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Archive for March, 2008

Georges BaIvory Coast international, Georges Ba who was recently on trial at Leeds has signed for Gillingham.

Whilst on trial at Leeds, speculation was that Gary McAllister was looking to strengthen his options upfront, following Leon Constantine’s loan move and the goal drought Jermaine Beckford was experiencing.

However, Jermaine Beckford found the net twice against Walsall last week, bringing an end to his drought and loan signing Dougie Freedman has continually impressed during his brief spell so far at Elland Road.

The reason behind McAllister’s decision not to sign the Ivory Coast international remains unclear, as Leeds have not issued any statement regarding him, but it would seem the partnership between Jermaine and Dougie satisfied the manager enough that he didn’t feel he needed to strengthen the squad further (a decision he may regret following yesterdays endless array of missed chances.)

Leeds also have plenty of backup in the striker department with Tresor Kandol, Anthony Elliot and youngster Tom Elliot all at McAllister’s disposal.

Gillingham are awaiting for international clearance for Georges Ba, but have so far handed the striker – who was a free agent – a contract until the end of the current season.

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Kevin NichollsDisgraced ex-captain, Kevin Nicholls has succumb to a double injury blow, which could keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.

It was revealed by his new club Preston, that he’d injured his cartilage during a reserve fixture and the resulting scans found an hairline fracture in the top of his tibia.

Unfortunately, the fracture isn’t thought to be serious, and may not extend the length of time he’s out.

The ex-Leeds skipper will undoubtedly be remembered as the most disgraced player to ever wear the Leeds United armband. Kevin Nicholls will find little sympathy from Leeds United fans. Some – myself included – see him as a major factor in our continued demise and will only be sorry the injury didn’t end his career, or life! (Too far, perhaps?)  

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Mark WrightLeeds United are reportedly chasing MK Dons winger, Mark Wright who’s recent form has alerted many Championship and League One teams.

The 26-year-old winger has netted an astounding 14 goals in the last 29 games since moving to MK Dons. He was released by Walsall at the end of last season, and was snapped up by the Dons manager Paul Ince.

Since then Mark Wright has been in the form of his life, repaying the faith that Paul Ince showed in him.

His form this season is even more amazing when you look into his six years at Walsall. During that time he made 107 appearences, scoring just 9 times, less than once every 12 games, but since his switch he’s been scoring at the rate of a top class striker, netting almost once in every two.

Paul Ince is determined to fight off the interest in his prize asset, and should the circumstances change, Leeds would still have to fight off interest from Crystal Palace amongst other clubs.

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Jonny HowsonA crucial six point fixture for the whites ended in a 0-0 draw following an afternoon of wasted chances from Leeds.

The final whistle was greated with mixed emotions from the two teams. Brighton were delighted they managed to earn a point at Elland Road, and their players made no effort whatsoever to hide it. Leeds’ players however weren’t in such good spirits. They knew they should have done better and were left disappointed with just one point, and a flurry of away fixtures now to come before the season draws to a close.

Leeds created chances with ease from start to finish, but the finishing just wasn’t there. Dougie Freedman saw probably the best chance of the game cleared off the line by Brighton 14 minutes in before an endless array of shots from himself, Beckford and Howson amongst others did little to trouble the Brighton keeper.

The 14th minute goal-line clearence Freedman forced was to be his best contribution of the game. Just seven minutes later Bradley Johnson’s cross fell to Freedman who this time fired wide of the post. It was an extremely good chance, and one Freedman knew he should have done better from. The rest of the game went on in a similar style with Leeds’ midfield continually creating chances for the front two, only for Becks and Freedman to be found lacking in the finishing department.

As half time approached Leeds were well and truly in the driving seat, despite Brighton managing to finally create some positive chances of their own. Jonny Howson, who it must be said gave absolutely everything he had yesterday, was just inches from opening the scoring as injury time ran out and the teams went in for the break.

The second half brought more missed chances for Leeds, and a Brighton team who were clearly gaining confidence and starting to believe they could earn more than a point at Elland Road today. 1985 was the last time Brighton won at Elland Road, but as Leeds’ nerves rose, mistakes started to be made, most notably some woeful clearences from Casper Ankergren were lucky not to have cost Leeds.

A couple of mystifying offside decisions fell in Leeds’ favour, which Brighton will undoubtedly feel annoyed about, but overall the miss of Dougie Freedman early on was indicative of a game that Leeds simply should have won.

On any other weekend Leeds’ strikers would have been scoring for fun. Tresor Kandol was brought onto the pitch late on, and also missed an absolute sitter to add to the afternoons disaster. Jonny Howson deserves special mention for the performance he gave. The youngster impressed throughout, and was extremely unlucky not to score.

Leeds’ style of play has seen a notable improvement under McAllister. They create chances, pass the ball well, and are much better to watch, but the results still seem to be escaping us. Leeds will now visit Doncaster on Tuesday for a game Gary McAllister has admitted Leeds must now win.

Final Score: Leeds United 0 Brighton 0
Attendance: 22,575

SuperLeeds.com man of the match – Jonny Howson.

I’ve gone for Jonny Howson as this weeks man of the match as the youngster gave absolutely everything he had yesterday for Leeds, and was extremely unlucky not to be rewarded with a goal. Jonny has established him as a first team regular under McAllister and his game seems to have improved every week. The future looks bright for Jonny, and I sincerely hope he spends it with Leeds United.

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Fabian Delph - Star of the future. Gary McAllister is determined to strip down the size of Leeds United’s squad to make room for the youngsters coming through the ranks.

 On joining Leeds a couple of months back, McAllister inherited a squad that by size would probably not be far off that of Barcelona or Chelsea (slight exaggeration, perhaps?), but the new gaffer has worked quickly to trim down the numbers, using the recent loan window to offload some of the players that I assume he didn’t need, or who thought required first team experience.

McAllister has already welcomed England Under-19 international, Fabian Delph and Tom Elliot into the first team training sessions since his arrival and is keen to bring more youngsters through as time goes on.

Gary insists that having so many players available for first team selection, hinders the chances of youngsters making it through and wants to move some players out so he can start to blood some of the next generation.

McAllister is a firm believer in grass roots football, and believes this will be Leeds United’s way back to the starry heights of the Premier League.

Leeds United are a club that have always prided themselves on the young players they bring through. The last generation saw stars such as Harry Kewell, Alan Smith and more recently Aaron Lennon coming through the Elland Road ranks, amongst many others and it is this legacy that Leeds will be looking to uphold as they try and build a team capable of restoring Leeds’ top flight status.

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Casper Ankergren - Super LeedsKen Bates has come out in defence of Leeds’ keeper, Casper Ankergren who is currently under investigation following an incident with Swindon fans on the 1st of March.

Casper has been charged with allegedly throwing a missile – believed to be a water bottle – at Swindon fans following last months game and has until the 1st of April to appeal.

Any penalty incurred as a result of the incident could hinder Leeds’ promotion bid, as a ban would mean Casper could miss any of Leeds’ final games.

Leeds chairman Ken Bates told how “[Casper] had to withstand a barrage of abuse all afternoon.” The FA have agreed to investigate the conduct of the Swindon fans.

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Thorpe ArchBen Parker will stay on loan with League Two side, Darlington until the end of the season, with a possible further extension should Darlington reach the play-offs.

The left-backs initial deal would have seen him return to Elland Road after this weekends fixture, but Darlington were keen to extend the deal following a successful 7 match spell with the club.

Leeds have however inserted a clause into the agreement so Ben can be recalled to the squad at any time. Presumably McAllister has added this as insurance should Leeds’ only other natural left-back, Alan Sheehan succumb to injury.

McAllister spoke highly of Ben telling how he’d like to continue Leeds’ legacy of bringing young players through the ranks and that Ben was likely to feature amongst those plans. He added that he felt the loan deal was crucial to Ben’s development as he’d like to see the defender gain first team experience.

Meanwhile, tomorrows opponents Brighton have asked Leeds for an extension on Ian Westlake’s loan deal which is set to end on the 5th of April. Ian will be illegible for tomorrows crucial six-pointer, but has established himself as a regular during his time at the club impressing boss Dick Knight, who said “Ian has done very well for us since coming on loan and obviously we are keen to extend his stay,”

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