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Posts Tagged ‘Gary McAllister’

Debut delight for Showumni

Debut delight for Showumni

Sorry for the lack of updates of late everyone. There were two people writing the site, but it seems it has now fallen solely down to myself, and I’ve been offline since the end of last season.

Anyway, with the bitter taste of Wembley still in the mouths of every Leeds fan around the world, it was important to get off to a good start and ensure we’ll be fighting for an automatic spot come May 2009. Leeds have never faired well at Wembley, and I don’t think us die-hards could bare another season in this division, or another trip to the smog.

Luckily, Gary McAllister’s lads provided us with the victory we needed, after falling 1-0 down early on. Leeds did very little to cause a threat in the first half, but came back after the break looking like a different side. New signing Showumni scored on his league debut to level the score at 1-1 before Leeds favourite Jermaine Beckford fired on to secure all three points.

A vintage second half performance as good as Leeds have given in years will have fans feeling much more optimistic about the forthcoming season, and perhaps help to wash away the bitter aftertaste of Wembley defeat.

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Gary McAllisterOne of the more well-known Leeds United sites on the web has published two bizarre stories in the last couple of days that seem absolutely unbelievable.

The first is taken from a third party, the Sunday Mirror, who claim Dennis Wise is looking to take Leeds Uniteds key striker Jermaine Beckford to the toon in May. Seems extremely unlikey, although not totally unpheasable. This is Newcastle afterall; when it comes to transfers, no one does it quite like them.

The second one, however is what really caught my attention as it claims manager Gary McAllister has quit his post at Leeds United, a story which seems to have been completely missed by reputable news associations such as Sky and the BBC.

Originally not quite grasping the significance of today, I assumed the editor of the site had been desperately trying to find new, news (or gone completely insane) before realising to my amusement it was April Fool’s Day. Good to see the fans of Leeds United haven’t lost their sense of humour!

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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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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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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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Rui MarquesThe Daily Star – not the holy grail of truth, I know – has today reported Bolton Wanderers have joined the chase for the signature of Leeds’ influential centre-back, Rui Marques.

Rui has become a firm fans favourite at Elland Road, but his future looks uncertain with his contract set to expire at the end of the season. With Sunderland and Bolton reportedly chasing him, the temptation of top-flight football may prove too good to turn down for the Angolan international.

Gary McAllister has revealed talks with the defender have been ongoing for a couple of weeks now, but progress has been agonisingly slow. The good news for Leeds fans is that Rui is known to be settled in Leeds with his family, which may well be a decisive factor in his final decision.

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