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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post

February 28: After watching Jonathan Woodgate last barely 10 minutes of the Champions League match against Arsenal before breaking down yet again, Michael Bridges offered sympathy based on his own long battle back to fitness. He said: "I speak to Woody regularly. He was back and looking to the World Cup so it's really depressing for him. Sometimes it's hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel and we counsel each other." Bridges is now hitting form with Carlisle and looks set to win promotion with his new side - although if he does prove that he can play week-in, week-out then there could be some interest in bringing his talents back up to a higher division.

February 27: Speaking after his 500th appearance for the club on Saturday, Gary Kelly said that he was glad that the milestone was past and he was now looking forward to next week's game against Palace. He said: "I hate things like that. After all the build-up you just want it out of the way. It's nice to concentrate on Leeds United now rather than Gary Kelly's 500th game. It's nice to achieve it, but it's out of the way now." Kelly has stuck around despite the club's falling fortunes and thinks he should be part of the squad to bring back top flight football: "I was part of the team which got relegated and I feel it's my responsibility to help them even more. This is a club that needs Premiership football. Sometimes, what has happened with the money and that can make a club stronger... I've been here since I was a kid. I don't know anything else but Leeds United."

February 27: Ken Bates has warned youngsters Tom Taiwo and Michael Woods that a move to Chelsea could blight their careers. The pair have been poached by the Blues - but are only on trial, have yet to sign formal contracts and even if they do will almost certainly find their path to the first team blocked by expensive imports. Bates said: "Both their parents and their agents should take a long hard look in the mirror."

February 26: No more games to come this month so it's time to get those votes in now for the February Player of the Month Poll.

February 26: Michael Bridges picked up another goal for Carlisle yesterday as they came from behind to win 1-2 at Barnet and maintain their place at the top of League 2. Andy Keogh put the seal on Scunthorpe's win at Gillingham with a 64th-minute goal giving them a 1-3 lead. Julian Joachim scored the only goal of the game with a header halfway through the second half as Boston struggled against relegation candidates Stockport. Harry "I'm a striker" Kewell surprised many Leeds fans today by actually scoring a one-on-one goal. Playing on the left wing for Liverpool, he collected Steven Gerrard's pass, cut in to face David James and remarkably failed to stumble, pass the ball gently to the keeper, hit it high and wide or any of the other usual outcomes that we'd have expected from his days at Leeds. That was the only goal of the game as Liverpool beat Man City 1-0 - maybe he's finally turned the corner for the Reds. Finally, JFH struck twice with easy-meat goals at West Brom as Boro followed up on their UEFA Cup win in midweek with a stroll to three points against the 10-man Baggies.

February 25: Mike Newell wasn't happy with the ref after today's 2-1 defeat at Elland Road for his Luton side. Newell reckoned that Sean Gregan had handled the ball inside the box with the game still goalless, but the ref waved the appeals away and almost immediately Jonathan Douglas had given Leeds the advantage. Newell said: "It was handball from Gregan, and everyone in the ground saw it. It was a penalty and it changed the game - because they went down the other end and scored. It's a double whammy, but the referee didn't want to discuss it. It was a mistake, and you just wish they would explain their decision when they make mistakes. They don't have the same onus on them to explain their mistakes. It's not just the referee but the linesman as well, who was only 15 yards away." Kevin Blackwell sympathised. He said: "I went to Derby the other week and I got a phone call from [match ref] Phil Dowd on the Monday, saying he's missed two blatant penalties. Decisions change games, so Mike can feel a bit aggrieved." However Blackwell reckoned his side deserved the win: "But it didn't just change on that, because we had other chances and should have finished off some great approach play."

February 24: Kevin Blackwell says that Gary Kelly could be one of the last of his kind as he prepares to make his 500th appearance for the club against Luton. Blackwell said: "I don't think you will see a player make 500 appearances for his club again. With the Bosman ruling coming in it will be such a rarity and before many players before were happy to settle and stay at a club because you couldn't move for much more money anyway." He went on: "It puts him alongside some of the greats at Leeds who have hit the 500 mark. It is an awesome achievement and I take my hat off to him."

February 24: Kevin Blackwell and all the players and backroom staff at Elland Road have sent their best wishes to Alan Smith as he starts his long road back to fitness after suffering a broken leg at Anfield last weekend. The Leeds boss said: "I experienced something similar to what Alan's done so I know how bad it is and I never played for just over 12 months. I broke my leg and displaced my ankle which is almost the same as Alan, and as much as you train and play football you pray it never happens to you." Blackwell echoed David O'Leary's sentiments that Smith was not the sort of player who would balk at the effort needed to get himself fit enough to play at the top level again. He said: "Alan is one of the most focused people I have ever come across and very determined. I remember him being kicked black and blue on his leg at a game at Manchester United and he played the following week because he stayed late everyday to get treatment and I am sure he will be back."

February 24: Ken Bates has kept his word and distributed the libel settlement he received from the Daily Mirror to local charities. The Mirror had suggested that Bates had walked out in disgust when Leeds were 3-0 down at Southampton (before they staged a magnificent comeback to win 3-4), and after they caved in completely when threatened with legal action, Uncle Ken said that he was happy with the apology and would find a good home for the money. The lucky recipients are Lineham Farm - a residential centre for underprivileged kids - and perennial Leeds favorite charity St Gemma's Hospice.

February 23: Simon Walton is regretting his retaliation against Liverpool striker Ramon Calliste since he must now serve a four-match ban. Walton would have faced three matches out for the straight red card - but gets an additional game on the sidelines because this is his second red card of the season.

February 22: Leeds are set to demand compensation from Neuchatel Xamax after the long-running saga of Joel Griffiths' transfer finally concluded with his official installation as a Leeds player this week. It's taken 5 weeks to sort out the paperwork for the move, and Shaun Harvey is less than impressed. The CEO said: "We have been consistent in our position and there's been no just reason why Xamax would not allow the clearance to go through."

February 22: The grim story from the treatment room continues: Steve Stone says he has no idea whether he will ever play football again after his continued failure to recover from an infection arising from his multiple achilles ops. Stone said: "The infection eats away at my leg. My target is to play again but I am in pain getting in and out of bed at the moment so I need to get my leg right first so I can live a proper life." He went on: "If it doesn't come right then I will be in the hands of plastic surgeons and I don't want to go down that route if I can help it." The player admitted that - at his age - he would consider giving up, but wanted to use the second year on his contract at Elland Road to repay the club for the continued support he has received, despite the fact that he has yet to make a competitive appearance for Leeds. He said: "If I didn't have next year here I would probably retire. I haven't played a game for Leeds yet so I want to repay them with something for the faith that they have shown in me. They have looked after me really well so hopefully I'll do that. Hopefully Leeds can get up, that is the big thing we are trying to do - get promoted. But if next year the injuries are starting to crop up and are a problem then I'm just going to have to call it a day."

February 22: Simon Walton had a solid run out for the Football League U21 side last night in their 1-0 win over Italy at Hull. He played the full first half, giving Peter Taylor the opportunity to consider his credentials for the England U-21 side. Less positively, he was dismissed in tonight's reserve game against Liverpool: after being violently headbutted by the Reds' striker Calliste, he pushed the player away. The ref interpreted that as retaliation and violent conduct, and it was time for an early bath. The game ended goalless with Dan Harding, Gylfi Einarsson, Joel Griffiths, Eirik Bakke, Ian Moore and Danny Pugh all getting a good run.

February 21: Eirik Bakke shrugged off Kevin Blackwell's criticism of his performance as he returned to the Leeds side at the Walkers Stadium. The midfielder said: "I haven't played since the start of January and I know I need more games. Hopefully I'll get the chance. There's a lot more to come." He went on: "I know what I can do when I'm fully fit. I just want to play games now. When I'm fully fit I will play. There's a long way to go yet and hopefully my form will come. I want to play a part. It was good for me to get a run-out, but it wasn't the best of games and it was disappointing." Blackwell had picked out Bakke - although few members of the team escaped his ire: "Eirik did so-so. But I expect more. I will demand more and he better give me more. Eirik has got to get used to how we play. This isn't fanny football, this is the Championship. You can't stand off people. I want them to put a foot in and play at a tempo that suits this team and I want Eirik to understand that." Blackwell went on: "We weren't sharp enough in mind and thought. We looked brain dead at times and weren't at the races. The players are disappointed, but we didn't do enough to hurt Leicester and that disappoints me. I'm annoyed and I'm disappointed, but I have to be tempered in my anger. It wasn't a lack of effort it was a lack of thought."

February 21: Kevin Blackwell has admitted that there's no way that Richard Cresswell will return this season after all. We've gone from the striker not needing an op to being out for a few weeks to losing him for 3 months in the space of 3 days - so quite what that says for the judgement of our physios and medical people I'm not sure. Blackwell said: "Richard's had the operation and he's out for the season. It's a blow and it leaves us reduced in numbers. I'll have to look at bringing someone in. We've got one or two options but I don't know how long it will take."

February 20: After last week's seemingly good news on Richard Cresswell's cartilage problem, it was announced today that the striker would have to go under the knife anyway and would be out for around 6 weeks. Cresswell appeared to be over the worst but had a tweak in training ahead of Saturday's game at Leicester and so now it's op-time.

February 20: Gary Kelly said that the team deserved the booing that greeted their departure from the pitch on Saturday. He said: "The point was good, but from the first minute to the last the performance was muck. I wish I could really speak my mind, but you couldn't print it.We just never started. Stephen Crainey put his hand up for their goal, but we got back in after that when they had a man sent off and we got a penalty. But we weren't at the races and Leicester deserved it. We deserved to get booed off by the 3,000 Leeds fans and we have to be our own biggest critics." But Kelly says that the performance was a one-off: "Don't get me wrong there isn't a hole in the ship and we are still motoring... It was just one of those days. Sometimes you need a kick up the arse."

February 19: Alan Smith will be in hospital for a couple more days and be in plaster for a few weeks to come, but the initial reports from his agent and the hospital say that he may be able to resume his career after all. David O'Leary said that Smith would overcome the injury and apply his tenacity and spirit to a recovery and comeback. He said: "I saw the replays and it looked shocking but hopefully we shall see him back soon because he has got a great career ahead of him. You never like to see anybody suffer those sorts of injuries but it is worse when it is someone you worked with and like very much."

February 19: David Wetherall was on target for Bradford for the second time in a week, powering home a great header to give his side a share of the points with Bristol City. Julian Joachim opened the scoring for Boston as they entertained high-flying Wycombe. The visitors did manage an equaliser but this was a creditable point for the Pilgrims.

February 18: In the normal scheme of things, to come back from a goal down after 5 minutes and secure an away draw wouldn't be too bad a result. But when 80 of the remaining 85 minutes were played against 10 men, and when the home side's keeper barely had to get his gloves dirty all game, it's possible to understand the frustration of the Leeds fans who booed the team off at the Walker Stadium today. Kevin Blackwell was far from happy: "We just looked brain dead today. I am very disappointed. We were really not quite at it and there was something missing. I don't know why. It just didn't happen. I put four strikers up there at the end, but we had no creativity or initiative." The bare facts: Iain Hume had a good game, putting the Foxes in front with 5 minutes on the clock with a well-taken shot. Patrick McCarthy was dismissed for the second successive game against Leeds for bringing down Rob Hulse when the striker was through on goal: Robbie Blake despatched the penalty to square the game and Leeds then proceeded to make nothing that could be described as a chance for the rest of the game. A play-off place still looks safe, but the chances of catching Sheffield United are slipping away.

February 18: Just over 7 years ago, Alan Smith made his first team debut for Leeds as a sub at Anfield with the team a goal down and made a lasting impression on the game and all who were watching. Today he took the field in similar circumstances for Manchester United in what could very well be the last game of his career. With time running out, Smith blocked a shot from Riise, but as he fell his leg crumpled underneath him and he stayed down. The ball had gone back up the pitch so it took a few seconds before the other players realised what had happened - but their reactions when they did get to see told a sad tale. Smith has broken his leg and dislocated his ankle - an injury described by Alex Ferguson as the worst he'd ever seen (and remember that Fergie was there when Dave Busst's broken leg left Peter Schmeichel throwing up on the touchline). Although there are more than a few Leeds fans out there who are happy to see anything bad happen to Smith, I'm not one of them: nobody deserves that sort of pain for a game of football. Get well soon Smithy - let's hope you do make a comeback even if it is for the wrong United.

February 17: Liam Miller and Jonathan Douglas are understandably pleased to be back in the Ireland squad for next month's friendly against Sweden. For both players it's just reward for a season in which they've made themselves first team regulars in a competitive side. Douglas said: "I'm really pleased to be in the Ireland squad, but I have to put it to the back of my mind for a few weeks. We've got to get three points tomorrow at Leicester for starters and we've got some big games coming up. We're doing well at the moment and we're hoping to push on. We're hoping to claw back Sheffield United's lead now."

February 17: Kevin Blackwell has warned midfielder Shaun Derry that his two-match ban for reaching 10 yellow cards could see him facing a fight to regain his place in the starting line-up. Blackwell said: "Shaun has missed games and we've done well without him. The last time he was missing was also against Leicester and Simon Walton came in for him, so I hope the omens are good. I have every confidence in the players, we've had to make changes this season and whoever has come in has done terrificly well... The problem for Shaun right now is that he's out of the side because if we win the next two games without him he will have to fight hard to get back in the side."

February 16: Never mind international clearance - it seems that Joel Griffiths didn't even have a valid work visa to play in England! He had to return to Oz to sort it out, but he should be back at he club by the weekend and finally have the chance to get his Leeds career underway.

February 16: Liam Miller and Jonathan Douglas both get a call-up for Steve Staunton's inaugural game as manager of Ireland for their friendly with Sweden on March 1.

February 15: Darren Huckerby struck the first of Norwich's three unanswered goals last night with a six-yard tap-in paving the way for a brace for Rob Earnshaw against 10-man Brighton. Alan Maybury's pass set up Iain Hume to square the game at 1-1 with Derby, and Maybury himself got on the end of a ball from Joey Gudjonsson to put the Foxes in front before a deflection left the game even at 2-2. David Wetherall failed to hang on to Swansea's Leon Knight just before the break to concede the opening goal, but the Bradford captain made up for his mistake in the second half with an unchallenged header from a corner to grab a point for the Bantams. Jason Wilcox saw red for Blackpool, bringing down Huddersfield's David Graham in the box to concede the penalty that was the only goal of the game.

February 15: Richard Cresswell will not require surgery on his knee after all. A scan on the joint after he picked up a training injury at the end of last week had initially indicated that he would have to go under the knife to clean up the problem, but after a sub appearance last night he has now been given the all-clear. Cresswell said: "I saw the specialist and he's put that to bed. I don't need an operation and I felt fine playing." With competition stiff up front after Kevin Blackwell's signing spree, Cresswell doesn't want to suddenly find himself demoted: "I was worried that with this little niggle I might lose the shirt if I sat it out because this club has some very good players, and I just want to play football. I'm just going to see how it goes in the next few weeks but it felt great last night and hopefully I will be able to carry on."

February 15: Although Adie Boothroyd made no excuses for his team's defeat he did question Sean Gregan's attitude over Darius Henderson's dismissal. Henderson came off the field with a huge rip in his shirt, and Gregan was clearly to blame - although slo-mo replays seem to indicate that he grabbed the shirt as he was going down after being elbowed. Boothroyd said: "Some people call it professionalism or you can call it want, but when you go down as if someone has beaten you with a sledgehammer it's a little bit disappointing." Boothroyd was happy with his players' efforts: "Even with nine men we gave it a go and we've got some very big-hearted men in there who fight and scrap. That's one of the reasons why we are up there and the fact we held out for so long, I take a lot of pleasure from." Kevin Blackwell was equally pleased with the points - though he hadn't been too happy with the way his men had played in the first period: "We came out in the second half and really got the ball moving in the second half. We knew Watford would play with a direct style in the first half but I told the lads we couldn't play like that. All we can do is keep the pressure on Sheffield United and see where we are around Easter time."

February 14: Ian Moore has appealed to Kevin Blackwell to give him the chance to show what he can do up front after a season on the fringes of the squad. With David Healy coming back after suspension and Rob Hulse likely to soldier on through the pain, Moore will probably be on the bench for the Watford game. Moore pointed to his contribution at Pride Park - where he had a good penalty claim dismissed - as evidence of what he can do given the chance. Moore said: "I thought I did ok to come on. I thought I was unfortunate not to get a penalty at the end. I spoke to Marc Edworthy afterwards and he said was a penalty. It's up to the referee and if he doesn't give it then it's not a penalty. I did think I got caught though so we can count ourselves a little bit unfortunate." Moore has been linked with a move away from the club - with Joe Royle turning down the chance to take him to Portman Road - and indicated that a continued spell of benchwarming would see him looking elsewhere. "It's been a difficult season for me and I have to make the most of the chances I get. [Richard Cresswell] has had some bad news and might be out for a few weeks, Robbie's got a little niggle as well so I just have to keep on my toes and take my chances when they come. There have been a few opportunities to go out on loan but I have always been told I am part of the squad here. Maybe some time you have to look at it and be looking to get a game every week, especially at my age when I am 29. You need to be looking to play 90 minutes rather than being a bit part player. There is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel with a few injuries about and like I said before it's up to me if I get an opportunity to plant a seed in the manager's head and try and keep my place. I have got another season here, but if things are still the same at the end of the season then obviously I have to look at different options."

February 14: Shaun Derry has hit 10 yellow cards for the season - 2 of them came in reserve games I think, 8 in 32 first team appearances - so that means a two-match ban - covering Leicester and Luton - under the totting-up rules.

February 14: Leeds had to come from behind tonight in order to take all three points at home to Watford. The visitors arrived on a six-game winning streak, and just about deserved to go into the break in front when Ashley Young scored straight from a free-kick. Leeds started the second half on top, and just shy of the hour Jordan Stewart's backheader fell short of keeper Ben Foster: Rob Hulse nipped in to win the ball only to be brought down by the keeper. The ref flashed a red card and the first thing sub keeper Alec Chamberlain had to do was pick the ball out of the net after Robbie Blake hammered home the penalty. 5 minutes later, Leeds were facing just 9 men when Darius Henderson lashed out at Sean Gregan. Watford's reduced forces held out well, but with 10 minutes to go Blake latched onto the rebound after Chamberlain saved David Healy's shot and the 3 points were won.

February 13: Richard Cresswell's knee injury will need an operation to fix it - although he could struggle on for a few games before going under the knife. Cresswell picked up his latest problem in training ahead of Saturday's game at Derby and after a scan Kevin Blackwell ruled him out of that game. Blackwell said: "He might be involved on Tuesday and then go for an operation on Wednesday, at the moment we are still assessing the situation."

February 13: The much-postponed home game against Palace has been rescheduled yet again. This time the aim is to play the match at Elland Road on Tuesday 21 March with a 7.45pm start. Expect a plague of locusts and a hail of frogs to descend on the pitch with ten minutes to go before kick-off.

February 12: Michael Ricketts struck yet again for Burnley on Saturday, scoring on the stroke of half-time at Portman Road. However he still ended up on the losing side as Ipswich came back to score twice in the second half. Matthew Spring created Watford's opener for Ashley Young and Marlon King scored their second in a 4-0 hammering of Cov. Andy Keogh smashed home the opener for Scunthorpe at managerless Walsall, but the home side came back from that and again from a second goal for the visitors to share the points at 2-2. In Sunday's game, Robbie Keane gave Spurs a first-half lead at Sunderland, but the Black Cats salvaged a draw and finally took their points total into double figures.

February 11: Kevin Blackwell skated over the disappointment of his team's failure to collect all three points today and said he was happy enough with the result given the way the game had gone. He said: "Over the game we had more of it but in the second half I thought they sorted it out and worked us harder. But I thought we had two blatant penalties in the first half and sometimes you need a little break. To be fair to Derby they put in a real workmanlike display and it could have gone either way in the second half."

February 10: Kevin Blackwell says that he is after nothing less than 3 points from Derby tomorrow. Leeds haven't done that brilliantly against teams strugggling against the drop, and Blackwell says that the recent removal of Phil Brown will galvanise players and crowd: "This is a potential banana skin, since Terry Westley's taken over they've only let one goal in and they were shipping them in left, right and centre before. They made a few changes which means it will be a different proposition to the team Phil Brown left. There might be some players out to prove themselves to the potential new manager or out to show the old one they should have been playing every week. But we have been on a season long good run really because we've been consistent and we go there confident." He says that Leeds' recent form justifies his optimism: "We know we will face a heavy barrage to start with and a passionate crowd but we will weather it and move on from there. It was great to come back from Ipswich with their directors saying what a pleasure it was to see a team come to Portman Road and have a real go at them. Norwich caused them no problems whatsoever last week. So I am quietly confident we can go away from home and win anywhere."

February 09: Eirik Bakke will not be involved at the weekend after picking up yet another injury that will keep him out for a fortnight. Frazer Richardson has also suffered a setback in his recuperation, and with Robbie Blake carrying a groin injury, David Healy suspended and Rob Hulse still in pain from his hip problem, Kevin Blackwell might be forced into a few changes on Saturday. To nobody's great surprise, Seth Johnson has a knee injury and won't be available to face us.

February 08: Jermaine Wright has joined Southampton on loan for the rest of the season. After returning from his loan spell at Millwall, Wright has failed to break back into the first team at Elland Road and is now reunited with former Ipswich boss George Burley.

February 08: Gavin Rothery and Ben Parker have been selected for the England U19s for the friendly against Slovakia later this month. Rothery scored on his U19 debut against Poland and both players will be hoping to grab a place in the UEFA U19 tournament which will be held in Poland in July.

February 08: Joel Griffiths has still not received his international papers - although FIFA have formally stated that he is now a Leeds player. The midfielder was due to play in tonight's match against Wigan at South Leeds, but it sounds like it was a good game to miss. Dan Harding appeared for the first half, with Simon Walton, Rui Marques, Gylfi Einarsson, Danny Pugh and Ian Moore making up an experienced team, but neither side managed to break the deadlock on a poor pitch. The reserves are in action at Wolves next week, so that looks like being Joel's first chance to pull on a Leeds shirt - unless of course Kev decides to chuck him straight into the squad for Derby on Saturday!

February 07: Former Leeds young hopeful Gareth Evans has been forced out of the professional game at the age of just 24. Evans has been with Blackpool since August 2003, but after suffering a serious knee injury and undergoing several ops and a lengthy rehabilitation, the verdict is that his knee won't stand up to the rigours of the professional game. Manager Simon Grayson said, "It is a big blow for us. Gareth has been a big player for this club, he has been an exceptional talent, obviously he has been dogged with injuries at times and it is with sadness that I have to tell you he has to retire. He is a close personal friend of mine and I suppose that makes the news even worse. We are not sure at this stage whether his knee is up to the strains of non-league football. The lad is only 24 and all he wants to do is play football." Evans' Leeds career consisted of just two sub appearances - against 1860 Munich and Man City - in the 2000/01 season.

February 07: David Healy has been given the thumbs-up after a scan showed that he didn't have a broken bone in his foot after all. Healy limped out of the 2-0 win over QPR, and although he is suspended for the Derby game he is likely to be fit for next Tuesday's visit of high-flying Watford to Elland Road.

February 07: Joel Griffiths is finally expecting his international clearance to come through on Wednesday in time for the reserve game against Wigan. After three weeks of sitting on his hands, it seems that FIFA have finally poked Neuchatel Xamax hard enough and the paperwork will finally be signed off. Meanwhile it seems that the Aussie might have some competition for a place in midfield in the next month or so - from Steve Stone! Just as it looked as if the experienced and much-travelled player might never get the chance to pull on the shirt in a competitive match, he seems to be finally on the mend and could be pushing for a place by the start of April. Coach John Carver said: "Steve is working really well. I was chatting with him the other day and I told him he is still very important to this squad. It's been difficult for the lad because he's had set-back after set-back but he looks to be coming round now. We might get him back at the important stage of the season and what a boost that would be."

February 06: Michael Bridges was named as the League Two Player of the Month for January after scoring 4 goals - including a hat-trick against Boston for Carlisle. Bridges scored again at the weekend as Carlisle hammered five unanswered goals past Chester to move to the top of the table.Watford striker Marlon King was similarly selected for the Championship - despite only scoring the one goal himself. He celebrated his success tonight by scoring two of Watford's goals in their 1-4 demolition of Sheffield United at Bramall Lane in a win that takes Adie Boothroyd's side ahead of Leeds on goals scored. Michael Ricketts scored the only goal of the game on Saturday to give Burnley the points in their match at home to Plymouth.

February 06: David Healy's lacklustre performance on Saturday was thought to be the reason for his replacement - but it turns out he was carrying an injury and will now need a scan on his foot to determine how serious the problem is. Healy picked up a card in the previous match against Ipswich to take him to 5 for the season, so he gets a one-match rest and misses Derby anyway.

February 06: Paul Butler's recent run of goal-getting has inspired him to set a tough target of 5 goals for the season. Butler is up to three - which isn't a bad haul for a defender - but says he wants more: "I get paid to keep clean sheets and that's the priority for me but it's been a couple of years since I've scored three in a season. Now I want to push on and get five which was my target at the start of the season."

February 05: Our good friends from Down Under look set to do us another big favour by calling Joel Griffiths into their squad for this month's Asia Cup match against Bahrain. The Aussies have asked Leeds to release the player - but Leeds have yet to get international clearance, although that is expected imminiently. Griffiths could end up missing the trip to Leicester as a result, although it's hoped that an arrangement can be made that avoids such a conclusion.

February 04: Not the best performance of the season by all accounts but in the grand scheme of things, who cares? It was three more points towards the goal of a promotion slot, and at the end of the season nobody will care or remember that Richard Cresswell's first-half goal was just about the only shot we had on target all half, or that Rangers were forced to scrape the barrel through injury and suspension with 4 debutants. Leeds head coach John Carver said: "It wasn't pretty and it was a little bit scrappy. I thought we tried to play good football but took one pass too many at times. Overall though, I'm delighted with the result." Carver praised Eddie Lewis in particular: "When you've got quality players like Eddie in the side, that's often the difference between winning and losing." Rangers manager Ian Holloway wasn't devastated by the defeat - quite the contrary in fact: "I thought my Queens Park Strangers side were terrific. I've never experienced anything like that. Four of our back five were new to the side but they showed me a lot. At times we huffed and puffed a little though. The difference for me was that their chances were crisp and concise. Then halfway through the second half they bring on Rob Hulse and Robbie Blake off the bench and that just rubs salt into the wounds."

February 03: QPR have a bit of a keeper crisis ahead of tomorrow's game at Elland Road. Simon Royce picked up an injury in training yesterday and his normal backup Jake Cole has an ankle ligament injury that has yet to heal. Matthew Rose is also carrying an injury at the back, so Wolves pair Leon Clarke and Keith Lowe could get their first start of their loan spell. Also out of contention are Marc Bircham, Martin Rowlands, Tommy Doherty, Dominic Shimmin and Kevin Gallen. Kevin Blackwell has no new injury worries, although Shaun Derry has suffered from the flu this week.

February 02: The club today announced a new sponsorship deal for next season with Scandinavian outfit Modern Times Group. MTG are the majority owners of internet betting site Bet24 - and that's the name that will feature on the front of the shirt - but the TV side of MTG will give them a platform to promote the club across Scandinavia, the Baltic states and Russia. Leeds' commercial boss Simon Webster said: "This is an outstanding agreement for the club... The link up with Bet24 provides a lucrative and mutually beneficial partnership, but it is the additional support in key territories from the parent company MTG that sets this deal apart, and underlines the growing support for the re-emergence of Leeds United. It is terrific that we continue to grow a family of partners who play an important role in helping the club back to the top"

February 01: Brett Ormerod got his Preston career underway with an early strike against Palace last night - the home side going on to record a 2-0 win over our promotion rivals. JFH scored a cracker with 20 minutes to go for Boro at the Stadium of Light, giving the visitors a 0-3 victory over Mick McCarthy's doomed Sunderland. Clyde Wijnhard was on target for Macclesfield, putting them 0-1 up at Shrewsbury before they conceded a second-half equaliser to share the points. Finally in tonight's game Rio Ferdinand gifted Blackburn one of their goals and picked up two yellow cards as Man U went down 4-3 at Ewood Park.

February 01: The club have issued a plea to fans to remain seated when Leeds travel to Pride Park. The ticket allocation had been cut to 1500 from 2500 after Leeds fans have repeatedly ignored requests to sit down, but COO Shaun Harvey said that serious measures could be taken - implying a total away ban - if things didn't improve. Harvey said: "We appeal to our fans to abide by the rules and refrain from persistent standing. It has been a problem for us in the past but when we played at Reading earlier in the season there was a big improvement and we actually received a letter from Reading's Safety Officer thanking the vast majority supporters for remaining seated throughout he game and complying with the request of the stewards."

February 01: Kevin Blackwell says that Leeds deserved the point at Portman Road last night - despite the lateness of the equaliser. "The keeper pulled off two world class saves from Rob Hulse - the second one was absolutely unbelievable and we know goals change games. They got the goal and we were on top but it looked as if it just wasn't going to drop for us, it was always half a yard the wrong way, but for tenacity and perseverance I have to give the lads 110% because they kept going and in the end we looked as if we were going to win the game." Blackwell dismissed the controversy around the penalty decision: "What is disappointing for them is as a manager you keep telling players to keep their hands down, and even if he hasn't touched it he's given the referee the opportunity to give the penalty. Maybe that was the break we needed because I didn't think we were going to get anything out of the game with the form the keeper was on."

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