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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


March 31: Warren Feeney made his competitive international debut for Northern Ireland last night when he came on as a first-half sub for the injured James Quinn. David Healy was also in the side, although neither striker managed to grab a goal as Lawrie Sanchez's side battled well against Poland only to concede late in the game for a 1-0 defeat. Paul Robinson and Rio Ferdinand had a quiet night for England: the defence was rarely troubled in the 2-0 win over Azerbaijan at Newcastle, although Robinson did have to show he was staying alert when a couple of defensive lapses gave the visitors a clear sight of goal.

March 31: Jermaine Pennant was today paroled from his drink-driving sentence after serving a month behind bars. Pennant will have to wear an electronic tag and is subject to a curfew - although he will be allowed to play and train with Birmingham City who are close to inking a deal with Arsenal for his permanent signature. Pennant said: "It's a relief to be out. I'm looking forward to putting on my football boots and start training again. I'd like to thank all those that have helped me through this difficult period."

March 31: Shaun Derry is set to return surprisingly early from his injury-enforced absence. Derry went under the knife just over two weeks ago to sort out a knee problem, and if he comes through a training session today could be involved in Saturday's clash with Wolves at Elland Road.

March 31: To nobody's great surprise, Kevin Blackwell has written off Eirik Bakke's hopes for a return this season. After managing just two minutes for the first team this season, he's still not ready to play even for the reserves, and Blackwell indicated that the Norwegian's chances of making it back before Rotherham sign off the season at Elland Road were minimal: "The last year has been an absolute nightmare for Eirik and if he plays again before the end of the season it will be a big bonus for us. At the moment I'm not expecting to have him available because he's got another fortnight of rehabilitation to go and he'll then need to build up his match fitness. By the time he does that, we'll probably be out of games."

March 31: Ken Bates has added a new face to the Leeds board - and it's no surprise that it's someone from his Chelsea days. Jayne McGuinness joined Bates as his PA at Stamford Bridge ten years ago, staying until the Russian takeover. McGuinness also worked as an architect - so that should be handy should any property development opportunities unexpectedly arise at the club. It seems that McGuinness will take responsibility for day-to-day decisions at boardroom level - so quite how that sits with COO Shaun Harvey is unclear. She said: "This is a very big challenge. Leeds have had a couple of very difficult years." You're not kidding!

March 31: The first season ticket renewal forms hit doormats across the country - and the fans aren't happy at what they're seeing. To nobody's great surprise, Ken Bates is putting up ticket prices - from a level which are already hugely OTT compared to other Championship sides. No season tickets are being sold for the East Upper - so presumably that will be closed on most match days to save money, with away fans in the SE corner, and displaced fans from the top deck crammed around a reduced family area in the lower tier (no "family" tickets in the more expensive central area though of course) - or paying through the nose for similarly-placed seats in the decrepit West Stand. Additionally, a couple of the blocks in the West (John Charles) Stand will be turned into corporate seating - so expect a few grizzles from people who've been in the same seat since the stand was built. Meanwhile the pay-by-instalments scheme is no longer on offer - so you have to cough up the full amount up front, and get the cheque to Ken by the middle of May if you want to avoid paying a further premium to continue seeing the same wonderful, high-class product we've been offered this season. On the positive side, they will be offering more spaces for wheelchairs/disabled fans. It seems Ken is trying to keep the majority of vocal fans onside - Kop prices are up by just 10%, but fans in the West Stand face price hikes of around 15% and if you want to keep your seat with your youngster in the middle of the Family Stand you'll face a price hike of 25%! In a letter with the renewals, Bates says: "On pricing, the current system is complicated and in some cases unfair. For example, why should a mature student of 30 years of age be subsidised by a fan of the same age who is working, married with two kids and possibly a mortgage?" Come on Ken - surely you can find a tougher target than "mature students". Many of whom are probably trying to retrain and make themselves employable after getting the boot - but hey, it's always easier to kick people when they're down. Maybe we should have bought Krasner's 20-year ticket after all!

March 30: Scott Carson kept a clean sheet in last night's 2-0 victory over Azerbaijan for the England U-21 side - but the real star of the show was James Milner. Milner had to play in a Brolinesque headband after an accidental collision at the end of the Germany game left him needing stitches, but that didn't affect his play: he set up both of the first-half goals from Liverpool midfielder John Welsh and Norwich striker Dean Ashton as England cruised to a comfortable win. Robbie Keane and Alan Maybury were both in action for Ireland in last night's unconvincing 1-0 win over China in a friendly at Lansdowne Road.

March 30: Manchester City Reserves turned over a young Leeds reserve side 0-3 at Wakefield last night. City included Leeds old boy Danny Mills, whose continued loss of form and lack of application has seen Stuart Pearce turn to youngster Nedum Onuoha as City's first-choice right back. Leeds went behind on 14 minutes from a set play, and then extended the advantage just past the hour mark with a well-struck shot past Sasa Ilic from twenty yards out. Leeds barely threatened Nicky Weaver in the City goal, although Kevin Smith did manage to draw a couple of good saves from him late on. With a quarter of an hour remaining, Bradley Wright-Phillips took advantage of poor defensive work to make it 0-3.

March 30: Howard Wilkinson will be doing a bit more for Notts County, it was revealed today. Wilko returned to Meadow Lane as an executive director of the club but will now also take charge of some training sessions, although there's no question of him taking over from manager Ian Richardson.

March 30: Leeds have told the FA that they will plead guilty to the charge of failing to control their players after the brawl at Elland Road which was started by Gillingham striker Darius Henderson. Leeds will plead mitigation but could face the activation of a suspended fine from last season or other financial punishment. Gillingham by contrast will appeal, calling the charge even more ridiculous than the dismissal of Henderson which was subsequently overturned, seemingly without the slightest glance at what he'd actually done.

March 29: Leeds first team coach Adrian Boothroyd is now the youngest manager in the league after taking over at Watford, who sacked Ray Lewington for doing a pretty decent job with no real money. Boothroyd said: "I am unconventional, but I am honest and I have integrity - that is how I work. Winston Churchill was appointed as a cabinet minister at a very young age: in life you can always follow successful people. There are certain common denominators that you can use from their experiences, take what they learnt over decades and put it into practice in everyday life." So expect lots of cigars and port at Vicarage Road from now on in...

March 28: Elsie Revie - widow of Don and for several years President of the official Supporters Club - has died. She had football in her blood - she was the daughter of a professional player - and was a familiar face at numerous gatherings of Leeds supporters and will be much missed by fans of the club from across the world.

March 28: Kevin Blackwell says that he doesn't want to knock down everything and start from scratch again next summer - although he does have his eyes on a couple of additions he would like to make to the squad. He said: "Our plans are about evolution, not revolution. I'm planning to add four or five quality players in the summer and that should give me the type of squad I need to have a real go next season. I had two months last year to build a squad from nothing and that was extremely difficult. But we won't take that approach again because I've got the basis of a team now. When I took the manager's job, I had nothing. We've had a hell of a year but it's been a very positive one."

March 28: New signing Ian Moore isn't expecting an easy ride into the first team at Elland Road. He said: "I don't expect to walk into the team and in all honestly I don't want to. There were times at Burnley when you felt in the comfort zone, like there was no real pressure on you to perform. It's not good for a player to be in that position and strong competition is ten times better. There are three other top-class strikers here and we'll all have to step it up. That suits me and it will suit them too." It will be interesting to see how Kevin Blackwell changes his tactics now that it seems that he has the three front men he was looking for.

March 28: Julian Joachim was on target for new club Walsall today - pulling back a goal for Walsall as they came from 2-0 down to make it 2-2 at Barnsley. Unfortunately they conceded a late penalty and ended up 3-2 losers. Craig Hignett scored from the spot to give Darlo a 1-2 lead at Bristol Rovers, but the home side came back and the game ended at 3-3 to dent Darlo's push for a play-off spot.

March 27: Leeds Ladies were beaten 1-2 by Arsenal today with the visitors now set to collect another Premier League championship trophy. Leeds went behind on the hour mark, but Lucy Ward brought the scores level 10 minutes later. Unfortunately Leeds couldn't hold on for a point, with England skipper Faye White giving Arsenal all three points with a strike four minutes from the end.

March 27: Jermaine Pennant is set to seal a £3 million move from Arsenal to Birmingham - while he's still inside! Steve Bruce revealed that Brum MD Karren Brady had agreed terms with Arsenal and the player's agent that will see the Gunners receive around half a million up front with appearance and success payments to make up the balance. Pennant is eligible for parole this week - but would have to wear an electronic tag: would be interesting to see if he would be allowed to play with one of those on!

March 26: Former Leeds keeper Scott Carson had a bad night for the England U21 side, gifting their German opposition a late equaliser. There wasn't much he could do about the German opener just after half-time, but Carson miskicked a clearance with time running out, sending it straight to forward Roberto Hilbert and letting him square the game at 2-2. James Milner was also in action for Peter Taylor's team. In Israel, Henry McStay was unlucky to deflect a shot into his own net as Ireland's U21 side found themselves 2-0 down after six minutes. McStay made up for that spot of bad luck with a header on 35 minutes that brought Ireland back into the game, but the home side restored their two-goal cushion just after the break and held on to full-time for a result that more or less destroys Ireland's hopes of making it through to next year's European Championship Finals.

March 25: There were two more deadline-day deals involving Leeds players yesterday. Harpal Singh's loan move to Stockport became permanent on a free, and Warren Feeney's recent good form for Stockport saw table-topping Luton pay £150,000 for the striker's services on a two-and-a-half year contract. Luton boss Mike Newell said: "He's got great potential, he is at the right age and has scored a lot of goals in a side that has struggled this season." Apparently Doncaster were prepared to offer more money as a transfer fee - but could not agree personal terms.

March 25: Kevin Blackwell sent Brian Deane on his way to Sunderland with a final word of praise for his efforts for the club this season. Playing for a long time as a lone striker, Deane struggled to find the net at first - just as he had done on his initial spell at Elland Road. But his workrate and a four-goal tally against QPR boosted his self-belief, although since then he has struggled with injuries and faced a challenge for his place from David Healy and Rob Hulse. Blackwell said: "Brian has been outstanding for Leeds United. I know why I signed him and he did exactly the job I needed him to do. A lot of people criticised my decision but his role has been absolutely vital. I needed players with experience and knowledge of the game at a time when the club had been ripped apart." He went on: "I suppose Brian is an unsung hero and I'm sad to see him go, but we're moving into the next stage of our development. It's a good move for Brian and Mick McCarthy obviously sees in him what I did last summer."

March 24: Leeds manager Kevin Blackwell is surprised and rather pleased to get Ian Moore on the books ahead of the summer. Leeds beat off interest from Sunderland and Sheffield United to sign the 28-year-old. Blackwell said: "The opportunity to sign him now just cropped up and we took it. We were prepared to wait until the summer and then move for him but the interest in him from other clubs was such that both I and the Chairman wanted to get it done before then. We've had so many players making their debuts this season that the Chairman thought we might as well get it over with and bring him in too. It gives him the opportunity now to come in and feel his way around, settle in and not just arrive midway through the summer at a big club having to make your introductions. This way he can play some part in the last seven games of the season and get all that peripheral stuff out of the way, so we hopefully won't have the situation we had at the start of this season with so many new faces at the club all trying to settle in at once." Blackwell has been impressed with Moore's performances when he's played Leeds: "He has a knack of really unsettling defenders as he showed against us when he got the penalty against Clarke Carlisle. We're getting a player who cost over £1m for next to nothing and he has proved that he has the ability to get you at least 15 goals a season." Unspoken in all of this is what this means for Rob Hulse and David Healy: it's hard to see how Moore would get a game ahead of either of those two - and a fit Julian Joachim would surely provide a serious challenge to his ambitions. If Hulse continues scoring at the current rate than an offer from a Premier League club would certainly disrupt Kevin Blackwell's plans to make his move permanent during the summer, and rumours of David Healy's dissatisfaction with being played out of position might mean that Moore's prospects of a starting place aren't quite as distant as they seem. Speaking about the move, Moore trotted out the usual cliches: "Over the last two weeks I heard there was an interest from Leeds and obviously my contract with Burnley was coming to an end. Sunderland offered money for me but they would only offer me a contract until the end of the season and there were no guarantees after that. Sheffield United were also in for me but Leeds was the only place I wanted to come to when I knew they wanted me." He went on: "I am looking forward to teaming up with [Blackwell] now and I know he's assembled some decent strikers here so obviously I am not going to go straight into the team but I am going to put up a real fight to earn a place. I haven't come here to sit on the bench. It's up to me to stake my claim and get in there."

March 24: Brian Deane has joined Sunderland on a free transfer contracted for the rest of the season. The arrival of Ian Moore means Deane is unlikely to even make the bench in what's left of the season and hasn't started a game for Leeds in nearly two months.

March 24: Peter Ridsdale is going spend the next three months acting as a consultant to Cardiff's board, working on financial and structural issues. Either Sam Hamman is trying to make himself look like the lesser of the two evils, or there's some grand-scale poetic justice going on here...

March 24: Former Pompey, Charlton and Aberdeen keeper Sasa Ilic has been taken on for the rest of the season as goalkeeping cover at Elland Road. Kevin Pressman switches to Coventry as a result, continuing on a non-contract basis there after making just one "first team" appearance for Leeds at Drogheda at the weekend.

March 24: In the last move of a surprisingly active day, Julian Joachim has gone back to the Midlands - this time on loan to Walsall for the rest of the season. I know there aren't many games left and we've got Ian Moore in - but this still leaves us rather light up front - although it does rather indicate that JJ's future at Elland Road could be somewhat circumscribed.

March 23: Young winger Aaron Lennon faces a busy few days over the holiday as he joins England's U19 squd for the three European Championship qualifiers to be played next week. While the rest of us are tucking into our chocolate eggs, Lennon will be part of the England squad that plays Denmark, Sweden and Moldova on March 26, 28, 30, Simon Walton has picked up an ankle knock to rule him out of a U18 squad get-together, but Henry McStay comes into Ireland's U-21 squad for their game against Israel in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

March 23: Burnley forward Ian Moore is in talks with Leeds today after the clubs agreed terms for his transfer. It's thought Leeds will pay around £50,000 for the player who cost the Clarets a cool million just over four years ago, but who is now close to the end of his contract at Turf Moor. He's not the most prolific of strikers, with just 37 goals in 170 league starts for Burnley, but could prove a useful addition to Kevin Blackwell's squad.

March 23: The reserves pulled off a bit of a surprise result tonight with a good 2-1 win over Newcastle's second string at Wakefield. Leeds' goals came from Julian Joachim and Seth Johnson bringing the Whites back from an early deficit. Maybe Johnson has finally done enough to convince Kevin Blackwell he's ready for a first-team start.

March 23: The trip to Leicester originally scheduled for Saturday 30 April will now take place the following day to avoid a clash with Leicester Tigers game at Welford Road on the same day.

March 22: Owls fan John Hemmingham has received death threats - seemingly from fellow Sheffield Wednesday fans - after accepting Ken Bates' offer of a job at Elland Road. Hemmingham headed up the Owls Trust - but fell out with the board when he backed Bates to take over at Hillsborough. Now Bates has brought him to Leeds to manage a brand new membership scheme that will apparently be somehow better than the existing Forever Leeds card and all of its predecessors. Hemmingham says he's not taking the threats too seriously: "I knew there would be one or two people unhappy with my decision," said Hemmingham. "But the good wishes far out number the criticism by around 10 to one. Football is my life and I like to think that I understand being a fan and what it means. There has been no abuse directed personally at me, but I have been told about the threats on a website."

March 22: Seth Johnson says that he's now ready to start a first-team game after nearly a year on the sidelines. After several reserve games and a couple of brief substitute appearances, Johnson is hoping to get the nod for the visit of Wolves on Saturday week. Johnson said: "I think I am right to start, it's difficult to come on as a sub in any game but the more I do play the better. That was the most first team football I have played in nearly a year and I know it's not going to come rushing back to me all at once, but I know I can do a lot better." He added: I don't think I lifted the quality too much when I came on last week but I am hoping the more games I am involved in the quality will come. I am disappointed with the way I played but hopefully things will improve. I expect better standards of myself and I am sure everyone else at the club, fans included, do as well."

March 22: Kevin Blackwell says that he's unlikely to be sneaking a final signing in ahead of the transfer deadline - he's going to stick with what he's got at the moment. He said: "I am not a million miles away from where I wanted to be at this stage... unless somebody is offered to us that makes great business, that looks like being it. I think we need to settle down now because I have put a decent squad together and it's about building on that and giving us some continuity now. Change and change is not good for continuity and hopefully from here on in you will not see massive changes at this football club." Wonder what Chairman Ken has to say on that subject?

March 22: Sheffield United have complained that they're not getting a big enough ticket allocation for their trip to Elland Road. They've been given just 1700 tickets - the South-East corner basically - but wanted 2300 more (the South Stand). However they're not going to get them: the police have decided that it would be too big a risk given the rivalry between the fans (and given that the reverse fixture saw some Sheffield United fans jumping on trains back to Leeds to cause aggro in the City Centre). The club probably wanted to sell the tickets - any money being welcome - but it's a big Ya Boo Sucks to the visiting fans: makes a change for someone other than Leeds getting their ticket allocation cut.

March 22: Warren Feeney's recent good form has been rewarded with a recall to the Northern Ireland squad for the World Cup qualifiers against England and Poland. Feeney joins David Healy in the squad, and his boss at Stockport, Chris Turner, backed him to succeed: "[NI Manager] Lawrie Sanchez should look at Warren's recent record. Northern Ireland's best chance of beating England would be to get behind the back four and to have someone to score goals. Warren is in that mould."

March 21: As expected, Leeds today announced a new five-year kit deal with Admiral less than a season into a commercially disastrous deal with Diadora. The size of the fanbase remains a draw for sportswear companies, despite the lack of Premier League exposure and the deal re-establishes a link between the club and Admiral which saw the whole replica kit market created from scratch in the early 1970s. Let's hope that they manage the production and distribution of next season's shirts a bit better than they did in the post-title fiasco season of 1992-93, when a combination of poor design and screwed-up availability saw Leeds blow a huge opportunity for commercial gain.

March 21: Lucas Radebe's testimonial tickets are now on sale - and he's hoping to attract some big names from the present as well as Leeds greats from the past. Gordon Strachan, Gary McAllister, David Batty, Gary Speed, Tony Dorigo, David Wetherall, Dominic Matteo, Tony Yeboah and even JFH have all agreed to take part - and Radebe is trying to call in a few favours from some of the players he joined in the Nou Camp for the Tsunami Relief game. Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane and Samuel Eto'o are just two of the names being touted as guests for the World XI in the May 2 game. Tickets are priced at £15 for adults, a tenner for kids or £30 for a family package. Looks like the East Stand Upper will be closed unless it's needed - which is a shame: we should be able to muster a full house for the Chief's farewell - so get out there, tell your friends and call the ticket office now.

March 21: Roque Junior may be seen as a total failure at Leeds - but someone out there still likes him. He's signed a two-year extension to his contract at Bayer Leverkusen, despite carrying a knee injury for the last two months. I guess we'll never know whether it was the coaching and management skills of Peter Reid, Terry Venables and Eddie Gray or the personal motivation of the players themselves, but the likes of Roque Junior, Raul Bravo, Teddy Lucic, Zoumana Camara and Salomon Olembe are still seen as good enough to play for their country or leading clubs in other top divisions - and of course the exodus from Elland Road to other Premiership clubs last summer can't be ignored either. Oh to have been a fly on the wall...

March 20: Leeds drew 1-1 with Drogheda in today's friendly over in Ireland. A near-capacity crowd saw Julian Joachim give Leeds a first-half lead, but the home side pulled level from the spot in the second half.

March 20: No more games to report on this month - so plenty of time to get your votes in for the March Player of the Month poll.

March 19: Tuesday night's reserve game against Newcastle has been put back to the Wednesday night to allow players and club officials the opportunity to attend a memorial service for physio Bruce Craven who died last month.

March 19: Plenty of Leeds old boys found themselves on the scoresheet today, and the earliest was Super Bob Taylor, scoring the only goal of the game for Tamworth against York and more or less guaranteeing Conference football for his side next season. Andy Gray sprung Burnley's offside trap to make it 2-0 to Sheffield United just after half-time, with the Blades holding on for a 2-1 win. Warren Feeney scored a hat-trick for Stockport at Huddersfield: a good lob, a penalty and a header from close-in. But it was all to no avail as the home side scored three times in the last eight minutes to win 5-3. Noel Whelan opened the scoring for Aberdeen - and former Leeds youngster Jamie Winter came perilously close to scoring himself - but the Dons allowed relegation-threatened Dundee back into the game for a 1-1 draw. Lee Matthews struck from 10-yards to make it 2-0 just before the hour mark to Port Vale in a Midlands derby against Walsall, and that's how it stayed to full-time. Robbie Keane helped get Stuart Pearce's managerial career off to a losing start with a late winner for Spurs at home to Man City - the game finishing 2-1. Finally, Jamie Forrester came on as a second-half sub and scored with just two minutes to go to give Bristol Rovers an incredible 4-4 draw at home to Mansfield.

March 18: Lucas Radebe's testimonial will aim to raise £500,000 for eight charities based in the UK and in his homeland of South Africa. As well as various dinners, the main event is the game between a Leeds Allstars XI and a World XI on May Bank Holiday Monday. The Chief said: "I've enjoyed ten fantastic years at Leeds United and have been fortunate to play alongside some of the best players in the modern game, both domestically and internationally. I've benefited greatly from my experiences in the game and I wanted to say farewell to the fans, whilst putting something back into the Leeds and South African communities. My aim is to donate the major proceeds from my testimonial activities to eight charities I have an affinity with." The charities in question are: SOS Children's Villages, Open Arms Malawi, Starfish, Lineham Farm, Martin House, The Variety Club, Childline and the Teenage Cancer Unit for Leeds hospitals. Meanwhile proceeds from this weekend's friendly against Gary Kelly's hometown club Drogheda will go to the cancer support centre set up by the player in memory of his late sister.

March 18: Striker David Healy says that Leeds have more or less blown any hope of a play-off place with three draws on the bounce. Speaking about the Forest match, he said: "It was a poor game all round from the first minute to the 94th and the lads are disappointed because we knew the results the previous night had gone for us. As individuals we did not perform on the night and that's why we didn't come away with the three points. When we play teams below us we've been a bit flat but we've beaten some of the top teams and we seem to lift our game, these last few weeks have been very disappointing because everyone has expected us to beat those teams. We did have a chance of sneaking into the play-offs through the back door but we might have blown our chance now."

March 18: Former Leeds loanee Brett Ormerod has left Southampton for another loan spell - this time with Championship leaders Wigan. Wigan boss Paul Jewell said: "He's a player I've admired for a long time and I've tried to sign him several times before but it's never quite worked out. Brett has come on loan with a view to a permanent transfer."

March 18: Michael Ricketts' loan spell at Stoke has been extended to the end of the season. He's competing against fellow loanee Kenwyne Jones from Southampton, and Potters director of football John Rudge said: "We are delighted to get both signed up for the rest of the season. Kenwyne in particular has done quite well since he has been here while we feel there is still plenty more to come from Michael."

March 17: Leeds hero keeper Neil Sullivan said it was plain old guesswork that helped him save his fourth penalty of the season last night. He said: "I guessed right again so I'm pleased. It was the fourth of the season so it must be four good guesses! "He had a free-kick just before that he lashed and I had an idea with his run-up that he would go that way again, and it was a good guess. Once I went that way it was quite an easy save to make." Sullivan said that the team were disappointed that once again they had failed to take their chances against one of the lower sides in the table, but said that they could get over it: "We've got a bit of a break now and we've got to come back and try and win as many games as we can before the end of the season. We know that the top sides still have to play each other and we know we still have a chance because one of the sides is going to come out of the pack."

March 17: Frazer Richardson has torn his hamstring and will be out for several weeks. He went off early on against Forest last night, and it was today confirmed that he had a tear and will be out of action for at least three weeks. Although there aren't many games to play over the next few weeks, by the time he's back to full match fitness it could be close to the end of the season.

March 16: Kevin Blackwell said that Saturday's brawl at Elland Road was nothing to worry about. Blackwell said: "I don't think there was an aggressive punch thrown. It was players trying to get between players and it was really nothing. The players who got sent off were the two culprits and it got dealt with there and then." With a huge total of 65 yellows and 6 reds so far this season, Leeds could face a large fine after being given a suspended punishment for a poor disciplinary record last season. Blackwell said he wasn't that worried by the card count: "Our record this year has actually been quite good for a league we knew was going to be competitive."

March 16: It looks like Neil Sullivan will not be playing for Scotland again, despite his recent involvement in a training camp with the national squad. He's not been included in the squad to face Italy in the San Siro later this month, and despite his excellent performances this season it seems that Sullivan will not be increasing his collection of 28 caps. Scotland coach Walter Smith said that it wasn't a direct snub as such and held the door open for a future recall: "I spoke to Neil and explained that to him and he was happy with that. He will continue to be available for selection if we need him, which I'm sure we will do."

March 16: Harpal Singh's stay at Stockport has been extended by a further month. Stockport manager Chris Turner said: "I'm grateful to Leeds... Harpal [has] done well for us."

March 16: It was a bore draw at the City Ground tonight, but Neil Sullivan once again saved the day for Leeds late on when he kept out a second-half penalty from Kris Commons. Frazer Richardson was stretchered off after 7 minutes to be replaced by Clarke Carlisle, and although Leeds finally operated an almost-normal 4-4-2 with Healy and Hulse up front, a breakthrough never looked likely, and maybe now Kevin Blackwell will finally admit the playoffs are beyond us and start to build for next season.

March 15: Coca-Cola are offering a quarter of a million quid to one lucky football fan - provided the money goes straight to that fan's club to be spent on a player. Get your email address down (making sure you tell them you're a Leeds fan) on the website and you'll be entered in a draw to win the big prize. Leeds fans are currently second in the poll behind QPR: coming top doesn't win you anything but obviously gives your club a greater chance of winning when they pull a name out of the hat.

March 15: The FA have pulled their usual stunt when it comes to Leeds: the club will face a misconduct charge after the brawl with Gillingham on Saturday. But the FA are doing their level best to pre-judge the outcome by clearing the man who started it all: Gillingham's Darius Henderson committed a pretty awful challenge on Michael Gray, and when Gray reacted it all kicked off. But the FA now say that it was wrong to send Henderson off. So presumably it was wrong to send Gray off, because if Henderson's "foul" didn't happen then neither did Gray's retaliation? Errrr.... no. Gray's red card and ban stands. If anyone is passing Soho Square with a copy of The Big Book Of Cause And Effect, you might like to leave it at the FA's reception for the morons who run the game.

March 15: Club captain Paul Butler reckons that tomorrow's game at The City Ground will be doubly difficult for Leeds. The Whites are desperate for three points to stay within touching distance of the play-offs, but Leeds' record against clubs in the bottom third is poor, and Forest will be smarting from their 6-0 hammering at Ipswich. Butler said: "They will want to bounce back after that result at Portman Road. The results went for us in a way on Saturday, which was something of a relief. It would have been a massive game for us to pick three points from because a lot of clubs chasing a top-six place were playing each other. If we could have got the win against Gillingham it would have been great, but we didn't and we have to get on and hopefully get three points at Forest now."

March 15: Sean Gregan and Michael Gray are both suspended for the trip to Forest, and Shaun Derry remains out with a knee injury so we could see Seth Johnson given a chance to start in midfield in what would be his 50th game for Leeds. For the home side, Paul Evans is suspended, and there are injury doubts over Darryl Powell, Matthieu Louis-Jean and Adam Nowland.

March 14: Michael Gray has apologised for his reaction which kicked off the mass brawl on Saturday. He was the victim of a pretty poor challenge from Darius Henderson, but reacted by pushing the Gillingham player in the face right in front of the benches, and the brawl that followed could still have repercussions for Leeds as the FA have announced that they will be investigating it. Gray said: "It was silly on my part to retaliate but what the lad did to me I think everyone would have done exactly the same. There were two sets of bottles of drinks on the floor and he tried to throw me over the top of them. I just jumped up and saw the red mist and it caused a mass brawl. I still don't think I did anything wrong and I have the marks on my neck from what happened but it happened and I just have to live with that. It was probably my fault for getting off the floor so quickly and running towards him. I knew it was a mistake but once you're in that situation though it's difficult to get out of it." Gray had support from captain Paul Butler: "We're fully behind him and I don't know if he can appeal or not but it was harsh. I asked the referee why he sent him off and he said retaliation, well it was retaliation after he's been thrown over the bottles on the side and then grabbed. It's hard because Micky's been playing well and he came here to play games but now he's going to have to miss three matches."

March 14: The reserves shared the points with Boro tonight with a squad stripped of fit first-teamers ahead of Wednesday's game at Forest. Matthew Spring played his first match since his bereavement, and Gylfi Einarsson and Julian Joachim continued their comeback from injury. Boro went ahead just before half-time, but Leeds equalised with an own goal on the hour mark.

March 13: It looks like the people who have set out to spoil Lucas Radebe's testimonial plans have won: despite The Chief making it clear he wanted Alan Smith in his line-up for the game on May 2, his return to Elland Road has been vetoed on police advice. David Share - who is running Lucas's testimonial season - said: "If we want to put the game on we have to do it with the co-operation of the police and we have been in discussions with regards match-day security. Alan Smith would love to play, but it would not be prudent so soon after him moving from Leeds to Manchester United to have him involved. [Smith] is very disappointed, Lucas is very disappointed and I would imagine the vast majority of Leeds supporters are disappointed too. We are only dealing with a small minority, but it is the decision that has been taken." Ray Fell - chairman of the official supporters club - said: "I regret that decisions like this have to be taken, but I can understand why it has been done. It is sad that there would perhaps have been a minority who would have given Alan Smith a hostile reception. I am pretty sure that the majority of our fans understand that Alan gave everything for Leeds United and then picked the club that was the best for his career." Sadly, no comment condemning the fans who threatened violence and disruption at a match celebrating a great player's Leeds career has yet been made public by the official supporters club.

March 13: Warren Feeney was the first of the Leeds old boys to get on the scoresheet yesterday - but his 4th minute goal for Stockport was cancelled out by a controversial penalty for visitors Colchester who then went on to grab a last-minute winner. Noel Whelan had a tap-in to score the middle of Aberdeen's three unanswered goals at home to Hibs. Clyde Wijnhard opened the scoring for Darlo against top dogs Yeovil, and although the Quakers went on to win 2-1, Wijnhard didn't see the end of the game after tangling with Darren Way two minutes from the end and receiving his marching orders. Finally, Lee Matthews took a quick free-kick to give Port Vale the lead against MK Dons, but the home side equalised just three minutes later and that's how it finished.

March 12: New loan signing Marlon King says that he hopes today's opponents Gillingham survive in the Championship. King spent three years playing for the Kent side, and said: "They are a family orientated club - they haven't got a great deal of money behind them but they have a great team spirit that has helped keep them in this division. I wouldn't like to see them go down and obviously being contract to Forest, I wouldn't like to see them go down either. So I will be keeping my eye out for their results after Saturday." But that's AFTER Saturday: in the meantime, he says: "Whatever happens I just hope we get three points."

March 12: Yet another inconsistent performance from Kevin Blackwell's side today nearly saw Leeds come away with nothing - although they could equally have snatched a win at the death. An appalling first half from both sides was sparked just before half-time when a poor free-kick was smashed home by Chris Hope to give the visitors the lead. On the hour, an off-field brawl started between a number of players, with the ref judging Michael Gray and Darius Henderson culpable and giving both their marching orders. Leeds kept plugging away, and inevitably it was Rob Hulse who scrambled an equaliser. Brian Deane came on as a last-minute sub and almost grabbed a barely-deserved winner, but it wasn't to be and the scores finished level. Kevin Blackwell glossed over the dismissals and praised his players for their comeback from a goal down: "I saw a lot of water bottles go flying that's for sure but it introduced a spark into the game and, in the last half hour, there was only one side going to win it and I thought we should have snatched the three points. But you have to give credit to Gillingham on how they played. They came here with a game plan and stuck to it."

March 11: Kevin Blackwell has told his squad that they can expect no rest over the next fortnight - despite the long break between tomorrow's home game against Gillingham and the visit to Forest just before Easter. Blackwell has set out some tough training plans designed to maintain the players' match fitness - and the club have fitted in a friendly in Drogheda into the bargain. Blackwell said: "Even though we've done well these last couple of weeks I want us to play better. I want us brighter, sharper and I want us to work at a much higher tempo. There's still plenty to work on and the players know that too. The last thing I want is for us to start resting on our laurels and start patting each other on the back just because we've saved the club from relegation which is what everyone tipped us for. That scenario simply isn't good enough for me or the club and I want to win as many games between now and the end of the season."

March 11: Kevin Blackwell has denied any suggestion that he has entered into contract discussions with Ken Bates over an extension to his existing deal, which is due to run out next summer. Speaking on the official site, Blackwell said: "We've not had any discussions about that and I don't expect to either, I have 12 months left at the end of this season and I am sure the Chairman will look at how things go. I love it here and I am proud to be at a club as big as Leeds United but I take every day and game as it comes."

March 11: Former Leeds battler Glynn Snodin reckons that Kevin Blackwell is doing a top job at Elland Road and that it's only a matter of time before the good times will return to Elland Road. Speaking in the YEP, Snodin said: "Kevin's been different class, particularly when you look at what he's had to deal with. It's not just on the field, but off it as well, he's had everything fired at him. He is trying to rebuild and he needs time and patience. Everyone wants success and wants it straight away, but you have to bide your time. It will come, though. The good times will come again for Leeds."

March 11: Lucas Radebe's testimonial will be played at Elland Road on May 2 - with Leeds lining up either against a World XI or against an African XI. But the biggest question seems to revolve around the participation or not of a certain former Leeds player. A large number of fans were very unhappy with the way Alan Smith left the club and were not shy about expressing their opinions - but the man who matters is keen to have his former team-mate on board. Radebe said: "I spoke to Smudger earlier this week and he really wants to play, but is not sure what the reception will be like. It would be nice if the fans could just put aside the issue of him leaving. He did a lot for Leeds United and is still a Leeds fan. He has confirmed to me he will play so now we will have to see what the reaction is. It would be nice to get all the old team together and Smudger was an important member of that side." And so say all of us. If The Chief wants Smith to play in that game, then that should be good enough for us. He's not asking for a rapturous reception for the ManU player and I'd hope that there are enough Leeds fans out there who can put their hatred of all things red on the shelf for the day and turn out to show their support and thanks to Radebe - a great player whose service to the club and football in general are beyond dispute - without ruining his swansong with a chorus of jeers.

March 11: Shaun Derry will be out of contention for tomorrow's visit of Gillingham after a scan of a knee injury he picked up against Gillingham resulted in him going under the knife to clean up some loose bone in the joint. Kevin Blackwell said that the player would be out of action for up to a fortnight - but with the fortuitous fixture list giving us an even bigger gap he might just miss the Gills game. Blackwell said: "It's a blow for Shaun but we have got a few good lads who can come in and it's only at times like this that you appreciate the squad you've been building."

March 11: Injured striker Julian Joachim says that the fans can still expect to see him pushing for a recall before the end of the season. Joachim played the full 90 minutes of this week's reserve game and is hoping to repeat that performance in the next fortnight to work himself back into contention for a first-team spot. He said: "Personally I didn't think I would be out as long I have but the physios told me it was a nasty tear. Things have worked well and there have been no real hic-ups along the way. It felt good out there which is encouraging." He praised what his team-mates have achieved in his absence: "The lads have done superbly well and the bigger the squad the better, the gaffer has brought in a few more players which encourages the team and can give us a lot of confidence. When I get fit I know it will be difficult to get a place in the team but that's what you want at any club. I will have no qualms about it if the team is doing well because that's what it's all about."

March 11: Rob Hulse is expected to get over his thigh injury and will lead the line tomorrow. Frazer Richardson, Danny Pugh and Clarke Carlisle are all in the squad after reserve outings this week, but Brian Deane and Gylfi Einarsson remain outside chances at best with injuries of their own. Gills defender Barry Ashby has an ankle injury, and Alan Pouton is carrying a back injury and is also likely to miss out, but Ian Cox and Darren Byfield are over their recent knocks and should be back in the squad.

March 10: New loan signing Marlon King says that he's not come to Leeds for an easy life - and that he relishes the prospect of having to compete for a first-team place. He said: "It is brilliant to be at Leeds, who were my No 1 choice all along. I had the chance to go elsewhere but I wasn't interested. It would have been easy to pick some-where where I would have been playing regularly but I wanted to be part of something that is really, really positive. Leeds are on the up. I don't think people realise just how well they have been doing. I will have to play well to get in. But even though competition is going to be stiff, I want to be part of it. I want to push myself and keep the others on their toes."

March 10: Aaron Lennon has picked up the PFA Fans' Player of the Month award for his outstanding contributions during February. With three wins, a draw and a defeat, the club has been playing much better, and Lennon's efforts - including three crosses that David Healy and Rob Hulse turned into goals - have been recognised. Hulse said: "He's a real talent and if you give him the ball he can frighten teams to death when he runs at people. He just has to keep working on what he's good at and he'll have a fantastic future in the game."

March 10: Kevin Blackwell sent Jamie McMaster on his way with the best wishes of the club as he tries to win a regular first-team slot at Chesterfield. Speaking on the official website, Blackwell said: "We talked about the situation with Jamie and we agreed that if something like this did come up it would be in his interests to take it. He's not really progressed here in the last few seasons as much as both parties would have liked and sometimes you need to take two steps back to take one forward." Errr....shouldn't that be one step back to take two steps forward if we wanted to be positive about this?

March 10: No great surprise, but it has been confirmed that Stephen Crainey will indeed get a groin operation and will miss the rest of the season. Crainey has had little luck since signing on at Elland Road, and Kevin Blackwell is hopeful that an op now will give the left-back a chance to be ready to undergo a full pre-season programme in the summer. Blackwell said: "We hoped it wouldn't come to this, but Stephen broke down in training and it's the only option open now. We tried to avoid surgery if at all possible, but he'll see the specialist today and only an operation will solve the problem. It's very disappointing because Stephen has worked very hard and he's done everything that was asked of him. By having it now, it should take three or four months, but he should be just about right for pre-season. If we'd have left any longer he might not have made it."

March 10: The reserves finally got a win under their belts at home to Nottingham Forest tonight. Frazer Richardson, Clarke Carlisle and Danny Pugh all had a run out for the first half after being out of contention for the first team lately, and Julian Joachim played the full ninety minutes on his first match back from injury. Leeds went behind early on, but goals from Gavin Rothery and Nick Gray saw them run out 2-1 winners in the end. The match also marked the first game in a Leeds shirt for non-contract keeper Kevin Pressman.

March 09: Sean Gregan's impressive feat of picking up 10 yellow cards in just 31 games for Leeds this season has won him a special prize: two matches of rest courtesy of the FA. He will be available for the Gillingham game, since his booking came on Sunday, and the 7-day rule applies, but will miss the trip to Forest and the visit of Wolves. It means he'll go nearly a month without a game: let's hope his hard-won match-fitness doesn't suffer as a result.

March 09: Seth Johnson was over the moon to finally get some sort of run out for the first team at the weekend. He said: "I've been on the bench for the last few weeks and not managed to get on, so to get some time at the end on Sunday was quite nice." And a couple of crunching challenges showed that he was confident enough after his long injury nightmare. "My knee feels really strong. I've had a few challenges like that in the reserves. I feel great and it's not a problem to me. My problems are behind me now. I came through okay on Sunday and I'm just happy to be involved again."

March 09: Jamie McMaster's move to Chesterfield has become permanent. Manager Roy McFarland said: "I am delighted that Jamie McMaster is at last joining us. We have made several attempts to sign the talented player, so it is pleasing he will now be with us for the final run-in to the season." McMaster has only started one game for Leeds - this season's League Cup victory over Swindon and has been used as a sub eleven times since arriving at the club in summer 1999.

March 09: Carlton Palmer has been confirmed as the new manager of Mansfield with a deal going through to the end of next season. His initial spell as a manager at Stockport saw the club plummet down the table - although they were a financial basket case and he lost many key players. Palmer has been working as caretaker boss for free at Field Mill since November when Keith Curle was sacked.

March 08: Kevin Blackwell has praised skipper Paul Butler - who has come in for a few knocks in recent weeks as his pace, positioning and fitness levels appear to have dropped off as the season has continued. But Blackwell reckons that Butler's leadership alone justifies his selection. He said: "I was asked why I made Paul Butler my first signing, and it's only now that people realised why I signed him and that's because he is a leader of men and he has been a massive help to me. Management doesn't just happen off the pitch, it happens on the pitch and you need good leaders and people who will follow them into battle." Blackwell added: "He's the first one in for a tackle, he's the first one to put his arm around someone and he's the first one to give someone a rocket if they need it." Well that's rubbish for a start: Sean Gregan hasn't been first to much this season, but the speed of his retorts to fellow team members after we've conceded has been phenomenal. Ah yes, speaking of our midfield general: "I look at people like Sean Gregan, they doubted why I signed him at first, now they know why. He is getting the praise that he deserves and he is one of those players that doesn't necessarily shine a light all the time but everytime you need something done he's there." Okay, okay. I accept that Gregan has improved as he's progressed through the season. But shining the spotlight on his performances only serves to highlight Blackwell's failure to put together a midfield that can do anything more than protect the defence: I'm not expecting a Batty-Strachan-McAllister-Speed quartet whose fearsome ability to turn defence into attack with a couple of quick passes kept the opposition on the back foot - but it would be nice to see just one decent passing move and a goal that involved more than just a hoof-to-big-man-knock-down-bang approach. Hmmmm... pessimism pills working overtime tonight...

March 08: Leandre Griffit has joined Rotherham on a one-month loan from Southampton. Griffit spent January at Elland Road, but appeared for just 25 minutes in the 2-0 loss at Pride Park.

March 08: Rob Hulse will be spending most of this week on the treatment table as he tries to get himself fit for the visit of Gillingham on Saturday. Hulse played through the pain to bag the equaliser at Millwall on Sunday, and Kevin Blackwell is hoping he responds to the treatment and continues his good form since his arrival on loan from West Brom. Blackwell said: "He's shown no signs of rustiness. Because he has been out for so long, he will be more susceptible to little injuries like this thigh strain, but it's just a case of getting him through this. He's done well so far, he's scored four great goals, and I'm sure he can only get better. He wants to be here and he's really settled in and thrown himself into things." Unless Ken Bates discovers another financial black hole at the club, it's expected that a permanent move for Hulse will be a formality in the summer - unless, of course, his form in the Championship persuades a Premier League club to take a punt.

March 08: Jermaine Pennant has given up his attempt to appeal against a three-month jail sentence for driving offences. The 22-year-old - on loan at Birmingham from Arsenal - was sentenced last week and is currently at HMP Woodhill near Milton Keynes.

March 07: Kevin Blackwell has indicated that he wants to hang on to Rob Hulse's services when summer comes around - and after four goals in four games it's hardly surprising! Blackwell said: "He's happy and wanted at Leeds at the moment. I've got the blessing of a three-month loan and as I say at the end of that I'm sure the chairman, myself and Rob and his people advising him will sit down and have a long chat." Blackwell also praised the player for battling through a thigh injury to take the field: "It shows what kind of desire Rob has to come through a fitness test just before the game to play. It was a good goal, a striker's goal and we needed it."

March 07: Rob Hulse was one of many people happy with his goal at The New Den yesterday. The in-form striker said: "I was pleased. It was a good ball in by Gary Kelly and we got bodies in the box in the second half. It was a good flick-on by Paul Butler to my feet and it was just an instinctive turn and shot. Luckily it went in." He thought that his team-mates worked hard to turn around a poor start - and the goal sealed a good day's work: "It was a massive goal. We didn't start well and were poor in the first half. We were sluggish. We had a chat at half-time, the gaffer said a few things to us and we went out and put it right. We put in a good performance, we were all over them and in the end we got the result we deserved."

March 07: For once the tabloid press aren't dumping on Leeds fans for bad behaviour - they're turning on our opponents. Today's Daily Mirror carries a photo of a fat Millwall fan wearing a Turkish flag t-shirt and making throat-slitting gestures who was seen at The New Den yesterday. Since Millwall were operating a season tickets/members-only policy yesterday, it shouldn't be that hard for them to pick him out, and they have promised to take appropriate action against the individual concerned. What interests me is what the stewards and police were doing: as clear an example of incitement you're unlikely to find all season, and it's not as if the constabulary were thin on the ground yesterday. Maybe they were too busy trying to herd all the Leeds fans onto the GNER trains at Kings Cross, even if they happened to live in Essex, North London, Bermondsey...

March 06: Ken Bates has reiterated his support for Kevin Blackwell - despite an interview on Sky giving the impression that he had a sneaking admiration for Dennis Wise. Bates said: "Yes, I do believe that Dennis, of whom I am very fond, will one day become a top manager. But I already have in place a manager in Kevin Blackwell who is doing a fantastic job. Since I came on board he has already presided over four victories and long may that continue. What Kevin has achieved here in building up the place from scratch is nothing short of remarkable." He went on: "Change the manager? No chance. It won't happen."

March 06: Leeds have let another young player go ahead of the expected mass exodus in the summer. Andrew Cousins has joined Kildare County after a trial at Drogheda United failed to win him a deal.

March 06: Leeds and Millwall are now just three points off the play-off places after today's draw. Dennis Wise was very happy with the way his patched-up squad had played. He said: "I'm proud of the lads. They showed a lot of enthusiasm and did extremely well. They don't know the game properly yet and still need a lot of help - but what you can always expect is for them to work hard and they showed what they can do." He reckoned that Leeds were lucky to sneak the points - although both sides came close and had good calls for a penalty. It was another poor bit of defending that allowed Paul Robinson to tap home an early goal for Millwall - but Rob Hulse came to the rescue with a smart turn and shot inside the box with 10 minutes to go. Kevin Blackwell said: "It shows what kind of desire Rob has to come through a fitness test just before the game to play. It was a good goal, a striker's goal and we needed it." But he played down prospects for advancement this season, despite the good run of form over the last couple of months. Blackwell said: "It's an evolutionary period, not revolutionary, for this club where we have to look forward in years and not months."

March 05: Scott Carson will make his Liverpool debut this afternoon as the Reds travel to Newcastle in the Premier League. He's only started two previous Premier League games - but they were at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge - so he shouldn't have a problem coping with a big stadium or (supposedly) noisy crowd. In the end he acquitted himself well enough - a couple of poor punches, but nothing he could do about the Laurent Robert free kick that turned out to be the only goal of the game.

March 05: New loan signing Marlon King says that he'll do all he can to help Leeds into the play-off frame. His reputation at Forest was of a talented player - but one whose application and consistency were a bit suspect, and he fell out of favour with new Forest manager Gary Megson. King said: "When I was handed the opportunity to come to Leeds I took it with both hands. Leeds are a massive club with a great following... They are going well and have every chance. I hope Leeds go all the way back to the Premiership and even if I can only influence it slightly then I'll be happy." Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell said: "Marlon is a player with a lot of pace and a good goalscoring record. We didn't have a striker on the subs bench against West Ham last weekend and Marlon will provide cover and competition in that area. I've been looking around for a while, and I felt this was the way for us to go."

March 05: Millwall player-manager Dennis Wise reckons that Ken Bates will bring the good times back to Elland Road. Bates was Mr Chelsea during Wise's time at the club, and the two men remain sufficiently close for it to be suggested that Wise was a shoo-in as Leeds manager when Bates took over. Wise said: "Ken Bates has made a difference to Leeds. He can turn them into another Chelsea. He has gone there and given Kevin Blackwell what he wants." Wise pointed out that the size of the crowds at Elland Road gave Bates more room for manoeuvre on the financial front, and noted that Leeds had captured three players he had hoped to take to the New Den: "Rob Hulse has a lot of quality, and there were a number of people after him - he was one who we fancied. He is a goalscorer: strong, quick and mobile. He will be a threat to a number of teams. Shaun Derry was another player we were after. And Michael Gray was another player I wanted to go for." Blackwell has had some fairly vocal support from the chairman so far: it will be interesting to see what happens in the summer should Wise decide that Millwall's limited financial capability is limiting his ambition as a manager.

March 04: Kevin Blackwell has indicated that there may be more departures before the end of the season after Michael Duberry was sold to Stoke. Blackwell said: "We've got one or two things in the fire. The chairman has come in and propped the club up and now we have to ensure we remain financially stable. So one or two may be leaving. The club is evolving and we have to make sure that we continue to grow without over-stretching ourselves." It's not clear to me how this will save any money though: players have contracts which have to be honoured over the duration or paid off up front, and unless we were to lose some of Blackwell's recent signings, there's no way anybody would actually offer us a transfer fee for any of them.

March 04: Mixed fortunes for some Leeds old boys on the managerial front. Ian Rush and Mark Aizlewood are in charge at Chester - but for how much longer? With only two wins in the last ten, the chairman is sufficiently unimpressed that he wants a change - but can't afford to sack them. Steve Vaughan said: "I offered a financial settlement so they could resign with dignity but an obvious action is to dismiss them. I haven't because of the finances, so technically they're still employees." Vaughan indicated that they had verbally agreed a settlement but retracted that agreement after talking to their solicitor. Rush had some initial success with the club, but they are now just above the drop zone and perilously close to a return to Conference football. Meanwhile Mansfield are set to offer caretaker manager Carlton Palmer permanent terms this week. The way was cleared when Keith Curle lost his appeal against dismissal last week over allegations of bullying. Palmer is now in discussions with the Stags' chairman and could sign a deal next week.

March 04: Marlon King is set to become the fifth signing in a month for Kevin Blackwell. The Forest striker is due to arrive on loan today and will go straight into the squad for Millwall, as Blackwell struggles to get cover for the injured Brian Deane and Julian Joachim with Michael Ricketts now gone to Stoke and Simon Johnson on loan at Barnsley. King started his career as a trainee at Barnet before switching to Gillingham in summer 2000. An impressive strike rate for the Gills raised his profile, and Forest signed him for £950,000 at the back end of 2003, and although his goalscoring record has been a bit disappointing since, he has remained a regular as Forest have struggled this season.

March 04: The Reserves' match against Brum has been rescheduled after being cancelled earlier in the week as a mark of respect for the death of physio Bruce Craven. The game will now take place at Damson Park on Monday 11 April, kicking off at 7.00pm.

March 04: Jamie McMaster has joined Chesterfield on loan with a view to making the move permanent. McMaster had a spell with the Spireites last season, and has been loaned to Swindon and Peterborough this time round, but he's not had a look-in at Elland Road and with the end of his contract coming up in the summer he will be anxious to do what he can to secure a new contract for next season. Chesterfield manager Roy McFarland said: "We needed to bolster our small squad due to injuries and suspensions and feel that both Jamie McMaster and Carlos Logan should give us a welcome boost. We remember Jamie's contribution whilst on loan last season, including a couple of awesome goals as well, and hope he can make the same impact this time."

March 04: More bad managerial news for a Leeds old boy: Paul Hart has left Barnsley 'by mutual consent' after a poor run of form saw the Tykes win just twice in the last thirteen league outings.

March 04: Gylfi Einarsson and Brian Deane look like they'll miss Sunday's trip to Millwall with rib and shoulder problems respectively, while Julian Joachim, Eirik Bakke and Lucas Radebe remain long-term absentees. New signing Marlon King goes straight into the squad for the trip to the New Den. For the home side, Mark Phillips, Alan Dunne and David Livermore have contrived to get themselves banned simultaneously, while Dennis Wise (Taxi!), Kevin Muscat and Barry Hayles are all injured.

March 03: Kevin Pressman has been told by Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell that he will have the rest of the season to show that he is still up to the job - and if he cuts the mustard then he could be in line for a full contract as Neil Sullivan's deputy next season. Blackwell said: "Since Scott went we took young Paul Harrison on loan from Liverpool and he did quite well but I wasn't confident I could throw him into the first team. Then with what went on last week with goalkeepers getting injured, and those clubs found they couldn't sign anybody, I thought it prudent to sign Kevin whilst we had the chance." He went on: "I have told Pressie that between now and the end of the season we will be watching him closely and if he can show me what I'm looking for then we won't need to look any further than him in the summer. I am hoping that he can get his fitness really back up to scratch again and then who knows, he could go on and have a great career here."

March 03: Recalled centreback Matthew Kilgallon wants to spend the rest of the season as first-choice centreback. After an injury lay-off, he had to wait to get the nod ahead of Clarke Carlisle, and said: "I hope I took my chance, and I hope to stay there now until the end of the season. I want to play all 10 games and hopefully play a part in helping us get into the play-offs." He's looking forward to a stern challenge at The New Den on Sunday: "It will be a test of character. We've got the experience and the players like games like that. It gees them up more. [Paul Butler] loves games like this and with Sully at the back, we've got plenty of experience and the lads will be up for it. If we go down there and get a result, we will be right up there."

March 03: There's a good deal of confusion around how Leeds fans should get across London on Sunday for the game at Millwall. For those travelling down from Leeds, they'll hit problems as soon as they get off at Kings Cross with the closure of the southbound Northern Line - so pick your favorite 3-tube route using assorted Victoria, Bakerloo, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines to make your way to London Bridge via Waterloo. Once there, it's just a short train journey to South Bermondsey, where there is a covered walkway that takes visiting fans straight to the ground - avoiding problems at a couple of Millwall home pubs that you would otherwise have to pass: this will be open according to Millwall, despite some reports to the contrary. When you get to the ground, there will be no alcohol in the ground - again despite some reports earlier in the week that said they would be serving, so if you fancy a pint, I strongly recommend you get one in the centre of town, since there will be a strong police presence at London Bridge - and I wouldn't be too shocked if they bussed people straight off the trains from Yorkshire.

March 03: Ken Bates hasn't taken long to trail a huge hint about what the fans can expect next season. This month's saviour said: "At the moment Leeds are losing £120,000 a week, with an average gate of 30,000, they are subsidising everyone to the tune of £8 per ticket, well I ain't going to do that." Which is not strictly true. What is happening is that the former players whose poor performance on the park was a not insignificant cause of our current predicament are still getting paid an arm and a leg by the club. Be that as it may - there's not many more revenue sources available under such direct control, so expect ticket prices to rise from their already high-for-the-division level next time round. Shortly - within a year or two at most - those player payments will be off the books, and I'll lay a large amount of money against anyone who suggests that our benevolent leader will be slashing the entry fee once the club starts turning an operating profit. Bates was upbeat about the overall state of the club. Speaking on Sky Sports News, he said: "It's a challenge and when you can already see a club coming back from the brink, and you can see a little bit of improvement every day of the week with the good staff I've got round me. I mean there is already good staff at Leeds anyway, but they had no motivation and they have got it now, and it's a joy to see ordinary young people all of a sudden with a sparkle in their eye, and a laugh."

March 02: Michael Duberry has left Elland Road after agreeing a switch to Stoke City this morning and should go straight into Tony Pulis's side to face Brighton at the weekend. The 29-year-old has spent most of his nearly six years at Elland Road in the physio's room, with just 67 starts and 11 sub appearances in that time. The fee is "undisclosed" - but realistically will be a lot closer to zero than the £4.5 million paid by David O'Leary in summer 1999. The big win for Leeds is getting his £23 grand a week wages off the books - although it's likely that part of the sale deal involved the club paying off a significant percentage of the outstanding term of his contract. Kevin Blackwell said: "I wish Michael all the best for the future. Things did not really work out for him as well as expected here and I think this move will be good for him. It will give him the chance to kickstart his career again. He goes with our best wishes." Doobs has had his ups and downs with the fans at Leeds: cheerleading "When I Was Just A Little Boy..." from the warmup track on numerous European trips, and - at first anyway - seeming to give his all for the cause, even if he wasn't quite in the same class as defensive colleagues Woodgate and Ferdinand. For a large percentage of Leeds fans, his actions over the Bowyer/Woodgate trial put him beyond the pale: giving evidence against his friends - although at least as many people thought that he'd done the right thing and that he should have spoken up sooner. But for me the end came last season as his attitude seemed to change amid the financial meltdown at the club, and any pretence at making an effort evaporated as his defending became a farce, and after giving him a chance at the start of this season, it's clear that Kevin Blackwell agreed. Thanks for the good memories Doobs - just a shame that you left us with a few too many sour ones to spoil them.

March 01: Jermaine Pennant has been jailed for three months after admitting drink-driving while already banned. He pleaded guilty last month and faced the court today where he was told that there had been no reasonable excuse for the journey and he had to be jailed. Blatantly ignoring the example of his former Arsenal team-mate Tony Adams, Pennant's lawyer said that his clients career could be destroyed by a jail sentence. Pennant also gave a false name when stopped, and came up with an entirely believable story that he thought that his ban had been cut short because of a letter that came from the DVLA that was read to him by his aunt. Birmingham have promised to stand by the player, but said they would be speaking to Arsenal about his future. Gordon Taylor further enhanced the PFA's reputation for doing sod all to instil any sort of discipline or sense of responsibility into its members, saying: "Jermaine is going to have to come to terms with himself but he can expect support from the PFA. We try to educate players against the dangers of drink, particularly when combined with driving." And although you support the player in his rehabilitation, you do - of course - condemn out of hand the offence, don't you Mr Taylor? Sorry - I seem to have gone a bit deaf all of a sudden...

March 01: Michael Duberry is in talks with Stoke over a permanent switch to the club with which he enjoyed a loan spell earlier in the season. It seems the sticking point is the fact that none of the lockers in the home changing rooms are big enough to accommodate his bulging wallet.

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