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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


March 31: David Hopkin had a mixed return to the international scene tonight, conceding a free kick that led to the Czech Republic's first goal, but providing the long throw-in that led to Eoin Jess getting one back as Scotland went down 2-1.

March 31: Leeds Sporting announced interim pre-tax profits of £1.8 million, but warned that they face a challenging future trying to keep players' wages and transfer fees under control.

March 30: Tony Hackworth scored a hat-trick for the reserves against an almost full-strength Sunderland squad.

March 30: Bruno Ribeiro has denied the comments attributed to him last week - sort of. He claims not to have said "play me or sell me" but did say that if he didn't get enough games he'd have to look elsewhere.

March 30: Alfi Haaland appeared before the FA disciplinary panel and got away with a £2500 fine and a one match ban for reaching 11 bookings this season.

March 27: Alan Maybury's Reading debut turned sour as he was dismissed after an hour.

March 26: Lee Bowyer bagged a pair of well-taken goals as England U-21 beat Poland 5-0 in the European U-21 Championship qualifier.

March 25: Deadline day: Derek Lilley goes to Bury on loan, Alan Maybury goes to Reading to sharpen up his game after injury and former Leeds man Andy Couzens goes to Blackpool on a free.

March 24: Lee Sharpe appears to be moving on if not up in the world. It was announced that he'll be spending the rest of the season at Bradford City with a view to a £1.5m move later.

March 23: Bruno Ribeiro is reported to be unhappy with his lack of opportunities at Elland Road and might be looking for a move at the end of the season. He looked good when he joined, but long-term injuries this season have kept him out of the squad as DOL was moulding it, and now he's finding it difficult to break in again.

March 23: With injuries to Nigel Martyn and David Seaman, Paul Robinson has been called up to train with the full England squad prior to Saturday's game against Poland.

March 23: Leeds' game with Arsenal scheduled for May 8 has been put back to Tuesday 11 May for TV. B$@!!# ! That means that the Forest game is our last Saturday home match of the season (and the last one I'll probably have a chance to get to).

March 22: David Batty has been ruled out of next week's England game against Poland after missing the Derby game with flu.

March 21: It is reported that Juninho has said he'd be interested in playing for Leeds. Since this comes from his agent, the story may be true, but is just as likely to be a way of keeping his client's name in the papers and make the bigger clubs aware that Juninho is available. At £ 10 million or so, we'd be doubling our transfer record, and who knows what his wage demands are. It would certainly show us as an ambitious club and he could certainly add something to what we've got: but would he be worth the money? I'm not convinced.

March 20: With Batts out with flu and Smith suspended, this was an important game to win. We're now 10 points clear of Villa and Derby and 4th place is looking more and more solid and the possibility of 3rd looking more than a pipe dream. This is our 6th win in a row - which is a Premier League record - and must guarantee DOL the Manager of the Month for March.

March 18: There are U-21 call-ups for Lee Bowyer and Paul Robinson, but Jon Woodgate and Alan Smith are mysteriously omitted. Rumours abound that Woodgate will be invited to train with the full England squad for experience: since the three centrebacks selected for the U-21 squad have far less experience and are nowhere near as prominent as Woodgate, this is the only conceivable explanation for his omission.

March 17: Gary Kelly will need yet another op on his troublesome shin splints and will now definitely miss the rest of the season.

March 17: Both Stephen McPhail and Alan Maybury are in the Republic of Ireland's U-21 squad. Maybury has still not got back to full fitness, but is getting stronger all the time and appeared for the reserves in last night's 1-1 draw with Preston.

March 15: Idle transfer gossip department part 16. This time you can pick one from Alan Stubbs, Gary Breen or World Sulking and Scowling Champion Pierre van Hooijdonk. Keep your wallet in your pocket David: we've got better than this already. Meanwhile Judas Graham is reported as offering us £5m for Alan Smith: Peter Ridsdale has "laughed it off" - if I were him I'd be telling GG exactly where he can stick his cash.

March 13: A record 5th consecutive Premiership win was marred by the sight of Lucas Radebe being carried off near full time. A good early goal for JFH, and a pass from the same player to set up David Hopkin saw us produce a convincing win to go 2 points behind Chelsea - and more importantly 7 clear of Villa and Derby.

March 12: South Africa have requested that Lucas Radebe plays for them in their next African Nations Cup qualifier against Gabon. The only problem is that this means he misses the Liverpool game...

March 11: DOL has said that there won't be any more signings before the transfer deadline. Hardly surprising since we've no real chance of catching the top 3, and a solid performance will get us 4th or 5th place. Best keep the cash in the bank for the summer spree.

March 11: A surprising omission from the squad last night was Willem Korsten who apparently came down with the flu overnight. At least we've now got enough players back to cope.

March 10: An excellent result at ER tonight keeps Leeds in pole position to snatch a place in Europe. Goals from Harry Kewell and Alan Smith gained us the 3 points, but on the downside bookings for David Batty and Alfi Haaland now mean they are suspended (for the Forest game?).

March 09: George Graham - the man who didn't see a single performance by Leeds' Youth Cup/League double winners - seems to think he deserves the credit for the success being enjoyed by David O'Leary's (and Eddie Gray's) team. In other news, the White Hart Lane manager claimed responsibility for the invention of the telephone: "I was born in Scotland and anyone who says that it was invented years before I was born is clearly not in possession of the full facts".

March 09: David Batty could make a return to the squad for tomorrow's game against Spurs. Jon Woodgate is back from suspension and Bruno Ribeiro is fit again, so the absence of David Hopkin should hopefully not get in the way of Leeds' pursuit of vengeance against Judas Graham.

March 08: Whinging Aussies Department (part 78). Will they never shut up? They just keep on whining about Leeds request that Jamie McMaster declare himself for England as he is entitled to do instead of committing himself to clocking up more Air Miles than Richard Branson so he can play in pointless friendlies for an Australian team that will never be better than second rate. It's funny - his future and his hopes of success lie at Elland Road and all that Soccer Australia can do is whinge. I thought it was supposed to be the English that continually sniped at winners?

March 07: Vinnie Jones announced his retirement from football. Since Gerry Francis returned to Loftus Road it's been clear that Vinnie had no place there, and with the success of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (buy the video - out now kids!) he has decided to call it a day. The usual band of pillocks will no doubt appear on every TV screen rejoicing in his retirement, but Leeds fans throughout the world will always remember his 50-odd appearances (with only two bookings) that helped drag us out of the mire of the Second Division.

March 03: Mark Beeney announced his retirement today after failing to recover from a freak injury and despite two operations. He was never destined to be the greatest keeper in the world, but he was a solid member of the team when we needed him and I hope that he'll recover enough to pursue his new goals in football coaching.

March 02: David Batty came through tonight's reserve victory over Derby with no major problems. Tommy Knarvik, Clyde Wijnhard and Andy Wright scored as Leeds ran out 3-1 winners. Alan Maybury, Bruno Ribeiro and Stephen McPhail all appeared and would also seem to be well on the road to recovery.

March 02: David O'Leary is apparently on the point of signing a 5-year deal to keep him at Leeds. The contract is now with the company's board and lawyers to confirm the details.

March 02: Leeds have been given permission to go ahead with some major improvements at Elland Road. The West Stand will be given an extra 5000 seats, a 200-room hotel, and an indoor arena will be added - ice hockey here we come....

March 01: Despite the ref's failure to award a blatant penalty and despite a miss each when clear through for Jimmy, Harry and Smith, Leeds won a vital 3 points at Leicester to move up into 4th place and put themselves into a good position for the fight for places in Europe.

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