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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


January 31: With Peterborough and Millwall losing and Oldham only managing a draw, today was a fantastic opportunity to close the gap on the play-off places and we blew it big time. Conceding a goal to Walsall after just 7 minutes, we then generally failed to put them under much pressure - and when we did their keeper was up to the task. Jermaine Beckford was subbed just before the hour mark and didn't seem that happy - some saw a "gesture" towards the travelling Leeds fans, but no striking combination was going to unlock the opposition today and instead of being a point off a promotion spot, we're now just a point ahead Stockport and with Tranmere, Huddersfield and Colchester in close pursuit.

January 30: Tresor Kandol has returned to South London - but this time has landed at Charlton on loan for the rest of the season. Kandol spent the first half of the season on loan at Millwall, scoring a creditable 8 goals in 16 starts and will now have the chance to prove himself at a higher level.

January 29: Malcolm Christie has been released by the club - presumably because Simon Grayson thinks we have enough of a threat up front with Beckford and Snodgrass back from injury, Becchio (if he finds his early season form) and the on-loan Lee Trundle. Christie has been at the club for just over three months, scoring once in five appearances.

January 27: It was to be hoped that Southend wouldn't prove too taxing as opponents - and so it was. Which is not to take any credit away from Leeds' performance, but they looked like a team that has not had a win for a couple of months Anf for one we actually scored FROM a free kick rather than conceding from the same - so all-in-all, some very positive changes from Simon Grayson. Jermaine Beckford was in the starting line-up as he continues to regain match fitness, but otherwise the squad was largely the same as Saturday's. Rui Marques opened the scoring on 6 minutes, heading home a Johnson corner. Five minutes later, Richard Naylor doubled the advantage with a header of his own from a well-planned corner - and the game was in the bag. With three of the four play-off placeholders winning (Oldham lost to fellow challengers Scunthorpe), we're not gaining much ground - but we're not falling back and ensuring that we're ready to take advantage when the others slip up.

January 27: Young striker Tom Elliott has joined Macclesfield Town on a month-long loan. Elliott picked up a hamstring injury recently and hasn't looked like breaking into the first team squad at Elland Road this season.

January 27: Paul Huntington has suffered a setback as he recovered from a groin problem that has kept him out of the squad since September. Simon Grayson said: "He was recovering and had a week's training with us again but had a setback so he's now undergone surgery and will be out for a couple of months again."

January 25: Jermaine Beckford is still short of match fitness and sharpness, so started the game on the bench. Neither side scored for an hour, and Luciano Becchio was labouring a bit up front for Leeds, so on comes the man, bundles home the ball from a rebound from a free kick and we're on the way. Another 10 minutes go by and it's a brace for Beckford as he latched on to an excellent pass from Lee Trundle and beat the keeper from 15 yards. Peterborough came back with a goal shortly afterwards but Simon Grayson's newly-energised team held on until Jonny Howson sealed the points in injury time. As well as the returning goal-hero, many plaudits for captain-for-the-day Richard Naylor who defended well and motivated and organised the rest of the defence brilliantly. Before the match, Posh boss Darren Ferguson said he was hoping to take something away from Elland Road because Leeds were the sort of team that could put a run together and challenge the current holders of the play-off spots: a few more games like this and that prediction will be coming true.

January 22: Mansour Assoumani might not have cut the mustard for Simon Grayson, but he's getting a second chance to carve out a career in England as he joins Crewe for a trial.

January 21: 21-year-old US youth international Mike Grella scored a hat-trick for the reserves in their 4-0 win over Barnsley on Tuesday night. Grella was drafted to Toronto in the MLS but is hoping to win a contract in Europe and can have done his case no harm with his haul. Reserves boss Neil Thompson said: "That's all you can do as a striker. He was tidy around the ball and his finishing was good. He's still a young lad. He's showed a good attitude in training, but strikers are there to score goals and he did that."

January 20: Young midfield star Fabian Delph was up before the beak today on a drink-drive charge after being stopped and found to be over the limit at Christmas. The 19-year-old was arrested in Rothwell on December 23 and will be back in court to answer the charge on 27 January.

January 19: Captain Frazer Richardson could be out for a spell with a thigh injury after picking up a strain at Brighton on Saturday. Simon Grayson said: "It's a shame because he was playing well. Hopefully it should settle down and he won't be out for too long. But at least we have cover for him now." Richardson will be competing for space on the treatment table with Robert Snodgrass and Jermaine Beckford who were absent from the south coast victory with ankle and hamstring problems respectively.

January 17: Mansour Assoumani has been released by the club after a one-month stay. The French defender only made one appearance for the club - in the 3-1 defeat at MK Dons, and with the loan arrival of Richard Naylor and Carl Dickinson, the one thing Simon Grayson doesn't need is another defender who isn't adding anything significant to the squad.

January 17: Luciano Becchio blew an early chance to put Leeds in front when he failed to convert a penalty awarded when he himself had been brought down. But after the break, Lee Trundle scored his first proper goal for the club just past the hour, and the points were made safe when Fabian Delph hit a cracker with less than 10 minutes to go. Bit of a scrappy game, but new signings Naylor and Dickinson looked solid in defence. Unfortunately this doesn't do that much for our promotion prospects: still effectively 6 points off a play-off spot. But if we peg back Peterborough when they visit next week, the next three games should be eminently winnable and could see Leeds enter February on a real roll.

January 15: Two of Simon Grayson's transfer window targets have been reeled in today. Former Leeds City Schoolboy Richard Naylor arrives on loan from Ipswich - initially until February 19 as Grayson seeks to tighten up the defence. The 31-year-old said: "The gaffer at Ipswich rang me and told me about Leeds. I'm not sure he would have said anything if it hadn't been Leeds, but he knows about my background and what I think about the club. I was made up when he told me... It was still a big decision - I think it took me 10 seconds! I've still got some family and friends up here, and they are as pleased as me." Alongside the experience of Naylor, the youthful talent of 21-year-old Stoke defender Carl Dickinson has also been added to the ranks. Dickinson came through the academy at Derby before joining Stoke - and fitted in a loan spell at Blackpool 2 years ago where he obviously impressed Simon Grayson. Dickinson hasn't seen much first team action since Stoke were promoted to the Premier League but could prove to be a very useful addition to the squad in the third division.

January 15: Ken Bates has revealed that the club has already turned down two approaches from Premier League clubs wanted the highly-rated youngster to jump ship. Bates said: "We don't want to sell Fabian. He's happy and we're happy Fabian stays. Unless something unexpected and out of the blue happens, which we can't forecast, we want him to take us back into the Premier League." And Bates had an inevitable dig at the bidders: "We explained to both clubs that we don't deal in petty cash and they were Premiership clubs as well."

January 14: The absence of Enoch Showunmi from the squad was explained when the club announced that he'd suffered a clot on his lung just before Christmas. The striker has recovered from that particular problem, but is under observation and will not be available for first team selection for the foreseeable future. The club - and I'm sure all of the supporters - wish Enoch all the best.

January 13: Lee Trundle scored his first (unofficial) goal for the club in a private training match against Darlington at Thorp Arch on Tuesday. The on-loan striker headed in a cross from Malcolm Christie as both sides fielded strong line-ups in the first half to give a few players a little more match practice and to enable Simon Grayson to get a better view of what he has available to him. Darlington equalised just before the end of the match through former Leeds winger Seb Carole.

January 10: It wasn't quite the sort of thing that small children and the easily-offended should be kept away from, but it was a double-ex performance at Elland Road today as Danny Graham and Michael Bridges were both on target to hand Simon Grayson his first defeat as Leeds boss and push the team down to 10th place. Graham started the ball rolling when he turned in a cross on 26 minutes, and 10 minutes later set up Michael Bridges after a defensive mix-up. Leeds did have a couple of chances, with Becchio hitting the post, but even the introduction of new boy Lee Trundle for the last half hour couldn't grab a lifeline, and although we're only 6 (realistically given goal difference) points off a playoff spot, we're going to have to battle and claw our way past 4 other clubs to grab it, and right now I'd be forced to say that it might be just beyond our reach this season unless the defensive lapses end and Jermaine Beckford regains full match fitness.

January 09: Notable lard-arsed goalscorer Lee Trundle has arrived on loan from Bristol City for a month. The 32-year-old marksman had his most prolific spell at Swansea before switching to Bristol City in 2007 for a cool million. Simon Grayson said: "Lee is a proven goal scorer. He brings something a bit different, and he has a great track record. It's good competition for places and he is a good acquisition to the squad."

January 09: Simon Grayson says that he'll be strengthening the backroom squad shortly with a new coach who will work alongside Ian Miller. Grayson didn't name names, but said: "The person I am trying to bring in has been working at a Premier League club who have just changed manager. He is on gardening leave currently trying to sort his money out with them and then he'll join us. We've agreed everything in principle with him. It's just basically him getting the money from the club that currently employs him but he isn't actually working there at the moment. He's worked at two or three Premier League clubs in the past and I wouldn't be bringing him here if I didn't think he'd be a big acquisition to us." Given the gardening leave hint, could we be talking about a return to the club for Glyn Snodin - who has been attending to matters horticultural along with another all-time Elland Road great Mervyn Day since West Ham kicked out Alan Curbishley and his team?

January 07: Andy Robinson says he has no regrets about walking away from Swansea, despite finding himself on the fringes of the Leeds first team while his former team-mates are enjoying mid-table safety one division higher. He said: "It's easy for people to point the finger at me and say I took the wrong decision but I don't think I did. This season isn't over by a long shot and I still hope we'll have a silver lining at the end of it...I want to play in the Championship and I gave up that opportunity this season by coming to Leeds, but no-one can come to a club of this size and stature and say it's the wrong move." And Robinson reckons that promotion is still a possibility despite the slump that saw Gary McAllister shown the door: "I know people are being negative about our league position but we're not out of the running for anything yet, as long as we realise we've got no time to waste. I'm not denying we've given ourselves a hell of a challenge, but I'm confident that we're through the worst and I'm confident that this season will end the way we want it to end."

January 07: Tresor Kandol is keen to stay at Millwall - where he faces less competition for a place and where he's been pretty successful, scoring 8 goals this season. Millwall boss Kenny Jackett wants Kandol to stay - but isn't indicating whether a further loan spell or the Lions actually forking out a bit of cash would be the way forward. On the old-boy front, Geoff Horsfield has joined Lincoln until the end of the season, after (hopefully) winning his battle against cancer, and he will be joined by Anthony Elding, on loan from Crewe where he has had a less than stellar season. Alan Smith is still short of fitness, but that isn't stopping the rumour mill from linking him with Everton and Sunderland. Sunderland could be losing David Healy (to no great sorrow admittedly) to Rangers, who are expecting to need a replacement for striker Kris Boyd although Boyd's switch now looks uncertain, and Healy's agent insists that he knows nothing. Carlisle have turned down a bid for one-time Leeds loanee and their current top scorer Danny Graham - Huddersfield are said to have bid a quarter of a million for the striker.

January 06: The Hereford match has been rescheduled - needless to say not to a Saturday. The game will be played on Tuesday 17 February with a 7:45pm kick-off. Fans who are unable to attend the new date have until next Tuesday to return their tickets for a refund.

January 06: A very strong reserve team left it late to beat Bradford at Elland Road on Tuesday night. Lucas, Telfer, Kilkenny and Howson were just a few of the names on show, alongside Malcolm Christie as he tries to regain full fitness and Bradley Johnson who is now back in the squad after a loan spell at Brighton.In the end it was a less well-known name - Chris Ovington - who made the difference, scoring with two minutes left on the clock.

January 03: The match at Edgar Street has been postponed due to a frozen pitch - no new date has been set for the fixture so far.

January 02: Simon Grayson says that he's not worried about the opening of the transfer window, despite the rumours linking several top-flight clubs to Fabian Delph. Manchester United are said to be offering 6 million plus a couple of half-decent youngsters on loan, with Fulham, Newcastle and Sunderland also sniffing around. But the manager said: "I'm aware there is a lot of interest in the player, but I don't have to sell him at all... I must reiterate he is not for sale, we are not in a position where we have to sell players." Grayson hedged his position slightly, saying: "Unless it's a ridiculous offer for him we won't even consider selling him. The player is happy here, he's playing first team football. He'll benefit greatly from actually playing first team football here." Grayson added that he was looking to bring in some new players and that Ken Bates had promised that there would be money to spend. He said: "I know the areas we need to strengthen and we are working hard to get the players in as quickly as possible."

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