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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


November 30: Dennis Wise is hoping to see his team turn around recent form - including a defeat atOakwell in his third match in charge - and take all the points in Saturday's relegation-zone clash with Barnsley. A win would see Leeds jump ahead of the Tykes, but defeat would widen the gap to 5 points, and Wise said: "There's a long way to go. We've got an important game on Saturday. It's a big game for us and we're looking forward to it." But Wise is happy with the way his revamped defence is working despite the results: "The way the back four played against Burnley was solid, and we looked compact as a team. I was pleased with the whole performance. Ugo and Matt Heath did fantastic. They're two very strong defenders who know what they're doing, and they didn't have too much to do. It was only the sending-off that really hurt us."

November 30: Leeds will get just 1500 tickets for the Boxing Day match at the Stadium of Light after the local safety committee decided that persistent standing by Leeds fans around the country - and on previous visits to Wearside. Leeds CEO Shaun Harvey said there was nothing that could be done: "We're disappointed by the decision, and I'm sure Sunderland will be as well. But Sunderland are being guided by their Safety Advisory Group, and I understand the club's decision. It would be fruitless for us to challenge it."

November 29: So there's another month gone - and another difficult one for you to nominate your Player of the Month. Give it a go anyway - vote here.

November 29: Dennis Wise decided that the ref rather than his team were what made the difference last night. He pointed to Hayden Foxe's dismissal, and although he didn't attempt to defend the second yellow (for handball), Wise did look at Foxe's initial card and pointed to numerous similar challenges by Burnley players that went unpunished. Wise said: "We competed well, we knew we would frustrate them and we did. Foxey made a mistake, he didn't need to do what he did and that yellow was deserved, but not the first yellow. We seemed to get booked and not them." And Wise also complained about the timekeeping - particularly since Leeds had seemed to finally realise that something could be salvaged as the 90 minute mark approached. He said: "I was disappointed with the minutes added on at the end too. You had five substitutions, a sending off, two players injured that need attention, and he puts up four minutes. How can he do that?" Wise made a point of issuing a confidence-boosting plaudit for his fragile team: "The lads worked extremely hard and believed they could get something out of it. I was pleased with whole performance. We put them under pressure and looked like nicking a goal, and edging something out of the game.I had a very disappointed group in the dressing room. I can't expect any more than what they did last night and they are disappointed."

November 29: Hayden Foxe will miss this Saturday's crucial 6-pointer against Barnsley after being dismissed last night. Ian Westlake's booking takes him to five cards for the season - so he will miss the Derby game on December 9. Jonathan Douglas will have to watch out - he's on 8 for the season and dangerously close to a second ban, and Matthew Kilgallon - absent last night through injury, being rested or getting ready to sign for another club depending on who you speak to - is also just one card away from a ban.

November 28: With a bench full of strikers and no sign of Matt Kilgallon, losing Hayden Foxe to two yellow cards was always going to make life difficult for the team - and so it proved as Burnley grabbed two goals in quick succession. Remind where their second goalscorer started... Still, at least the team fought back to grab a consolation goal - but this result takes us right back into the relegation mire and a win on the visit of fellow-strugglers Barnsley is now even more important.

November 28: Stephen McPhail will not be able to get out of tonight's red card like he did a week or so back: he clearly pushed Lee Hendrie in the face, and although Stoke's Villa loanee made a 5-course meal of it there was no real argument from Cardiff boss Dave Jones as his side slumped to a 3-0 defeat. The Bluebirds seem to be feeling the full benefit of the Ridsdale effect - long may it continue.

November 27: The latest player to see if he can turn a trial into a contract at Leeds is Trinidad and Tobago defender Avery John. The 31-year-old played in the States with New England Revolution and also had spells in South Africa and Ireland.

November 27: Reports today suggested that Hayden Foxe would be offered a longer-term deal when his initial 5-month contract runs out in January. Foxe was one of Kevin Blackwell's speculative signings, and with Dennis Wise's spree of picking up defensive loans there had been some question over his future, but now he looks set to stay for the remainder of the season at least.

November 27: It's not that long ago that away tickets were like gold dust with the mad rush of applications for a season's tickets sent off in an optimistic batch when the fixtures were released and loyalty points and lottery draws determining who got to cheer on the Whites away from home. Not any more: there are still plenty of tickets available for tomorrow's clash with Burnley, so all you have to do is turn up at Turf Moor tomorrow night with the requisite amount of folding stuff and you'll get in.

November 27: To nobody's surprise, the visit of Hull to Elland Road on December 23 will now kick off at 12 noon, in theory to reduce the likelihood of drink-related trouble. Not that anyone who wants to get beered up from early in the morning will have a problem doing so, and not that anyone who happens to fancy a bit of a ruck with our chums from the coast will be discouraged, but hey-ho, maybe pratting 20-odd thousand people around will make someone happy.

November 23: Neil Sullivan has joined Doncaster Rovers on loan until January 1 after beingtold by Dennis Wise that he had little chance of regaining his first team spot. Sullivan said: "I knew I wasn't in the picture at Leeds and Doncaster showed interest. I spoke to people and knew this was a good move." Doncaster currently only have one fit keeper and it's understood that Sullivan will initially go in as cover rather than as a starter.

November 23: Boro's former Villa - and indeed England - centreback Ugo Ehiogu has been signed on loan until January 1. Ehiogu is now 34 and has been out of contention at the Riverside since recovering from a back injury. So the big question is whether he's picked ahead of Killa or instead of the other loanee Matt Heath - or used at full-back instead with Stephen Crainey a regular target of both opposition wingers and abusive Leeds fans, and with Gary Kelly struggling to get over an injury.

November 23: After being denied the chance to pick up Dele Adebola on loan, Dennis Wise has instead moved for the top scorer in League Two, Tresor Kandol of Barnet. The 25-year-old has scored 13 times this season - including a hat-trick in last weekend's 3-2 win over Rochdale. He's had a bit of a long journey to end up at Elland Road: born in Banga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he started his career in England at Luton, leaving after making little impact in three years and ending up in non-league football with Chesham, Purfleet and Thurrock after brief spells with Cambridge and Bournemouth. A switch to Conference side Dagenham and Redbridge in May 2005 seemed to kick-start his career, and a successful loan spell at Darlington last season convinced Barnet to fork out fifty grand for his signature in last January's transfer window. So...is he the next Jermaine Beckford?

November 22: Paul Butler has gone on loan to the franchise now known as "MK Dons" (until someone decides to move them again) until January. The Division 2 outfit are currently fifth in the table and should provide Butler with a regular first team spot - which he would never have regained under Dennis Wise.

November 21: Adam Johnson has returned to Boro at the end of his month-long loan spell after Dennis Wise decided not to extend the winger's stay at Elland Road. Johnson made 4 starts and 1 substitute appearance, but failed to trouble the scorers.

November 21: Saints boss George Burley says that Leeds need to give Dennis Wise a chance to sort things out at the club despite the team's continued poor performances. Burley said: "It's a long season. Dennis has taken over the club and there's no doubt it takes time to get things right and change things round. Like a number of teams in the Championship, there have been a lot of changes. What you have to do is stick together and work hard. Leeds are a big club with great tradition and I'm sure it will come right. At the end of the day you'll be judged on your results as a manager, but he did well at Swindon and did well at Millwall, and he's got all the credentials to get things right at Leeds."

November 21: Dennis Wise's attempt to bring Dele Adebola in on loan from Coventry depends on the fitness of Cov striker Stern John. John is recovering from a knee injury, and Micky Adams is reluctant to let Adebola go out on loan until he is certain that John is ready to play regularly.

November 21: The great clear-out is set to claim its next victim: Dennis Wise has been typically honest about the prospects of Neil Sullivan getting back his starting place. Speaking to the YEP, he said: "I've told Sully that, whatever condition he's in, he's going to be third-choice goalkeeper. He should be looking to get a number one shirt and, if I'm being honest, I'm looking for a younger, more athletic goalkeeper. It's his choice, and he has to do it for himself. He can be a second here, and a really good second for me, or he can go and play in the lower divisions."

November 21: Less than 6 months after leading them to promotion, Andy Ritchie has been sacked by Barnsley. The former Leeds favorite made it clear he thought that extra money was needed to sustain the team's battle to stay in the Championship, but when they finally got around to talking about extending his own contract it became clear that the board's idea of money for the team did not match the manager's.

November 20: Dennis Wise has noted that the bottom four sides are now adrift of the rest of the division - and says that Leeds need to win promotion from this section if relegation is to be avoided. He said: "At the moment, there is a mini league between the four of us. We have to make sure we get out of this mini league and try to catch the others. We will do that through hard work. I knew the job I was taking on and that it was a hard task, but I am not afraid of it. We need to settle the ship and get some points on the board." Wise will sit the players down in front of a video nasty of Saturday's game. He added: "Too many times, Southampton broke on our corners and we were slightly in the wrong positions. We have to pick out the silly little things and show the players just how much they mean. We have to dig in deep and we have had a chat. We have a good set of lads here and they are willing to work for each other. I am pleased with the way the group are starting to come together. We will have ups and downs over the next six months. We will take them on board and get on with it. It is down to the players and they know it."

November 20: It was never going to be too long before Dennis Wise found himself in confrontation with a section of the support - and after the way some of the fans acted on Saturday he's decided that now is the time to stop being Mr Nice Guy. Wise hit out at the treatment suffered by Stephen Crainey who was booed by the crowd throughout the game. Wise said: "I did not think that was called for. Every time he touched the ball after the second goal he got booed. It was very disappointing. He does not need that, and we do not need that. So, the people who did give him stick, you need to get behind him. You need to get behind these players because they need confidence. The only way you can give them confidence is by getting behind them and not booing them when they have the ball. The last thing we want is for the crowd to affect the players. We are a group together; if you boo one of us then you boo every one of us."

November 20: Kevin Blackwell is about to take the club to court to sue over his wrongful dismissal after Ken Bates refused to negotiate a settlement using the League Managers' Association. LMA head honcho John Barnwell said: "Mr Bates has said Kevin Blackwell was not dismissed because of poor results but for negative comments made in the press about the club's finances, but having looked closely at this case we feel we have no option other than to put the matter in the hands of our lawyers."

November 19: George Burley was understandably happy as Southampton surprised themselves with a win at Elland Road. Burley said: "I feel we've been playing well away from home and not getting the results we deserve. I think we showed that we're capable of going away from home and winning games. Our problem this season's been, we've dominated so many games, had so many shots - more than anybody in The Championship - and not taken them. Some of the away defeats we've had, it's been difficult when you feel you've deserved more from them, especially for the fans." Dennis Wise reckoned that his team played better until the second goal went in - but he's waiting for the transfer window to open... He said: "They didn't believe enough that they could get back into it. We've got to make sure we pick them up and get them to start believing a bit more. We need to change the mentality a bit and let them know they're never out of the game in any situation."

November 17: Latest transfer blah: we want Saints' defender Darren Powell but they're telling us to sod off. Danny Mills is now even more unlikely to arrive after suffering a stress fracture. Martin Djetou has gone home having failed to convince Dennis Wise that he's worthy of a contract. Dennis himself confirmed that he wants to pick up Sheffield United midfielder Paul Ifill ahead of the loan deadline next Thursday. Wise said: "Paul Ifill is a player I'm looking at. He's gone on international duty to Barbados, and that is one of the reasons why we haven't brought him in. Last week we tried but he was slightly injured. Now he's gone to Barbados for 10 days so it would have been rather stupid to bring him in and waste the time. But there's a certain date we have to get him in by, and we may not be able to do it be then."

November 16: Pompey's former Liverpool and Blackburn midfielder David Thompson says he's not interested in a move away from Fratton Park despite barely getting a look-in since arriving on a free in the summer. Thompson had been linked with a move to Leeds as Dennis Wise continues to revamp the squad on a shoestring, but the player said: "I don't want to leave the club. There has been talk of me leaving but it hasn't come from my side. I don't want to get off now and be seen as a failure. I don't want this to be the first club I've ever failed at. I've always achieved things."

November 15: Latest random round of rumours - make of them what you will. Leeds to bag Pompey's Andy O'Brien on loan - although Harry Redknapp's current injury crisis makes that unlikely just yet. David Healy to Watford so he can get Premiership football...for half a season? But Jermaine Beckford isn't going anywhere: Tranmere bid to get him on loan after his return from Carlisle but it would seem that Dennis Wise plans to give him a chance to get a first-team slot at Elland Road.

November 15: Jonny Howson scored the only goal of the game as the reserves beat Brum 1-0 at York tonight. Neil Sullivan, Paul Butler, Jermaine Beckford and Seb Carole made the team look positively ancient compared to some lineups we've seen recently as Dennis Wise tries to get a handle on who is fit and in form (or to see if he can find a buyer in Paul Butler's case).

November 15: Robbie Keane scored a hat-trick against the mighty San Marino in tonight's Euro 2008 qualifier - the last game to be played at Lansdowne Road before redevelopment begins. Keane scored once in the first half, then added a penalty close to the hour and completed the treble as time was running out. The former Leeds striker has now scored 29 goals in 70 appearances for his country.

November 14: Robbie Blake has come in for more backslapping from fellow striker Ian Moore. The pair were at Burnley together and Moore said Blake's recent form was no surprise: "It doesn't surprise me how well he is doing, everyone seeing the best of him. Robbie knows he should push himself, and with the appointment of Dennis, he's really responded and he's doing well. From a forward's point of view we scored three goals and we have to build on that." And Moore says that the team desperately need to build a winning run after the false start under Dennis Wise stalled with some bad defeats: "We've got to take this into Southampton now, get three points and climb up that league."

November 13: Robbie Blake said that he was now feeling wanted after a "disinterested" start to the season. The striker said that the fact that Dennis Wise was giving him a chance to play rather than keeping him on the bench as Kevin Blackwell had done was what had made the difference. He said: "It's a nice feeling to be wanted again. When you're not playing and on the bench all the time you do think you might have to move on. But I've got a new lease of life. I've lost a bit of weight and I think [Wise] was right: it's reflected in my performances. I'm delighted to be playing and the manager's given me confidence."

November 13: Alan Wright's month-long loan spell has come to an end and he has returned to Sheffield United after playing just one game and picking up a calf injury.

November 13: Alan Smith is set to turn down moves to loan him out from Old Trafford and instead will work to build his fitness while staying at the club. Leeds and Cardiff had been mooted as possible loan destinations for the striker, but he's trying to get back into contention in Fergie's squad - or put himself in a position to switch to another Premier League side in January with Martin O'Neill said to be ready to spend some of Randy Lerner's cash when the window opens.

November 13: Former Fulham and Bolton defender Martin Djetou is currently at Thorp Arch on trial with the club as Dennis Wise continues to try to revamp the defence. The 31-year-oldhas been playing in France with FC Istres after being released by Bolton, and leeds fans might remember him for scoring the only goal of the game when Leeds went down to Fulham at Loftus Road in the dark days of Terry Venables' stewardship.

November 12: Steve Stone looks like he's going to finally give up on his struggle to get back to any sort of fitness and retire from the game. The former England international has fought against achilles and groin problems since joining Leeds in 2005. Ken Bates said: "Steve has played his last game for us. Discussions are taking place with a view to him retiring on health grounds. To be fair to the lad, he has had wretched luck with injuries, but life must move on." Best of luck to him: whatever charges may be levelled at other members of the squad who have basically not trained hard enough, Stone has been desperately unlucky with his injuries and has always been keen to repay the faith Leeds showed in signing him.

November 11: Sean Gregan marked his debut for Oldham Athletic with the opening goal in their FA Cup tie at Kettering just before half-time. By contrast the second half was a goal-fest, with the home side twice pulling level at 1-1 and 3-3 only to concede a last-minute winner.

November 11: Dennis Wise says that Robbie Blake is the club's "little gem" after the striker's brace sealed a much-needed home win over Colchester. Wise said: "He put a good shift in today - not just things he did with the ball but his general work as well. He was fantastic again... He's got so much ability. He needs confidence and he's been doing great. He finds little places that other players can't find and he can hurt teams from there. That's what we want him to do." Visiting boss Geraint Williams was less pleased with his team: "That's our worst performance of the season. The effort was there but for the first time this season we weren't quite at the races and we didn't perform. We had too many players off form today. The quality wasn't quite there and you'll get punished in this division when that happens."

November 10: Cardiff's ex-Leeds midfielder Stephen McPhail has avoided a ban for the red card he received late in the game at Colchester last weekend. The Welsh FA reviewed the video evidence and decided to overturn the ref's decision, allowing McPhail to play this weekend after all.

November 10: More Cardiff news: Fergie has agreed to loan Alan Smith to the Welsh side to give the striker regular first-team football as he continues his comeback from the horrific leg injury he suffered earlier in the year. Leeds are not due to play the Bluebirds again until February, so it looks unlikely that he will face the wrath of the Leeds fans this season.

November 10: The arrival of Matt Heath has enabled Dennis Wise to complete the job he started a couple of weeks ago by telling Paul Butler that he is no longer needed by the club at all. Heath will almost certainly start alongside Matthew Kilgallon on Saturday, and Butler will be free to follow Sean Gregan out on loan and try to find a new club in the January window.

November 10: Cardiff's bid to take Alan Smith on loan has made Dennis Wise sit up and take notice - and he says that Leeds would certainly be interested in bringing the prodigal back on loan. Wise said: "It would be a boost for the team and also for the fans of the club. He has done it at all levels, but I'm sure there will be 20 other clubs also interested in him. We'll have to wait and see." Man U are short of cover up front, so any loan would likely be a short one to enable Smith to get back up to full match fitness. The big question is, of course, how many of the people whose non-stop abuse caused Smith to give the finger to the Leeds fans at Chelsea are still attending matches? And of those, how many now have sufficient connection to reality to understand that we're so desperate for decent players that they need to put their prejudices and hatred on the shelf unless they want to be watching third division football next season?

November 09: Jermaine Beckford has returned from his loan spell at Carlisle. In his month away from the club, Beckford made five appearances, scoring one goal.

November 09: Club captain Kevin Nicholls says that he's expecting to be ready to return to the front line before the end of the month - despite worries about his susceptibility to injury after his last attempt to get his Leeds career off the ground. Nicholls said: "I am somebody who heals quickly and my recovery is going well. I am looking at being in contention for Plymouth."

November 09: Dennis Wise has bagged another loan signing to shore up the sagging defence: Matt Heath from Coventry joins on loan until the start of January. Heath said: "This is a great club with a great set-up. Thorp Arch is out of this world. I know that we're scrapping for the points at the moment, but I'm looking forward to the challenge and can't wait to get started." The 25-year-old started his career at Leicester before moving to Coventry in summer 2005, making 26 appearances last season but has only been involved sporadically this time round.

November 08: Sean Gregan today joined Oldham on a three-month loan after Dennis Wise made it clear that he did not figure in the new regime's plans for the future. Gregan joined Leeds after a long chase by Kevin Blackwell, but was clearly way short of match fitness on his arrival - and whatever else he has contributed during his time at Elland Road, that first impression has remained the most prominent for many fans. Oldham are currently managed by former Leeds favorite John Sheridan, and he will be hoping that Gregan can go straight into the side for this weekend's FA Cup tie against Kettering after Leeds indicated there would be no problem with cup-tieing the player.

November 08: Danny Mills will not come to Leeds after all: he's now set to stay on at Hull for an extended loan spell as the initial two-month deal comes to an end next weekend.

November 08: The denizens of South Yorkshire will have to drag themselves out of bed a little earlier than planned next month: Barnsley's visit to Elland Road will now kick off at noon on December 2 rather than 3pm as planned.

November 07: Dennis Wise has set his sights on bringing Danny Mills back to Elland Road according to some reports today. We're still paying his wages so he might as well come and play for us since he appears to be out of favour at Man City - but Gary Kelly has been far from the worst performer on the pitch so it's not clear whether a move for Mills would mean early retirement for the long-serving Irishman.

November 07: Nearly two years after the event, Leeds businessman Steve Parkin speaks in the press today about how he almost had a consortium together to take over the club - but Gerald Krasner refused to open the books for due diligence without seeing the colour of the money. Depending on which way you look at it this was either typical of the Krasner consortium's handling of everything at the club, or perfectly reasonable behaviour given the dubious provenance of so many other would-be saviours. Parkin also hinted at some future involvement - though with Ken Bates at the helm it's hard to see that happening anytime soon. Parkin said: "I would like to think I could put something in to enable it to thrive again."

November 07: JFH struck twice to bring Charlton from behind and then put them ahead for a second time at Saltergate - but Chesterfield battled well, including another goal for former Leeds youth player Caleb Folan and managed to scrape an equaliser in the last minute of extra time. Unfortunately another old boy then stepped up in the form of Scott Carson, saving a penalty to take the Premier League side through to the next round of the Carling Cup.

November 06: David Healy picked up his fifth booking of the season at Oakwell on Saturday, so he will be the latest squad member to miss a game through a totting-up suspension: he sits out next weekend's visit of Colchester. We're one card-happy ref away from not having a defence, with Paul Butler, Matt Kilgallon and Stephen Crainey all sitting on 4 cards for the season so far.

November 06: Dennis Wise says that he's happy to finally get a midweek run without a game as he struggles to turn around the team's plummeting form. He said: "Because of the games we haven't had the time that we would have wanted, but we have a couple of weeks now where we can really get to work with the lads. They need to know what is expected and hopefully they will take it on board." And in a damning indictment of the players and previous regime, he adds: "Normally you've done your preparation during pre-season and people know what's expected. Unfortunately, we've had a look at the fitness side and that's something we need to address too."

November 06: Leeds United Ladies are through to the semi-finals of the FA Premier League cup after beating Millwall 2-1 at the weekend. Karen Burke scored from the spot, and Sue Smith snatched the win with a goal two minutes from the end. Less good news for the U-18 side: they went down 3-0 to a Sheffield United academy side coached by former Leeds hero Scott Sellars.

November 05: It was a mixed weekend for Leeds old boys: Jonathan Woodgate deflected a shot past his own keeper early in the game as Boro slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Watford. Stephen McPhail was sent off and conceded a penalty in injury time as Cardiff went down 3-1 at Colchester. On the positive side, Aaron Lennon scored the winner for Spurs as they came back from a 0-1 deficit against Chelsea. Brett Ormerod scored for the second weekend in a row as Preston strolled to a 3-0 win over 10-man Luton (who are on a real slump since hammering us). Finally, Jamie Forrester was named League Two player of the month for October after scoring in each of his appearances - including two hat-tricks. Of course that meant that he wasn't on target at all this weekend, and Lincoln went down 2-0 at Stockport.

November 04: Dennis Wise says that his players just lack confidence after today's 3-2 defeat at Barnsley. Bouncing back from an early deficit, Leeds went into the break on a high after goals from Shaun Derry and Robbie Blake turned the game around in the minute before half-time. But after the interval Andy Ritchie's side came back to square the match and then snatch all three points with a shot from Brian Howard 15 minutes from time. Wise said: "I was well aware of the job when I came here and it doesn't faze me too much to be honest. We know it's a difficult job, and we know these players are lacking a lot of confidence. Also, we know we need some fresh faces - that's something we said all along. But at the present moment, trying to get them is very difficult... I think people know they are going to play and it becomes a difficult situation when that happens. Too many players are in a comfort zone because of that situation. e want to make some changes, and we will make some changes at some point. There will be some movement in the transfer market. If we don't make some changes now these players need to take a look at themselves, get together and dig us out of this hole because they are the players that are here at the moment."

November 03: Sean Gregan has been told by Dennis Wise that he no longer figures in his plans for the club - and he can start looking to arrange a move for the January transfer window. Wise insisted that an impending appearance-related payment to West Brom was not the reason to force the 32-year-old out: "I've spoken to Sean and if he can get a club to go on loan to, he's most welcome to do that. I had a long chat with him and gave him my opinion about what I felt. He knows the situation now." Gregan's contract is up at the end of the season anyway, but Wise is keen to clear the decks and get in players who he hopes will be around for the long-term.

November 03: Barnsley boss and former Leeds favorite Andy Ritchie says that tomorrow's match is an absolute must-win game for both sides as they struggle in the drop-zone. He said: "It's a little bit early to be talking about six-pointers, but only just. I have to make sure we come out on top tomorrow. Past loyalties and affections don't come into it - our results need to improve and we can't afford to be dropping points against teams round about us in the league." Ritchie reckons his team have not been playing badly: "At least when you're performances are crap, poor results make sense. It's more difficult psychologically if you feel like you deserve to be picking up more points. Hopefully, it will all come together tomorrow. It's a massive game for everyone involved, however you look at it." He added: "I think both ourselves and Leeds are under-achieving at the moment, and they won't want that to continue any more than we do. But the situation's simple for us tomorrow - we have to make sure we win."

November 01: Dennis Wise is set to swing the axe on the squad after witnessing his side's lucky escape from Deepdale with a 4-1 defeat that could have been much worse. Wise said: "There needs to be a lot more competition. At some stage we may need to bring fresh faces in. It's not a massive squad, and there are some players who are always going to play. It seems a little bit stale, and the body language is not strong. There are people here who are going to be staying, and people who won't be staying. I need to get my group that are going to stay, put them together and make a team - a group of lads who are capable of getting promotion." The keen but injury-prone Steve Stone is in the last year of his contract and could be released, with Sean Gregan clearly out of favour with Wise and both John Carver and Kevin Blackwell before him following. Stephen Crainey's injury problems haven't helped - but he's also no longer regarded as the number one left-back, and the procession of loan keepers arriving (and nearly arriving in the case of the lad from Charlton) doesn't say much for the club's faith in Neil Sullivan. Sam Sodje of Reading has been linked with a loan move - and that doesn't bode well for Paul Butler and maybe Hayden Foxe who is on a short-term deal. Defeat at Oakwell on Saturday would drag Leeds back into the relegation zone, and much as we love Andy Ritchie (who now manages the Tykes) we have to wish him all the worst for the weekend. Wise said he wasn't too pleased with the attitude of the players: "What was most disappointing was that when the first goal went in, I thought to myself 'we don't look like we're going to get back into this'. That worries me. Some of these players have been here a while and I need to know more about them: whether or not they're going to give me what I expect... Miracles don't work overnight."

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