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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


April 30: Jermaine Beckford's 20 goals this season has him topping the club's poll of fans and team-mates alike with awards for Players' Player, Fans' Player and Goal of the Season all going his way. Jonny Howson's emergence from the youth and reserve teams to become a mainstay of the first team has seen him pick up both Young Player of the Year awards, while Casper Ankergren's efforts off the field have won him the Community Award.

April 30: To the best of anyone's knowledge, Leeds (and Doncaster, Forest, Carlisle and Swansea) will find out their fate at 1700 today when the three-man arbitration panel finally announces its verdict. David Blaine gets praise for holding his breath for a few minutes? Pah! The git-wizard should try being a Leeds fan and lasting an entire season!

April 29: Striker Curtis Weston wants to play first-team football, and he's dropped a hint that that might not be with Leeds. Weston has been on loan at relegated Scunthorpe and indications are that the move could be made permanent, with Gary McAllister less than keen to hold on to one of Dennis Wise's less successful acquisitions. Weston said: "We'll see what happens. I can't be on the bench and not getting involved. I need first-team football, as much as I can get - wherever that takes me."

April 29: 800 tickets for the final league game of the season will be released to personal callers only on Wednesday morning. The tickets became available after Gillingham indicated they would not be needed by the visitors. So - last chance to be there for the promotion party! Get queuing now!!!

April 29: Jermaine Beckford is the only Leeds player to make it into the PFA League 1 team of the year despite the successes on the field.

April 27: Looks like I was wrong: Carlisle's dismal failure at Millwall this weekend means that both Forest and Doncaster might be joining the ranks of the moaners if the tribunal awards Leeds the stolen points. After losing three in a row, Carlisle have slumped from racing certainties for automatic promotion to rank outsiders, trailing Doncaster by a point and Forest on goal difference. But all of this compression at the top could be good for Leeds, since it would now only take the return of 7 of the 15 points and a win against Gillingham at the weekend to seal automatic promotion. Fingers crossed, rabbit foot stroked, breath held...

April 26: Gary McAllister's time spent persuading Dougie Freedman to come to Elland Road could turn out to be the best few hours he's given to the club. The on-loan striker popped up after just 4 minutes to score the only goal of the game at Yeovil and guarantee at least a play-off place for Leeds. Alan Sheehan didn't do much to help McAllister's play-off plans though, diving in with both feet after losing the ball and rightly earning a straight red card that will see him miss the Gillingham match and both legs of the play-off semi-final. Leeds are still missing Jermaine Beckford's finishing, and Jonathan Douglas isn't quite back to full match fitness, but the team are once again scrapping for the points when it matters. The other good thing about this result is that it silences the whining from Brighton, and now only Carlisle will have anything to moan about if the arbitration panel see sense and demolish the League's 15-point penalty.

April 24: The last game of the season at Elland Road should see the highest crowd for any Football League match this season, as the club decided to open the top deck of the East Stand for the first time in living memory, and saw the tickets disappear in record time. Gillingham haven't sold their full allocation yet, and more tickets may be made available to Leeds fans on Wednesday next week if segregation permits.

April 24: A personal hearing at the FA saw Casper Ankergren escape a ban for throwing a cigarette lighter back into the crowd at Swindon. The keeper could have found himself sitting on the sidelines for the rest of the season, but instead escaped with a GBP 750 fine.

April 19: It took a deflected shot from David Prutton after nearly 80 minutes of football, but the deadlock at the New Den was broken in the right way for Leeds, and the points were sealed with a couple of minutes left when Andy Hughes doubled the lead. So that means that only Brighton could overhaul us - and a win in either of our two remaining games will guarantee a playoff spot. Carlisle conceded a last-minute goal at home to Southend which ensured the away side's play-off spot was safe but also left Carlisle within 10 points of Leeds - and very vulnerable should the arbitration panel erase or reduce the points deduction.

April 18: So the 3 days of the arbitration panel is up, and the result is...inconclusive. The panel have promised to let us know their decision before the end of the season, which pleases nobody at all. You'd think the issues would be clear enough and simple for them to have thrashed out in the time allotted. Question 1: is the Football League allowed to impose a points penalty on a club because it is not satisfied with the way it exited (not entered) administration? Question 2: if the answer to Question 1 is yes, is 15 points a fair and reasonable punishment for the specific circumstances in which Leeds and KB found themselves? Question 3: if the answer to Question 2 is no, then what punishment should apply? And that's all there is bar reading the hundreds of pages of waters-muddying "evidence" supplied by the FL. Guess they must be slow readers...

April 15: It was ten against ten by halftime at Huddersfield with Jonathan Douglas off for a second yellow card and Jon Worthington getting a straight red for tangling with Lubo Michalik. Andy Holdsworth broke the deadlock with 15 minutes left and that was enough to seal the points. But in the grand scheme of things, not much has changed for Leeds: games against Millwall, Yeovil and Gillingham must be regarded as winnable, and Walsall are 4 points and a worse goal difference away, so a play-off place is safe. And despite tonight's defeat, restoration of the stolen 15 points will see us grab the second automatic spot from Carlisle.

April 14: Portugese winger Filipe Da Costa has hadhis contract cancelled by mutual consent and is on his way back to Portugal. The 23-year old was signed from Ionikis of Greece by Dennis Wise just before the end of the first transfer window this season, but after 6 sub appearances he blew his chance on his first start with a red card in the Johnstone's Paint game against Bury in November. Gary McAllister is obviously continuing his commitment to have a smaller, more focused squad. He said: "It's been on the cards for a wee bit now. We've tried to nurse him through three or four injuries which have disrupted his progress. But the responsibility of a manager is to pick the best team and there comes a point where you feel some of these guys are not up to the level you are looking for."

April 12: The independent tribunal to consider the validity of the Football League's 15-point penalty on Leeds for failing to exit a CVA in a satisfactory manner is finally set to take place. The hearing - which is expected to take 3 days - will commence on Wednesday 16 April, and Ken Bates and the Leeds legal team are pretty bullish about the chances of success. Bates has described the Footbal l League's latest tactics as desperate measures that are typically seen when one side knows it has no real case to argue. I guess we'll just have to wait and see....

April 12: Today's win over Carlisle means that the right result from the independent tribunal could leave us in a position to decide our own promotion fate without recourse to the playoffs. 15 points back in the bank would see us three points clear of Carlisle with a game in hand and a better goal difference. Wishful thinking....

April 12: Dougie Freedman scored twice in 20 minutes in a proverbial game of two halves at Elland Road. Carlisle had the better of the first half in terms of possession, shots and grabbed the only goal of the period after 17 minutes. Freedman grabbed the equaliser 5 minutes into the second half, before Jonny Howson put Leeds in front with a shot from inside the box just before the hour mark. The lead barely lasted a minute before Casper Ankergren spilled the ball to present former loanee Danny Graham with a simple chance to level the match. But Freedman struck again on 69 minutes as the pace of the game took its toll on the visitors and a very valuable 3 points were added to the bag.

April 10: Matt Heath's loan to Colchester will continue until the end of the season - although Gary McAllister has hedged his bets with a 24-hour recall clause should a defensive disaster occur at Elland Road.

April 08: Leon Constantine's loan spell at Oldham is coming to an end - but with just 2 goals in 7 games for John Sheridan's side it's hard to see Gary McAllister turning to him except in an emergency on the run in.

April 08: With Rui Marques' contract due to expire in the summer, the club had kicked off talks with a view to extending the deal. But to nobody's great surprise the player (and his agents) aren't keen on another season in division 3, so discussions have been halted until the summer when the success or failure of Leeds' promotion campaign will almost certainly determine the defender's club next season.

April 07: Former club captain and all-round nice guy Lucas Radebe has received recognition from an unusual source: he's being commemorated in beer! "Radebeer" from The Leeds Brewery Company will be available in pubs across the country, and as an added incentive, 10p per pint sold will go into a kitty for Gary McAllister's transfer funds.

April 06: Peter Lorimer took charge of a Leeds old boys side on Sunday in a game to raise money for the Children's Heart Surgery Fund at LGI. Players included current boss Gary McAllister and numerous faces from the 80s and 90s: Jon Newsome, Scott Sellars, Andy Ritchie, Brendan Ormsby and Neil Aspin to name but a few. The opponents were not quite from the same level, and that showed in the final score as Andy Ritchie netted 5 of Leeds' half dozen in a 1-6 victory.

April 03: Gary McAllister has been awarded a one-year rolling contract to manage the club. He originally came in on a temporary deal that ran up to the summer, but it seems he's done enough to impress Ken Bates so that even if we miss out on promotion he will still be given a chance to continue. He said: "[Promotion] is still the main objective... It's not about me and the length of my contract it's about tuning in and honing in on this play-off spot and then pushing through there." Part of the reason for his extended stay would appear to be the fact that the dressing room harmony which seemed to leave with Gus Poyet has returned - and knowing who your manager will be next week was certainly helpful for that. He said: "I would imagine if I was a player it's good to actually know where you stand. I've been very honest with every player here, it won't be a case of them coming here pre-season and another guy being here and them having to prove themselves again." Steve Staunton and Neil McDonald seem set to be offered similar deals. McAllister said that accepting the offer had been a no-brainer: "It's a show of faith from the club in me, it's a fantastic honour to be manager of Leeds United for an extended period."

April 03: Ian Westlake's loan spell at Brighton will continue to the end of the season - which rather indicates that he's not likely to be at Elland Road next season. But the player is just keen to be still in with a shout of promotion no matter who he plays for. Westlake said: "It's great news and it's exciting to be a part of the next month. All I want to do is play and the team are great."

April 02: Keeper Casper Ankergren has admitted throwing something into the crowd at Swindon after taking much stick from the home fans. He has requested a personal hearing to put his side of the case to the FA, so hopefully they'll get around to it sometime in the summer.

April 02: Alan Sheehan picked up his 10th yellow card of the season in last night's win at Doncaster, so that means he will now miss the games against Carlisle and Huddersfield. Typical: just when we think we've found a player to solve our problems we lose him again!

April 02: The reserves went down 2-1 away to Hartlepool. A fairly young side conceded a goal halfway through the first half before Tom Elliott brought them back on terms just before the break. Unfortunately Hartlepool came out and scored again and they held on to the final whistle.

April 01: An Alan Sheehan free kick after 20 minutes saw Leeds grab the points at Doncaster and get the play-off challenge back on track. We're still outside the playoff places, but a draw from the game we have in hand over Tranmere would see that change. So once again it's down to us....

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