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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


October 31: DOL was not at all happy about tonight's result. "I thought the second-half performance was disgraceful. I know I've got players out through injury, but that was unacceptable." But credit where it's due: "I thought Tranmere deserved to come back into the game. They got a fluky goal in the end to prevent it going to penalties, but you can't legislate for what happened in extra time because that's what cup football is all about." A new tea service has reportedly been ordered for the away dressing room at Prenton Park.

October 31: Bloody typical! A 2 goal lead is thrown away and we concede two goals from set pieces. This would have been an excellent chance to progress for a European place next year, and we can't afford to throw these opportunities away. Credit to Tranmere who fought hard to come back from a 2 goal deficit, but with a not too far from full strength side we've gone back to the Wilko days of blowing it against lower-division opposition.

October 31: DOL was once again stepping away from claiming any tactical credits ahead of tonight's game. "The team I have is what I've got left." He did have a little dig at the fact that we are playing only 2 days after our previous game: "That's no way to prepare for Milan next week. Nowhere else in the world would it happen." He added: "We'd love to win this competition and will try to churn out a result in the circumstances."

October 31: David Batty has moved on from bike riding to light jogging now as he hopefully heads towards a comeback. At this rate, he could even be back before the end of the season.

October 31: After Peter Ridsdale had urged the authorities to consider picking Lee Bowyer and Jon Woodgate for England, DOL now says that he's not sure he'd be happy to release them, particularly in the light of the existing injury situation. Right hand, meet left hand...

October 31: It looks like Collymore will get away with his incitement of the Leeds crowd from Sunday. Stephen Lodge didn't take any action at the time since he didn't leave the field of play, and his report is with the FA today - but maybe the FA's observer will have something to add.

October 31: Stephen McPhail's ankle injury could keep him in Germany for the next 10 days before taking some weeks - or even months to recover. In the worst case it could keep him out for the season. He's seeing Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, a man whose name is almost as long as his credentials, and who has built up a good reputation for sorting out sporting injuries.

October 31: Olivier Dacourt's ankle looks likely to keep him out of tonight's game, so we could be seeing a midfield of Matteo, Bakke, Burns and Jones. Tranmere look set to field an unchanged side after drawing 1-1 with QPR at the weekend.

October 30: A mixed weekend for Da Yoof: The U17s won 2-0 at Barnsley while the U19s went down 4-2 at Newcastle.

October 30: UEFA have cleared AC Milan over Dida's passport, passing the matter back to the Italian FA to deal with if they feel any domestic regulations have been broken.

October 30: Stephen McPhail's dodgy achilles continues to cause concern and he's headed back to Germany to see the specialist who has been dealing with it so far. Add that to Lee Bowyer managing to pick up a knee injury and will almost certainly miss tomorrow night's visit to Tranmere.

October 30: Peter Taylor could look to get Jon Woodgate and Lee Bowyer's FA ban lifted in order to take them to Italy in November. Taylor worked with both players at U21 level and with an eye on building for the future and the dearth of new talent, he's keen to include them - and clearly agrees with DOL in that they should be treated as innocent until found guilty by the courts.

October 29: Last rumour of the day before I hit the sack: Mark Hughes' arrival at Blackburn has raised their interest in Matthew Jones. As Welsh manager, Hughes rates the youngster highly, and with a couple of injury problems he's not yet fully established himself as a first team player - something which Hughes will be keen for him to do and which, Hughes has suggested, could happen at Rovers.

October 29: Well, a big thanks to Bradford Police for making us walk 2 miles out of our way in the pouring rain to get back to our cars, to GNER for managing to get us back to London after the Tube had stopped, and to Stephen Lodge for a truly inspired performance. He's obviously trying to outdo his chum Jeff Winter in the "let's see what we can give the home team now" department, with some awful studs- first challenges from Bradford going unpunished before deciding (rightly) to book Olivier Dacourt for the same offence, failing to award Alan Smith a penalty when he was hacked in the area and letting Matt Clarke stay on the field as he illegally denied Mark Viduka possession of the ball outside the area. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh with the last one: Clarke did seem to do his utmost to just shield the ball without using his hands, but he was clearly denying Viduka a scoring opportunity, and as such there should have been just one outcome. And Stan - can you spell "FA disrepute charge"? The minor baiting of new boy Collymore turned nasty after he scored a good goal and proceeded to invite the Leeds fans to come onto the field and discuss the score with him - sad to say a couple did try.

October 29: Sensational rumours department. AC Milan's Brazilian keeper Dida - to whom we owe a large part of our victory in the game at Elland Road - could be one of the numerous Brazilians in Europe playing on false passports - and his presence in all of the Champions League games for Milan might just result in UEFA taking extreme sanctions (=expulsion) against them. Or maybe they'll just slap them on the wrist and tell them not to do it again...

October 28: DOL knows it will be another highly-charged game at Valley Parade tomorrow with Chris Hutchings' precarious position adding to the game's edge. Stan Collymore has a good record of scoring on his debut, and Alan Smith will be looking for a belated birthday present with goal. Gunnar Halle is still unfit, but Lee Sharpe and David Wetherall are both likely to play, with David Hopkin an outside chance of coming back from an ankle injury for the game.

October 28: JFH picked up two more goals today - one from the spot - to take him up to 10 goals for Chelsea this season. Meanwhile, Noel Whelan had a vague claim on Boro's goal as they went down 2-1 at Ipswich. Later on, Brian Deane went off with a nasty head injury.

October 27: What's this I see on the back of my Leeds merchandise catalogue? A Leeds United scooter no less. For the small consideration of £1,200, you can have your very own scooter complete with Leeds paint job and badges. Probably aimed at the kids who were bought Leeds United mountain bikes 5 years ago and have now grown up a bit...

October 27: Nige was voted Keeper of the Year by Sky TV, and picked up a prize of £3,000. He immediately donated the prize to the Miscarriage Association, and revealed that he and his wife Amanda had suffered four miscarriages, and he said he hoped that the publicity for the charity would help more people to come to terms with their emotions after suffering such a loss.

October 27: DOL was apparently in Austria on Wednesday night at the Arnold Schwarzenegger stadium, watching Sturm Graz play Rangers. Either he's confident about who we're going to get in the next stage/UEFA Cup or he's eyeing up someone. Zoran Pavlovic has been mentioned again, but there doesn't seem to be much chance of him being signed in the short term no matter what his agent says (he must have been taking lessons from Berit Riise).

October 27: Advanced paranoia part 17. AC Milan and Barca have had a pretty good relationship, with several players moving between the clubs, and rumours are circulating that Barca may make certain financial rewards available to the Italian club should they beat Leeds on Wednesday week. Incredibly this isn't against UEFA regulations: a lucrative friendly, a player on more favourable terms or possibly a wad of cash could all be offered to the club as an incentive to win the game (but not to lose it). Milan were never connected directly with the incompetent/biased/bribed (delete as appropriate) ref in the 1973 Cup Winners Cup Final in Salonika, and I'm sure they wouldn't want to be associated with such a practice here. As it is, it's in their interests to get something out of the game, but a draw would take them through as winners of the group - guaranteeing them a slightly easier draw in the next phase - and also ensure that a club that they would correctly view as a bigger danger was eliminated, so I'm certain they'll do the right thing on November 8.

October 27: Leeds in injury shock! That's right - there are no new injuries to report ahead of this weekend's game. Lucas Radebe has started training and is close to being fit - but DOL would be well advised to rest him, or at least keep him on the bench, for Bradford and Tranmere to keep him fresh for Liverpool and AC Milan.

October 27: Old boys round-up time. Carlton Palmer has been linked - and then unlinked - with the vacant managererial position at Huddersfield. The 34-year-old is still playing for Cov and has never been in charge of a club yet - and experience is the one thing that the Huddersfield board are looking for. Meanwhile Neil Aspin is still playing (he's only 35: I guess he just used to look old) and still has the same fighting spirit. He had to be restrained by stewards at Ninian Park after being elbowed in the face by one of the Cardiff strikers. Finally, Danny Granville could be working his way back down south with a loan move to Norwich lined up for him since he can't hold a place in Man City's starting line-up. Finally it looks like John Lukic could make a return to Premiership action against Manchester City tomorrow, as David Seaman's pony tail requires more urgent tonsorial attention. Lukic is only two years older than Seaman, and made an impressive return to first team action in the Champions League a couple of weeks ago.

October 26: DOL and various players will be there to open the new Leeds United Shop on Albion Street in Leeds on November 10. As well as merchandise, you'll be able to buy match tickets and book match travel and holidays with LUFC Travel. And they'll be adding one more line to the ticket office so you've got even more chance of getting an engaged tone.

October 26: Local police are recommending that pubs stay closed around the Leeds and Bradford areas on Sunday to head off any alcohol-related problems for the game. I'm not quite sure how the game kicking off an hour later than normal can affect the likelihood of trouble: there was no real trouble in the corresponding fixture last year - which was also on Sky on a Sunday afternoon. On-field violence is a possibility with the news that "Quiet" Stan Collymore has signed up with Bradford to the end of the season. DOL is worried that Leeds will suffer a hangover from Tuesday's game: "Our main concern going into the Bradford game is to try to get the players freshened up, because we have nobody coming back into the squad from injury." He added: "When you have played in the Champions League you are very vulnerable, as Manchester United have shown over the last few years." Other team news: Andy O'Brien has added a few more furrows to Chris Hutchings' brow by reappearing on the treatment table, and fellow defender Andy Myers is also out for up to 6 weeks. With Hutchings apparently close to receiving his P45, that's all he needs and he'll be hoping for a solid performance by former Leeds favorite David Wetherall, and David Hopkin is also close to a return from injury. Dean Windass is suspended, but Carbone and Collymore and Carbone could score a lot of goals when they're up for it - let's hope Sunday isn't one of those days.

October 26: Paul Robinson becomes the latest in a long line of the youngsters to have his contract looked at with a view to improving his terms. He's impressed all along in training and for the reserves, but now he's really making it clear that he'll be ready to take over when Nige decides to hang up his gloves. All we've got to do is keep him at Elland Road and keep him happy until then - after the interest from Leicester and other clubs during the summer showed that his abilities were not unrecognised. What is certain after the last couple of weeks is that if he were to move, it wouldn't be to sit on the bench anywhere - he's too good for that!

October 26: It was Harpul Singh and Tony Hackworth who netted for the reserves last night. Lee Matthews got yet another injury - hamstring this time. Matthew Jones, Gareth Evans and Danny Hay were the only "experienced" players in the side, making the win all the more creditable.

October 25: The reserves won 2-0 away at Everton tonight to preserve their 100% record - no details on who scored for us yet.

October 25: Final batch of reactions to last night's game. Lorenzo Serra Ferrer was disgusted that the ref had only added 4 minutes last night, and DOL was equally disgusted that he'd found as much injury time to add. Since there were two substitutions, that explains one minute, a couple of injuries receiving minor treatment might add up to a minute more, but there's no getting away from the possession and territorial domination that Barca enjoyed in the 2nd half. "The referee made a lot of mistakes and always the mistakes he made were against Barcelona," said Ferrer - a statement not entirely borne out by looking at the free kick count (and the TV replays) which show just how favoured the Catalan side was. As DOL noted: "Spanish players, when you push by them, just go down and look for yellow cards. They want everybody booked." Not strictly fair, since Reiziger and Cocu are Dutch and Sabrosa is Portugese, but we take his point. And I still don't know how the ref failed to award Smithy a freekick for Puyol's bear hug 30 seconds before they equalised. Meanwhile, Serrer and Reiziger have both said that they hope that AC Milan "play fair" and appealed for "honesty" from the Italians as they go into the final game not needing anything from it but facing two important Serie A games either side.

October 25: More praise for Paul Robinson after last night's performance. Nigel Martyn has urged Peter Taylor to include Robinson in the England squad for the visit to Italy, and only half-jokingly noted that he might have a job on getting his place back. Nige said: "I would rate Paul as the best young keeper out there." He went on to add: "He's shown what he can do in these last three matches. He's done absolutely fantastic, and considering the team he was playing against and the situation last night, his performance was top draw. I would have been very proud of a performance like that, and because of it he's kept us in the Champions League." From the other side of the fence, Frank de Boer said: "The Leeds goalkeeper had the game of his life," and colleague Michael Reiziger added "The Leeds goalkeeper had a terrific game."

October 25: Michael Bridges went under the knife today for an ankle op after picking up an injury in Besiktas and will be out for up to 4 months. No word on what was wrong with Hucks, but it looks like Tony Hackworth could find himself in a strong position soon.

October 24: Our old chum Bil Fotherby reckons that Wilko should feel mortally insulted by the FA drafting in Taylor, McLaren and Kidd to coach and manage the squads for the next games and walk out. Remind me again what Fotherby was saying 4 years ago when Wilko was given his marching orders from Leeds... Wilkinson would walk into just about any management job in football according to the man in charge of steering Harrogate Town to the Champions League title.

October 24: Damien Lynch will be going over to Bolton for a short trial. Lynch is now 21, and although he's made numerous reserve team appearances, he's yet to make his full debut and is yet another one of the younger players who must look elsewhere if he wants to further his career.

October 24: DOL had fulsome praise for Paul Robinson after his performance tonight. "My young keeper was absolutely fantastic. I'm so proud of him. I think he'll take over from Nigel Martyn eventually and be outstanding goalkeeper for Leeds for years. Hopefully he'll do the same for England." Lee Bowyer - whose air shot let Cocu get in his cross for the equaliser - was devastated. "I'm gutted. It feels like a defeat. We shouldn't be going to Milan to get a point to go through. We should have won tonight." There were around 250 of their fans and 17 TV companies at Elland Road to see what was inches away from a great result - and but for the ref's bizarre decision to give Barca a free kick when Smithy was being pulled in 4 different directions by Pujol with 2'50" of injury time gone, we might just have held on. But that's footy....

October 24: Well, we can't complain about the goal after the balance of play in the second half, but where on earth the 4 minutes of added time came from is anybody's guess. Great performance by Robbo and Woody in particular, but we might just have made more of a couple of chances to put it beyond doubt before the end. Oh well - we need a point in Milan - but they've got nothing to play for, so let's go looking for a win and cross our fingers.

October 24: DOL on Michael Bridges: "We looked at his leg and it is horrendous. I'm only guessing, but looking at the state of his leg I would think he will be out for a long time." Oh great....Bridges sees a surgeon today or tomorrow for a more detailed diagnosis.

October 24: Youth team news from the weekend: the U19s beat Wrexham 4-2 and the U17s ran out 2-0 winners at Bolton.

October 23: DOL is hoping to "mess up" Barca's season with a win tomorrow night, and he's hoping Alan Smith will be able to silence the whinges from the Catalan club about his "over-physical" approach with a goal. Barca will no doubt go out of their way to get his back up, and he'll have to keep his temper on a tight rein if he's to have the last laugh. DOL is sanguine about the team's prospects: "I'm sure we will have people who think if we don't qualify for the Champions League ahead of Barcelona and AC Milan that we are history. That's what they will say. But the rational people, and those that know football, will look at the overall picture and see we have done brilliantly under the circumstances."

October 23: Lawyers for the Turks accused of murdering Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight today suggested that it was in fact all the fault of the British police who should have stopped all British travellers to Turkey at the airport to check if they were on the national football hooligan register. Apparently the court case is being adjourned to allow him to examine the register and to allow the Turkish police time to prepare their evidence. The latter of which should take 5 minutes, since they were nowhere near the trouble (or are they going to say they just stood by and watched it happen?).

October 23: Lucas Radebe wasn't there to watch the defeat at OT - he was taking a short break back home in South Africa and was due back today. Hopefully he'll get clearance to resume light training and we'll be able to pencil in a date for his return to action after his double dose of concussion against Barca and Spurs.

October 23: Here comes the bad news/misinformation (delete as appropriate at 1945 BST tomorrow). Lee Bowyer missed training today (no doubt knackered from his efforts on Saturday) as did Darren Huckerby (well, 20 minutes is a long appearance for Forrest). With the importance of the game, Ian Harte, Danny Mills Eirik Bakke and Olivier Dacourt will all be given as long as possible to show that they've got enough fitness to survive at least 70 minutes of a match, but Alan Smith is added to the wounded list with an ankle knock from Old Trafford. Barca have a few injury problems of their own, with Kluivert, Overmars, Petit and Guardiola all ruled out or doubtful for tomorrow night's game which could decide the fate of the group. Rivaldo will be fit - and that could be the key factor in the end.

October 22: Brian Kidd has been named as Howard Wilkinson's assistant for the England U-21 side. Hopefully he'll not be dragged away from the work he's been doing at Leeds, since we could do with a couple of useful youngsters coming through at the moment...

October 22: Barca beat Real Madrid 2-0 last night in filthy weather with goals from Luis Enrique and Simao Sabrosa. They were really up for it and produced the performance demanded by their fans in the Nou Camp - let's hope they relax for Tuesday!

October 22: The club will look to get the court case restored to its original date, since the involvement of so many of the team as witnesses or as the accused will have a massive impact on the club's ability to fulfil fixtures during the trial - which is expected to take 4-6 weeks.

October 21: Post-match reaction: DOL was furious that Yorke's clearly offside goal had been allowed to stand, and also questioned the ref's decision to book Alan Smith. But with the news that Michael Bridges could be out for the rest of the season leaves the barrel bare. Ian Harte and Danny Mills are desperately needed back by Tuesday for one big push against Barca: we can't take our foot off the pedal in the league, but if awe can scrape through to the next stage of the Champions League, we might just have the financial and PR muscle necessary to pull in the right players for next season.

October 21: Without wanting to rant too much - who was the Man U fan in the black? Butt and Keane scythed through our players in the first half with barely a word of warning, but as soon as Alan Smith legitmately challenges for the ball, the lino blows up and Smith's in the book for an entirely understandable reaction. Jeff Winter and his two chums fully deserve the pay-off that they will no doubt be receiving from the beneficiaries. On our side, Jacob Burns wants a major shouting at for giving away a stupid free kick in Beckham-range and what on earth was wrong with Viduka? No goals for us, 4 for JFH at Stamford Bridge....

October 20: Off-field action for Smithy? Our star striker was spotted out for a meal with a young singer in Leeds recently. Let's hope he behaved himself, cos it's bad enough with normal injuries without losing a player to carpet burns!

October 20: Dinamo Zagreb tried to make out that Leeds were interested in picking up their Slovenian midfielder Zoran Pavlovic after a recommendation from their former player, Mark Viduka. However Leeds have played down the talk of a link with the 24-year-old international.

October 20: Michael Bridges will be out for up to six weeks with the ankle and calf injury he picked up in Istanbul. Ian Harte is only 50/50 for the game tomorrow, with Olivier Dacourt doubtful too. Paul Robinson will make his second appearance at OT - in 1998 he came on for Nigel Martyn at half-time. Leeds goalies haven't had a great time there over the last few years - it's 1995 since we had a clean sheet there, and Lucas Radebe ended up between the sticks after a red card for Mark Beeney (?) in 1996.

October 20: The financial side of the club is looking remarkably healthy. Leeds Sporting's profit was £3 million, but a write-off of £1.8 million on the as yet unstarted Arena development reduced that. Wage costs were kept in check - and are considerably better in percentage terms than most of the other clubs in the top flight, and with the UEFA Cup run, the good performance in the league and the resulting increase in crowds and TV fees gave rise to a 54% increase in turnover to £57.1 million. Peter Ridsdale was pleased with the results and the share price has been slowly climbing back - PR reflected that positive results on the pitch seemed to have an adverse effect on the share price, though that was symptomatic of the sector in general. He did mention that there were no immediate plans to increase the capacity, but that it could be boosted to 45,000 shortly.

October 20: In what seems like a concerted effort, Peter Ridsdale last night attacked the FA over its double standards in failing to select Lee Bowyer and Jon Woodgate while they remain charged with assault. Ridsdale pointed out that, as far as the law is concerned, the pair remain innocent and that England have been captained by a convicted criminal, Tony Adams. "We still believe we took the right stance and we've probably been more forthright than most clubs in saying what we will do if they are ultimately found guilty of the more serious charges." However, he wasn't totally against the ban: "Leeds United probably benefit from the ban - as chairman of the club I'm not champing at the bit for them to play for England and risk injury."

October 19: The club was honoured at a ceremony in London today to reflect the work they've done in community education. The club offer a variety of computer and classroom facilities to children from the south of the city, and the award goes hand in hand with Peter Ridsdale's recent appointment to head up the attempt to sort out the run-down and under-performing education system throughout the city.

October 19: With the club losing "a player a game" to injuries, Peter Ridsdale spoke of his willingness to reach for the cheque book when the manager wanted it. "David and I had a long chat on the plane over to Istanbul about if, when and on whom we might have to write the next cheque for. We are getting an injury every match and we are wondering just who will be the next to get injured, but in terms of calling for reinforcements, we never stop looking. The situation has not changed the urgency, although it is obviously very disappointing to get another player injured - that's the way the season has gone for us. But the money is there. David knows that. We have never failed to back him and I have never found it hard to spend money in my life. But it is up to him when he has identified the right players he wants to bring in."

October 19: Jacob Burns today spoke about his meteoric rise from Parramatta to the Champions League in the space of two months. "I was stunned when I was told I would be playing against Charlton and there was the same pressure again against Besiktas, only this time with tough conditions in that the crowd was against us and the pitch wasn't the best. They were fired up and they came out hard and, in the end, we were very fortunate to come away with a point. We're very pleased." Burns is now hoping he's done enough to keep his place for the next two games. "There is no bigger incentive than the knowledge that after Manchester United come Barcelona and we can do this. We can beat Barcelona in front of our home crowd, with them right behind us, and get through to the second stage of the Champions League."

October 19: Michael Bridges was due to have a scan on his ankle today to determine the full extent of the damage. It's very unlikely he'll be fit for Saturday's game, but we'd have been expecting Alan Smith to start at Old Trafford anyway. Ian Harte is also a doubt after getting injured in a clash with the advertising hoardings in Istanbul.

October 19: Michael Bridges came under attack from the home fans last night as he was being carried from the pitch. Bridges had damaged his ankle as he chased for the ball, and was on the receiving end of several bottles thrown from the stands. It's not yet clear if UEFA will take any action against Besiktas over the incident.

October 19: Sgt Wilko might have another opportunity to stake his claim to the England job as he might be in charge for next month's friendly against Italy. Despite Terry's Brown-Nosed Army in the press heaping scorn on his attempts to sort out Keegan's mess against Finland (and I'll admit, some of his decisions were unusual but at least he was prepared to make them and give it a go), nobody is yet really in the frame for the England job, and it would be strange to appoint someone for just one game. Of course the danger is that the friendly will not be viewed as the most important priority to most of the league clubs, and we could see a mass withdrawal of players, since there wouldn't even be the benefit of meeting up with the real England manager.

October 18: If only Eirik Bakke's shot in the 5th minute had been a bit stronger and a bit further away from the keeper. If only Michael Bridges hadn't joined an ever-growing injury list when he caught his studs in the turf in the first half. Whatever - an away draw is a creditable result, and ensures that we'll finish ahead of Besiktas if the teams finish on the same points. Tonight's other result - an amazing 3-3 draw between Milan and Barca - means that if we can beat Barcelona at Elland Road next week, we will be through but a couple of draws might just be enough - either way, the UEFA place is now all but guaranteed by tonight's 0-0 draw. Sensible (some would say lenient) refereeing by the Dutch official ensured no problems on the pitch, and tight organisation off the field guaranteed a relaxing time for the 120-odd fans who made the trip, although things were slightly soured at the airport as they were made to wait on the plane for an hour to allow the Galatasaray squad to disembark after their flight back from Glasgow.

October 18: DOL says he's "within touching distance" of yet another peak in his management career, as qualification for the next stage becomes a stronger possibility. He's not expecting an easy ride tonight, and feels that the 6-0 victory at Elland Road was a bit of a one off. "It was just one of those nights when everything went for us and we took our chances, but that game has gone and it counts for nothing. Besiktas, just like ourselves if we were coming off a 6-0 defeat, will want to show their pride, to turn it round and want to win."

October 18: DOL gave Paul Robinson a big vote of confidence ahead of what looks to be a very testing month. "Paul will one day take over from Nigel at this club, and the next few weeks will see him growing into a man," he said. With Nigel Martyn's injury looking like it could keep him out for as long as two months, Robinson will have been tested by some seriously good sides by the time England's rightful number one returns to reclaim his place - as well as Manchester United and Barca in the next week, Robinson looks like he could be in goal for Milan, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool over the coming weeks - and I'm sure Bradford will give him an equally tough time!

October 18: David Robertson could be in line for a move into management - with the dizzying heights of the Scottish 3rd Division being his target, as he is linked with the vacant position at Montrose. Former Leeds reserve Neil Parsley has taken over from Bobby Davison at Guiseley.

October 18: Don't make wishes - they may come true. Last month, I was saying that it would be better to have the assault trial sooner rather than later - and hey presto, it's happening. For undisclosed reasons, the trial has been switched to Hull and will now take place starting January 29. On the positive side, that should mean it's over by the time the European games resume after the winter break - but I can't see the players being available to train during the trial, which will make playing a bit difficult.

October 17: Besiktas' coach Nevio Scala reckons that the Leeds players will not be able to put the events of six months ago out of their heads when they appear in Istanbul tomorrow night. "The events of April will still be at the forefront of their minds. It is a huge burden for any team to carry, let alone one so young. It is one thing beating us at Elland Road but returning here will bring it all back to them."

October 17: Kevin Dixon has returned to Leeds without signing for Abderdeen - but the Dons could renew their interest. Boss Ebbe Skovdahl wanted to watch him play in a reserve game, but did not have the time last week, and Dixon may return shortly.

October 17: Former Leeds striker Bobby Davison has parted company "by mutual consent" with Guiseley after his team went through a poor run of results. He didn't claim that none of it was his fault, but he pointed to the number of players that the clubhad failed to hold onto, remarking on the lack of ambition that was reflected by this.

October 17: John Lukic turned out for Arsenal tonight in the Champions League game in Lazio as David Seaman failed a late fitness test. Lukic was beaten by a freak goal, but turned in a very creditable performance for someone who's not started a game for 3 years. Pires scored a late equaliser and Arsenal are now guaranteed a passage through to the second phase of the competition.

October 17: Leeds arrived in Istanbul to a massive security operation but no sign of anything like trouble. As it was, the "ring of blue steel" closed around the team a little early, leaving several players unprotected after they got off the plane - not that there was anything they needed protecting from. Alan Smith will be suspended, so Michael Bridges is likely to start alongside Mark Viduka, and Olivier Dacourt stayed at home having failed to shake off his injury. Danny Milosevic will be on the bench as the substitute goalie, and although Matthew Jones and Stephen McPhail look to be fit, Jacob Burns could retain his place. Peter Ridsdale said that he didn't make a request to take armed guards into the country - as has been alleged in some quarters. When Galatasaray were due to come to Elland Road earlier this year, it was mooted that they might want to do that, but - as now - there's no indication that the club itself were behind such a request.

October 14: A satisfying win, but yet another injury: Nigel Martyn's pulled groin muscle will keep him out for a month, and DOL must now be thankful that he hung on to Paul Robinson when Leicester and others came calling earlier this year: Besiktas, Man U, Barca, Milan and Chelsea beckon, and if ever Robinson wanted to make his reputation, he now has the chance. Jacob Burns made his debut and turned in a solid performance in midfield - looks like he could be a useful acquisition.

October 14: Stephen McPhail is in line for a surprise recall this afternoon after making a remarkably quick recover from the ankle problem that has been restricting his appearances recently.

October 13: Finally got round to doing the September Player of the Month poll - and the runaway winner is Lee Bowyer with over half the votes cast! That goal against Milan was the clincher...

October 13: Good? news from Barcelona: Patrick Kluivert has a ligament injury and will be missing for at least a month. So all we need now is for Rivaldo and the rest of them to pick up an injury or two and we're sorted...

October 13: Both Dominic Matteo and Gary Kelly are looking okay to start tomorrow, but there's still some doubt over Olivier Dacourt.

October 13: Peter Ridsdale has questioned the FA's decision to rule out selecting Lee Bowyer and Jon Woodgate for the national side while they await trial. Ridsdale said: "I believe everyone in this country deserves the right to be innocent until proven guilty. It's an absolute nonsense to take a unilateral decision over something that won't be resolved until next summer. Bowyer said: "I am ambitious and want to play at the highest level. Everybody wants to play for their country and I have already done it at youth and U21 levels. But I have to be patient because I am still young and should have a long career in front of me." Bowyer is looking forward to playing against the team that started his career - and he's still in touch with many of the players there. Bowyer said: 'I think they have got much bigger since I left and it will be tough for us tomorrow. Curbishley is a good manager and Charlton are a pretty good team. I do not see why they cannot become an established Premiership side.' For Leeds fans as well, there's a chance to see a couple of old boys, with both Mervyn Day and Glynn Snodin on the coaching staff.

October 13: Leeds had a representative at the U21 international between Norway and Ukraine this week, with rumours again connecting Leeds with Brann's Azar Karadas - who sounds like a latter-day John Charles, featuring in attack or at centre back.

October 12: JFH has been banned from the next two European games for insulting a referee - but the ban will not be effective for some time, since the incident took place as Chelsea were being knocked out of the UEFA Cup by St Gallen at the time.

October 12: Leeds fans travelling to Turkey next month will see Istanbul in a wet-dry tour. The club has arranged for the fans to be picked up and taken on a cruise ship straight from the airport and delivered to Besiktas' ground just before kick-off. The boat will be alcohol-free at the request of the local police. Leeds director David Spencer said: "It should be nice, reasonably warm and dry and a bit of fun. When I spoke to Besiktas officials about it they were all for identifying some of their fans who speak English and inviting them to join us on the cruise." Besiktas have made considerable efforts to extend the hand of friendship to Leeds, but it's unlikely to extend to letting us score 6 goals in the Inonu Stadium!

October 12: Pascal Nouma's ban has been confirmed - and extended to 4 games by UEFA's disciplinary committee. They reviewed the video evidence, and dismissed his appeal against the 3 match ban that was initially imposed.

October 12: Olivier Dacourt has not fully recovered from the hamstring pull he picked up against Spurs and remains doubtful for Saturday's game.

October 11: The U-19 side beat Manchester United 2-1 at Thorp Arch in the game postponed during the fuel protests. Tony Lennon and Brad Groves got the goals.

October 11: Kevin Dixon is having a trial with Aberdeen this week, and could look to tie up a move to the SPL side shortly. Dixon hasn't made an appearance for the first team, despite featuring regularly for the reserves, and at the age of 20 must be thinking that a move to another club will be the only way he can advance his career. Roy Aitken has recommended the club to the youngster, and he's now deciding if he wants to move up there - if he decides to go he could find himself making his debut against Dundee at the weekend.

October 11: Ian Harte had an unspectacular game for Ireland against Estonia at Lansdowne Road tonight. Facing Derby's Mart Poom, he failed to reproduce his superb goal at Pride Park from any of the set pieces that came his way. But at least he came through unscathed. Charlton's Mark Kinsella scored one of Ireland's two goals - let's hope he doesn't repeat that performance on Saturday.

October 11: You make your own luck, as they say - and although Wilko could justifiably point to a couple of bizarre refereeing decisions, his team selection never did enough to justify a win, and only a couple of good saves from David Seaman and poor finishing from their front line kept the scores level. The ref left the Finnish keeper on the field after just 6 minutes when he brought down Teddy Sheringham, who was clean through, and then the ref disallowed a Ray Parlour shot that appeared to cross the line at the end of the game. Wilko for England? Stranger things have happened, but this result isn't going to swing it.

October 11: Alan Smith apologised to his team-mates after what he described as his "stupid" actions in getting sent off in Finland last night. As has been pointed out in several reports today, he had endured over 70 minutes of kicking and elbowing from most of the Finnish defence, and he finally snapped after one particularly bad challenge, but he didn't excuse himself. "I've been trying to curb that side of my game and me being sent off didn't help the other lads at all. It's disappointing that aspect has let us down in both games and it was my fault against Finland."

October 10: 38-year-old former Leeds defender Andy Linighan could be on the point of parting company with Crystal Palace. He's under contract to the end of the year, but has had a bit of a falling out with the management and returned home from a R&R break abroad.

October 10: Dundee's Lee Wilkie played in this afternoon's 3-1 defeat in Croatia for Scotland's U-21 team. Wilkie has been linked with Leeds several times in the past, and team coach Alex Smith was full of praise for the youngster's talents and said that it was only a matter of time before he moved on to a larger club.

October 10: Alan Smith scored for the U-21s against Finland tonight, but was then dismissed for "violent conduct" - slapping one of the Finns in reaction to what he felt wasn't the most legal tackle of the game. He'll now be banned for up to 3 games - which will apply to games at the senior or U-21 level, so he's rather blown his chances of getting a call-up for the full squad for a while. Finland scored first, but David Dunn and Smithy put England in front, before the Finns equalised a minute after Smith's dismissal. U-21 boss Sammy Lee said: "It didn't help but I don't want to criticise him until seeing exactly what happened. We will have a look at the video but then we will speak about it in-house and we will sort things out in-house."

October 10: Celtic want Leeds to play a testimonial for Tommy Boyd at Parkhead in April - but since we'd hope to be in the FA Cup semis, and still involved in the UEFA Cup at least by then, it's hard to see how we can fit a fixture in before June.

October 10: Wilko's wierdness continues - but maybe he'll be the one smiling tomorrow night. Seaman retains his place in goal, Phil Neville is recalled and - in an obvious attempt to win the game by having a few penalties awarded - Heskey joins Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole up front. Innovative selection in the circumstances...

October 10: Not for the first time, it looks like Lucas Radebe will be out of the game at the weekend - but his powers of recovery have been remarkable so far this season. Speaking today, Radebe revealed just how much the recent head injuries had put the wind up him. "I can't really put a time on when I'll be back. I just have to rest a lot and make sure I don't do any more damage, particularly with all the headaches which are very uncomfortable. I still get them, but they are clearing up and hopefully I'll be fine soon, but I just have to wait to get the all-clear from the specialist. There was always the possibility it could have been a life-threatening head injury. I really feared the worst. But thankfully there was nothing like that." Either way, he's still not sure when he will make his comeback: "There are plenty of high profile games like Besiktas and Barcelona, as well as important ones in the league. It's sad, but there's nothing I can do." Some of the defensive problems may be eased by Jon Woodgate's return, but he's not played a full game yet, so DOL may end up having to go with Danny Hay. Dominic Matteo, Stephen McPhail and Gary Kelly all miss their respective internationals this week for treatment, but all hope to be fit for Saturday and - more importantly - next week's visit to Turkey. Fingers crossed that Eirik Bakke, Matthew Jones and Ian Harte all come through tomorrow's matches unscathed.

October 09: The U-19s were gubbed 6-1 by Crewe at the weekend. Alan Maybury made his full debut for Crewe against Brum, but Alex went down 0-2 at home.

October 09: Back to the Leeds stuff. Pascal Nouma has been given a 3 match ban by UEFA for punching Danny Mills at Elland Road. The video evidence was conclusive, but Besiktas protest that the ref didn't book him for it in the game, so he can't be further punished. They will appeal - but UEFA have been cracking down on this sort of thing, so the best they can hope for is a reduction in the sentence rather than its complete removal.

October 09: It's a shame Doobs and Woody are injured (and otherwise indisposed if they were fit), because England are looking desperately short of players, with the news that Tony Adams and Graham LeSaux will be missing on Wednesday. Wilko may choose to go with Nige as keeper, the defence probably picks itself by being fit (Keown, Southgate) and not a Neville (Dyer, Barry). The absence of experienced and fit midfielders would make me play 4-2-4 if I was playing FIFA 2000, but the presence of Teddy Sheringham probably points to the old guy starting up front, and Andy Cole doesn't deserve to be dropped after being one of the few to come out with much credit on Saturday. Smithy deserves a call-up, and the midfield would be greatly enhanced by Lee Bowyer, but it ain't going to happen. Expect little, and you won't be disappointed. BTW, didn't the last England manager to walk out before he was pushed in the middle of a qualifying campaign do it to universal condemnation and the threat of a 10 year ban, rather than the tea and sympathy dished up for KK? Persecution complex - me???

October 09: With candidates for the England job dropping like flies, Peter Ridsdale and the rest of the FA's international committee could be faced with tossing a two-headed coin to decide who was going to get the job. Arsene Wenger, Aime Jacquet, Bobby Robson, Bryan Robson, Peter Taylor and Peter Reid have all ruled themselves out or been ruled out of the running by their chairmen. The Venables Brown-Nose Choir were out in force on the back pages today, and I'm forced to admit he'd be the best footballing choice, but if the FA swallow their pride and go for El Tel it must be conditional on all of his business interests going into a blind trust for the duration of his appointment, so he can keep out of the courts and concentrate exclusively on the job.

October 09: It's Monday so it must be "deny the weekend's transfer speculation" time. PR on Macca: "It's a complete kite-flyer". PR on Bridges: "Michael is a highly valuable member of that squad so he is going nowhere." So that's that settled until next Monday then.

October 08: Wilko is looking to experience with his players - calling up Teddy Sheringham for the Finland game - but he's also asked Brian Kidd to join him on the coaching staff for the game. Kidd is in charge of Leeds' Academy, but it's unlikely he'll be pressing for the inclusion of any of our youngsters for such an important game. Meanwhile, the England U-21s will be managed by Wilko's assistant Sammy Lee, with help from Dave Sexton, as they face the Finnish U-21s.

October 08: And this weekend's idle transfer speculation is.... Leeds to bid for McManaman (cheap at £6 million, expensive in terms of wages - but he wants to stay and fight for his place at the Bernabeu). Toon fan Michael Bridges to join Bobby Robson's mob (but why would DOL want to sell?). West Ham to fix a price on Rio (but he's happy there honest...).

October 07: Dundee have apparently rejected an approach by Leeds to take Lee Wilkie for another week's trial. Wilkie made a reasonable impression when he was down earlier in the season, and although Dundee are believed to be ready to let him go, they want things to be closer to a deal before agreeing to lose him for a further week.

October 07: Kevin Keegan has resigned - so it looks like Wilko could be in charge on Wednesday night for the Finland game. To the surprise of nobody who followed his time at Newcastle, Keegan hasn't been able to deliver as a manager, despite his enthusiasm and his talent as a player. So - where do England go from here? The usual suspects are already in the frame, with Terry Venables

October 07: Eirik Bakke was subbed and Matthew Jones was on the bench for Norway's 1-1 draw with Wales. Nigel Martyn must have been glad it was David Seaman being caught by a skidding free kick as England went down 0-1 to Germany in the final game to be played at Wembley before the stadium is rebuilt.

October 07: Another Aussie for Leeds? That's the rumour, with 21-year-old right back Simon Colosimo the latest target. He's had trials with several clubs in Europe, but is still playing his football Down Under for Carlton. He's probably best known over here as the recipient of a slightly over-enthusiastic tackle from Andy Cole in a friendly that nearly ended his career - and kept him sidelined for nearly a year.

October 06: Lucas Radebe could be out for anything up to four weeks, after receiving medical advice that he needs a complete rest from playing - or at the very least heading the ball - to make sure he suffers no lasting damage after clashing heads with Michael Duberry in Barcelona and Les Ferdinand at Elland Road. With Duberry out for the rest of the season, and with Jon Woodgate still 3-4 weeks away from match fitness, DOL really needs him back sooner. The game in Istanbul in two weeks time and Barca's visit to Elland Road will be crucial games, as will the visit to Old Trafford on October 21. But we can't keep losing him from the middle of games, so if he needs the break, he's got to have it and we've got to struggle on as best we can.

October 06: Alan Smith was voted Man of the Match in tonight's 1-1 draw between the English and German U-21 sides at Pride Park. Smith was desperately unlucky not to be awarded a goal as TV replays showed his header from a first half corner had crossed the line before being cleared by a German defender. Titus Bramble put England one up just before half-time, but after Steven Wright was red carded halfway through the second period, England's backs were against the wall. With 5 minutes to go, Paul Robinson did well to keep out a well-taken shot that came through a forest of legs in the area, but the Germans were first to the rebound, and it finished all square.

October 06: Alan Maybury looks like going the way of several other bit-part players as he moves to Crewe on a month's loan. Maybury has never quite broken through into the first team, despite his success at Youth level, and will be hoping to make his full debut for Crewe at the weekend. Hopefully the move will become permanent - it's clear he doesn't figure in DOL's plans but he probably should be good enough to pursue a career at a slightly lower level.

October 05: "I'm no thug" - says Smithy. He continues: "I've got a full season under my belt and I think I've gone up as a player. I've got more experience to call upon now. To be honest the start of the season has gone better than I imagined. I probably didn't expect to be playing but Leeds have had a few injuries and, when the gaffer went with three up front, it gave me a game. I've really tried to take my chance. I've started the season well but it's important I keep it going now."

October 05: DOL looked back at his first two years in charge in an interview today - and sounded pretty pleased with himself. One point he did stress was that Peter Ridsdale was in the clear when it comes to signing or not signing players: DOL stated that he was operating to a 5 year plan and wouldn't be drawn into signing players as short term fixes, even if the side looked a bit short of players. He once again dismissed the booing that the side received after a couple of abysmal performances as the action of fickle fans (memo to DOL: if you play crap, you get booed: the people making that noise spend a large portion of their income on the club and are entitled to make their opinions known). He does have a point, and I'm totally in agreement with his intentions to avoid the quick fix (think Brolin!). "Since pre-season this has not been an enjoyable time for me on the coaching side. It has been very limited as to what I can do. You haven't been able to work with people and as well as that you haven't had the numbers out there. You've been wrapping people in cotton wool and not taking a chance. That is what has made it all the sweeter when we have done things like beaten 1860 Munich away. You just think: "How the hell have we beaten 1860? How on earth are we in this Champions League with all the injuries we have?" I just don't know. That's why, when we got stuffed in Barcelona, I thought all along that it would happen. The hurdle was too big, the mountain too high, with the amount of people we had out against a team like that." DOL also pointed out the great PR job that had been done for the club, with the team no longer the one that people love to hate.

October 05: The story that won't die even when you beat it with a large stick. Leeds are apparently setting up the finance to take on Rio - but Peter Ridsdale sighs and re-reiterates that it's all invention. Yes we want him. But West Ham rejected our bid. And that's it. Honest.

October 05: Leeds are looking for planning permission for a new indoor training complex at Thorp Arch. The team's current training HQ is already a high-quality operation, and the addition of the indoor facilities will give the club everything they need to ensure the players' fitness and ability to train in the worst of weather.

October 04: In a bid to further control every last detail in football, UEFA will be requiring teams who want to play in the Champions League to have a stadium with a certain number and quality of seats, quality of playing surface, good financial record, clean record of fans behaviour and a UEFA badge for the coach. No doubt the inconvenience of having "little" teams like Heerenveen, Besiktas - or Leeds - will go away and ensure that, strangely enough, only their favorite 16 teams could possibly qualify. Though quite how they'll deal with the alleged $50 million plus debts of Real Madrid and others is not yet clear...

October 04: Stephen McPhail is back at Thorpe Arch undergoing physiotherapy on his achilles after seeing a specialist in Germany. He'll be back out there for further treatment next week, but if there is no improvement he could end up needing an operation and face two months on the sidelines. McPhail said: "I'm well away from what I should be, but hopefully it will be sorted out in the next two weeks."

October 04: Arsenal are now being linked with John Arne Riise, as it looks decreasingly likely that he'll join up with team mate Eirik Bakke at Elland Road. Monaco aren't likely to change their price of £6 million, but Riise is increasingly out in the cold in the Principality, and an agreed move might be viewed as the best possible outcome for the club and the player.

October 04: Robert Molenaar is once again looking to be a transfer target. After turning down the opportunity to play for Wimbledon, he's not even made the bench in an injury-ravaged Leeds side, so the chance to move on must look like a better prospect every day. This time it's Sheffield Wednesday, who are looking to get off the down escalator, who were relegated last season and now prop up Division 1.

October 04: With Nicky Weaver injured, Paul Robinson should start in goal at Pride Park on Friday night as the England U-21 team take on their German counterparts. Unless further injuries affect the main squad, Alan Smith should find himself first choice up front with a chance to press his claims for another opportunity at the top level later this season.

October 04: Matthew Jones has picked up the Welsh Young Player of the Year Award for the second year in a row. John Charles' brother Mel received a special award for service to Welsh football. Mel Charles played for Swansea, Arsenal and Cardiff in the 50s and 60s.

October 03: Eirik Bakke reopened the Riise saga today as he said that the player still wanted to come to play at Elland Road but Peter Ridsdale made it clear that, as far as Leeds were concerned, the door was closed and nothing had changed since Leeds pulled out when Monaco upped the price.

October 03: Peter Ridsdale revealed that the Barcelona directors had told him that they expected Leeds to be one of the teams to progress to the next stage of the Champions League - but they probably didn't think it would be at their expense! Both Barca and Besiktas lost at the weekend, and serious questions are being asked of both coaches ahead of the next round of games.

October 03: The reserves beat Newcastle 3-1 at Kingston Park last night with goals from Michael Bridges (hurray!), Alan Cawley and a Newcastle own goal. Also playing were Darren Huckerby and Robert Molenaar - whose challenge gave away a penalty which Newcastle failed to score. Michael Bridges picked up a groin injury but should be clear for the Charlton game.

October 02: Peter Ridsdale and the West Ham management have poured the tenth bucket of cold water this year on the Rio rumours, with both sides denying that a move is imminent.

October 02: The Turkish authorities have confirmed arrangements for the game in Istanbul on October 18. The team will fly in the night before the game, with the fans arriving on the match day and being escorted straight to the ground. Both the players and the fans will fly straight out after the game.

October 02: The Worthington Cup game against Tranmere has been set for Tuesday October 31 - leaving just one blank day after the Bradford game.

October 02: Dominic Matteo has pulled out of the Scotland squad after aggravating an ankle injury on Saturday, Lucas Radebe is out of South Africa's friendly with France, Gary Kelly joins Stephen McPhail in dropping out of the Republic squad, and Alan Smith is doubtful for the U21 game with a hamstring problem. McPhail will actually be travelling to Germany for a specialist examination of his injury. Add in Olivier Dacourt and Mark Viduka both picking up knocks, and you can see why DOL is grateful for the two week break.

October 01: There was a goal for JFH today as Chelsea climbed out of the bottom 3 with a win over Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

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