers and Sam Byram’s questionable form explains again why specialists in that position are worth the investment. It is also true that in most other systems Rosler would struggle to keep a large group of central midfielders happy. Picking between Tom Adeyemi, Lewis Cook, Luke Murphy, Alex Mowatt, Kalvin Phillips and Tommaso Bianchi for two midfield positions would lose him sleep and demand constant explanation. But the German has spoken of the need for flexibility in his tactics and Mirco Antenucci and Chris Wood hit it off nicely last month. On occasions where Leeds are under pressure to force the pace and carry more threat, Wood in isolation up front might not do the trick. As he did at Bristol City and again at Derby County, Rosler has to show the conviction to pick his moments and play the opposition. His squad is not at all one-dimensional.

2) Wood has 20 goals in him

Without his 20-yard bullet at Pride Park, the talk after Saturday’s game would have focused on the header Wood missed from almost beneath Derby’s crossbar. He is not necessarily a one-chance-one-goal striker but look at his finishes so far and you’ll see a natural finisher – a deft strike on the counter-attack at Bristol City, a poacher’s tap-in against Sheffield Wednesday and a beautiful strike from nothing right at the end of Leeds’ win over Derby. The Championship is a closed shop for teams who can’t score and that trend was clearer last season than ever before. Bournemouth had Callum Wilson, Watford had Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo, Norwich had Cameron Jerome and Middlesbrough had Patrick Bamford. It was no coincidence that Deeney, Bamford and Ipswich’s Daryl Murphy comprised the shortlist for Championship player-of-the-year. Wood has never had a 20-goal season but he’s got the game to reach for that mark.

3) Antenucci would be worth another year

The irony of this after the lengths Leeds went to in stopping Antenucci from earning an extension to his contract last season. In fairness to the club, it was their methods rather than their rationale which caused so much upset. The striker blew hot and cold in his first year, despite finishing as United’s top scorer, and at the age of 30 he was not a player who Leeds wanted to commit to paying until 2017. But on the evidence of his form in the past four weeks they may see some value in keeping him beyond the end of a deal which expires next summer. He has goals in him, which is no great surprise, but his performance have been more creative and more selfless, if truth be told. Who laid on Wood’s finish at Bristol City? And Cook’s goal at Doncaster? And whose cross presented Wood with a sitter of a header late on at Pride Park? Antenucci has a certain shelf-life but in this mood and in a raw squad, United should not rush to clear him out.

4) Byram’s situation is not helping him

Byram’s season so far – impressive against Burnley on the opening weekend but ineffective and a bit detached ever since. This could be a meaningless drop in performance and it is always easy to tally poor patches with mental distractions when a player is unclear about his future. But you wonder nonetheless. Leeds have spoken to Byram’s agent repeatedly about his contract, and again in the past month, but they are resigned to assuming that his deal will expire next summer without him agreeing to an extension. Had a serious offer come in before Tuesday’s transfer deadline, you suspect that Massimo Cellino would have been sorely tempted to take the money – even though Leeds will be due compensation if the 21-year-old leaves at the end of this season. Byram is in a squad where the majority of players know where they stand. He’s part of the small percentage who can’t be sure if they’re part of the furniture. If that is not affecting him then it can’t be helping either and Byram – a livewire in pre-season – is a much better footballer than he made himself look in August. Perhaps the closure of the transfer window will give him some peace of mind.

5) This season will come down to stamina, rather than talent

A display like United’s at Pride Park doesn’t materialise by chance. Watch the highlights: for all but 25 wild minutes at the start of the second half, their win came down to disciplined shape, effective pressing around the halfway line and a willingness to attack whenever space opened up in front of them. Leeds are good enough and fit enough to play that way and Derby was a very positive indictment of Rosler’s coaching. Far from playing this job by ear, he took it in May knowing exactly how he wanted United to play and how he wanted his squad to prepare. Cellino was given a laptop presentation by a coach who is totally immersed in the world of stats and analysis. Playing like they did at Pride Park, Leeds are going to ruffle feathers this season but making the play-offs usually takes 20 wins or more. It’s one of several reasons why Rosler has been such a stickler for conditioning – talent is sometimes less important than the ability to survive and hang in. 

62 year old Paul Hart back at Leeds

Sept 3rd Hart comes back to Leeds Paul Hart will begin work as Leeds United’s new academy director tomorrow, taking charge of an in-form camp at Thorp Arch.The club’s former defender, who previously ran academy at Leeds in the 1990s, agreed a deal to return to the club last week.Hart is now preparing to assume control on the back of a strong start to the season by United’s senior youth-team squads. Leeds’ Under-18s – coached by Jason Blunt and John Anderson following Anderson’s arrival from Hull City – have opened their season with four wins from four games and the development squad side claimed a second straight win away at Birmingham City on Tuesday. Hart is the latest of a series of appointments to the academy. Former Hull coach Daral Pugh – once assistant academy boss at Leeds – has been named as head of coaching and ex-United striker Andy Gray was employed to run their Under-16s last month. Hart played for Leeds between 1978 and 1983 but is best remembered for his role in the rise of United’s academy 20 years ago. He famously coached United’s Under-18s to two FA Youth Cup triumphs in 1993 and 1997. The squad in 1997 comprised of players such as Paul Robinson, Harry Kewell, Alan Smith, Jonathan Woodgate and Stephen McPhail. Speaking during an interview with the YEP in July, Hart said: “After thoroughly enjoying playing at Leeds I went back for another five years coaching in 1992 and enjoyed it even more when I was coaching the kids. It was wonderful.” Hart has managed numerous English clubs during his career and was also responsible for running the academies at Nottingham Forest, Charlton Athletic and Notts County. He has been out of work since a short spell as caretaker of Notts County last season. The 62-year-old is effectively replacing former academy boss and development-squad coach Neil Redfearn who resigned in July following a fall-out with club owner Massimo Cellino. Cellino met with Hart to discuss the job last Friday and Leeds have spent this week finalising his contract.

Sept 3rd . Ajose joins Swindon as Leeds  clear the decks Nicky Ajose has parted company with Leeds United after reaching a deal to terminate his contract at Elland Road.Ajose and Leeds came to an agreement this morning, ending weeks of wrangling and clearing the way for him to join Swindon Town. He completed a move to the County Ground on a free transfer this afternoon. The 23-year-old had two years remaining on a three-year deal at Leeds but was informed by head coach Uwe Rosler in July that he would not be involved with the first team this season. Swindon and Coventry City both enquired about Ajose during the recent transfer window but Ajose failed to secure a move away from United before yesterday’s 6pm deadline. The severance of his contract, however, allowed him to join another club outside the window as a free agent. He has signed a three-year contract with Swindon. In a statement, Leeds said: “We would like to wish Nicky well for the future and thank him for his efforts during his time here.” Leeds paid £150,000 to sign Ajose from Peterborough United last August but he played only four times and did not figure at all after the sacking of former head coach David Hockaday.