Friday, January 30, 2015

Leeds United: Whites ponder challenge to Cellino’s ban

Yorkshire Evening Post 30/1/15
The possibility of Massimo Cellino challenging his Football League disqualification is still “under review”, according to Leeds United chairman Andrew Umbers.
Umbers said the Italian – banned from running Leeds until April 10 – was continuing to look at ways of challenging his punishment having lost an appeal against the Football League last week.
A three-man Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) upheld the Football League’s view that Cellino was in breach of its Owner and Directors Test following his conviction for tax evasion in Italy last March.
The 58-year-old subsequently resigned as a Leeds director seven days ago and is beginning a 79-day suspension in which he is barred from exerting any control over United’s day-to-day operations. His ban ends on April 10.
Cellino, however, could look to mount a fresh challenge by asking for arbitration with the Football Association under Rule K of the governing body’s regulations.
His legal team are also investigating other legal avenues.
Umbers, who took up the role of chairman at Elland Road in the wake of Cellino’s ban, said: “All further legal representations to the Football League are under review.”
In the meantime, Cellino is complying with his disqualification and has been absent from Elland Road for past week.
Speaking 10 days ago, Cellino told the YEP: “In April, finito, I’ll come back.”

Leeds United: Cellino will return - Umbers

Yorkshire Evening Post 29/1/15
by Phil Hay
New Leeds United chairman Andrew Umbers said Massimo Cellino would remain as the club’s long-term owner at the end of his disqualification as he spelled out what he called a “dramatically improving” financial situation at Elland Road.
In his first interview since his appointment as the head of United’s board, Umbers told the YEP that Cellino would return to the club as planned when his Football League ban ends on April 10 and said the option of selling Leeds had not been raised prior to the Italian’s resignation as president.
Cellino stepped down from the board at Elland Road last week, beginning a 79-day ban imposed on him by the Football League following his conviction for tax evasion in Italy 10 months ago.
The 58-year-old was found guilty of failing to pay import duty on a private yacht, a crime which breached the Football League’s Owners and Directors Test.
Cellino has other court cases pending and media reports in Sardinia say he is due to stand trial on April 14 over allegations that he avoided VAT due on a Range Rover. A guilty verdict in that case could result in another Football League ban.
The risk to Cellino, whose firm Eleonora Sport Limited bought a 75 per cent stake in Leeds last April, of further suspensions raised the question of whether the Italian would feel compelled to relinquish control of United permanently, a suggestion he dismissed after failing with an appeal against the Football League’s ruling.
Asked whether Cellino could stay as Leeds’ owner in the long term, Umbers said: “I’m not a lawyer but the answer is yes. He’s back on April 10 and he’ll be running this football club. At the moment he has no day-to-day role.
“He’s decided to take his punishment. He doesn’t want the club to be disrespected in the Football League, as has been the case in the past, and we have to turn over a new leaf. However hurtful that is, he’s taken the responsible attitude. He’ll serve his penance and come back.
“Massimo has moved to Leeds (from Miami), his family are here and he’s put his daughter into university. He’s passionate about football and he’s enthusiastic, unorthodox, emotional. He’s got football at heart and Leeds at heart.
“In my experience, Leeds United could not want for a better owner or one who’s more capable of facing the financial issues we’ve faced in the past nine months.”
Umbers worked as an advisor to Cellino following Cellino’s takeover of Leeds and he took a seat on the club’s board last month. Cellino named him as chairman last Friday after quitting as a director.
“It’s a privileged position,” Umbers said. “I have complete jurisdiction across the board on everything. I answer to the board of directors.
“The governance of Leeds United is good and sound and completely in obeyence of Football League rules.”
Yorkshire-born Umbers - the man who helped push through the sale of Leeds by Ken Bates to Gulf Finance House in 2012 - has worked as a financier for over 30 years.
The 50-year-old said: “For the last three years my background has basically been in all sorts of the sports industry, in all sorts of matters - providing capital, finding capital, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions.
“I’m a Yorkshireman, my family have been involved at Yorkshire Cricket Club, we had a brewery in Barnsley and I’m a Leeds United fan. I went to my first game when I was seven, one-all against Crystal Palace.
“My involvement is to work day-to-day for the next 70 days and after that, when Massimo returns, to work as we’ve been doing before to complete the restructuring and our business plan. We’ve achieved a lot in a very short space of time.”

Leeds United: Sport Capital sues GFH for £33m over failed Leeds takeover bid

Yorkshire Evening Post 29/1/15
by Phil Hay
Sport Capital, the BVI-based company which failed with a bid to buy Leeds United last year, has launched a £33m claim for damages against Gulf Finance House over the collapse of its deal.
Sport Capital claims GFH and the bank’s private equity arm, GFH Capital, breached the terms of a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) reached between them, causing the proposed takeover to fail.
The Sport Capital group - a consortium featuring ex-Leeds managing director David Haigh and Andrew Flowers, MD of United shirt sponsor Enterprise Insurance - spent almost three months attempting to push the buy-out through but saw the deal fall apart in January 2014.
The failure of that bid cleared the way for current owner Massimo Cellino to agree the purchase a 75 per cent stake in Leeds in early February.
GFH, which took control of United in 2012 after securing a 100 per cent stake from Ken Bates, retained control of a 25 per cent share after Cellino’s takeover and is still a minority shareholder at Elland Road
Sport Capital accuses GFH of breaking the terms of the SPA by negotiating the sale of United to Cellino and the Italian’s UK firm, Eleonora Sport Limited.
In a statement issued today, Sport Capital also claims that GFH attempted to sell the Yorkshire club to Khaled Al-Baltan, who was president of Al Shabab football club in Saudi Arabia.
The action is being taken by Sport Capital Limited, a company based in the British Virgin Islands. The firm is understood to be controlled by Haigh.
Flowers and Haigh, who has been under arrest in Dubai since May of last year over allegations of financial wrongdoing made against him by GFH, were the two public faces of the doomed Sport Capital offer.
Today’s statement said Cellino was also involved with that bid, along with Terry Riley, the owner of the Ascot Property Group.
Sport Capital’s statement read: “The SPA provided for Sport Capital to fund the working capital of the club throughout the term of the SPA, which they did.
“The SPA also specifically prevented GFH from entering any negotiations or discussions with any other parties regarding the sale of Leeds United shares.
“The legal action against GFH states that the exclusivity of the SPA was breached by GFH which continued to pursue the sale of Leeds United to third parties including Mr Khaled Al-Baltan, then the president of the Al Shabab Football Club in Saudi Arabia.
“It further claims that GFH’s separate negotiations with Massimo Cellino and Eleanora Sport Ltd were in breach of the agreement.”
Flowers denied any involvement in the legal claim, telling the YEP: “The Sport Capital claim is absolutely nothing to do with me. I’m not involved at all.
“Any control I had of the company went back to David Haigh after the takeover ended. I believe it’s 100 per cent owned by him.”
Sport Capital’s £33m claim has been lodged with the High Court in London and a spokesman said the firm was seeking to have GFH Capital’s English assets frozen.
“We expect GFH to attempt to evade service of the claim from their Dubai HQ which will mean ultimately we have to serve this claim on them through diplomatic channels,” a spokesman said.
“Our contention is that the actions of GFH and specifically of (GFH chief executive) Hisham Alrayes delayed and then destroyed the Sport Capital deal.
“This was a deal which would have ensured a sustainable and successful future for the club and that included the almost immediate purchase of Elland Road, the terms of which had been agreed.”
The court claim the latest in a long line of exchanges involving Haigh and GFH, exchanges which followed the bitter end of the Bahraini bank’s time as owner of United.
Haigh was imprisoned after GFH accused him of defrauding the bank of around £3m during his time as deputy CEO of GFH Capital.
The 37-year-old quit that post in February of last year but was arrested at GFH Capital’s offices three months later after flying to Dubai to discuss a job offer from the firm. He denies all allegations against him.
Haigh was a director of Leeds for the duration of GFH’s time as owner, taking on the role of managing director in July 2013, but he quit that post shortly after Cellino’s takeover following an admission from the Italian that he intended to sack him.
GFH responded by saying: “The latest press release issued by Sport Capital looks like an attempt to divert attention from the allegations against Mr Haigh which are being heard in the Dubai courts.
“He and Sport Capital appear to have commenced cases in London although we have not been served with any papers.
“As Mr Haigh is facing criminal and civil proceedings in Dubai we do not want to say anything which would jeapordise any proceedings.
“We will be happy to comment further when we are able to do so, but until then we think that the courts, not the media, are where disputes should be resolved.”
Shortly after Sport Capital’s takeover collapsed, Haigh was quoted as saying: “As fans know, we signed a share acquisition agreement with GFH Capital at the end of last year.
“Sadly, some of the consortium’s backers ultimately didn’t feel able to deliver the backing we had hoped was agreed to take the club forward.
“I have met many, many potential investors over the past year and, sadly, while many are keen to talk the talk, they have been unable or unwilling to deliver in financial terms.
“Nevertheless, these talks continue with a number of parties to seek the best possible outcome for Leeds United.”

Leeds United: Austin’s ‘not for sale, at all costs’ - Redfearn

Yorkshire Post 29/1/15
NEIL Redfearn insists rumoured Wigan target Rudy Austin will not be leaving Leeds United declaring: “he’s not for sale, at all costs.”
Wigan have been linked with a double swoop for both midfielder Austin and centre-back Jason Pearce and Redfearn confirmed on Thursday that Pearce had not trained with Leeds and hinted that his departure could be imminent.
However, United’s head coach passionately declared it would be a bad move to sell Austin, stating the Jamaican had a key role to play in both holding his place in the United first team while also helping with the development of young stars such as Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt, Charlie Taylor and Sam Byram.
An improving United return to action on Saturday at Championship rivals Huddersfield Town and Redfearn said: “Obviously I want to try and keep our better players and for me these are the sort of players that are going to benefit us for years to come.
“We’ve got a young squad and the good seniors we need to keep.
“Rudy has been in the side and, for me, he is not for sale, at all costs.
“We want to try and keep Rudy because you look at your Cooks and your Taylors and your Byrams and your Mowatts and you need your Rudy Austins in there to give them that lift and give them that experience.
“The point of the matter is if we are climbing and we are building then you keep your better players and you add better players to it.
“You don’t let your better players go, simple as.”
Asked if Pearce was heading for Wigan, Redfearn admitted: “Perhaps. Obviously Wigan have shown a great interest in Jason and it might be that that’s the case.”

Leeds United: Wigan Athletic close in on Pearce

Yorkshire Evening Post 28/1/15
by Phil Hay
Jason Pearce was closing in on a move to Wigan Athletic last night with the Lancashire club refusing to give up on their pursuit of the Leeds United defender.
Leeds appear ready to sell Pearce to a team in the thick of the Championship’s relegation fight following fresh discussions between the clubs in the past 24 hours.
Wigan made an initial approach for the 26-year-old last week following the arrival at Elland Road of centre-back and new signing Sol Bamba.
United head coach Neil Redfearn was understood to be keen to retain Pearce despite the recruitment of Bamba on loan from Palermo, with fellow defender Giuseppe Bellusci beginning a two-match ban this weekend.
Bellusci will also be hit by a far longer suspension if a charge of misconduct brought against him by the Football Association is upheld.
The Italian is accused of racially abusing Norwich City striker Cameron Jerome during a game at Carrow Road in October and faces a minimum five-game ban. He denies the charge.
Bamba, the former Leicester City player, is set to replace Bellusci and make his Leeds debut at Huddersfield Town on Saturday, partnering captain Liam Cooper at centre-back.
Pearce looked likely to feature on the bench having lost his place in United’s line-up. And Pearce, who was replaced as club captain at the end of November, is understood to have been told by club owner Massimo Cellino – currently disqualified from running Leeds by the Football League – that United would listen to offers for him during the January transfer window.
Leeds have cover at centre-back in the form youngsters Scott Wootton and Dario Del Fabro but Pearce is the leading appearance-maker in the senior squad.
The former Portsmouth player has featured 112 times since joining the club in a £500,000 deal in 2012. He has 18 months left on his contract and United are holding out for a six-figure fee from Wigan.
United are also continuing to look for further signings as Monday’s transfer deadline approaches. Catania striker Edgar Cani and Sassuolo forward Leonardo Pavoletti are long-term targets while Leeds are also thought to be interested in Millwall’s Martyn Woolford and Rotherham United’s Ben Pringle.
United, meanwhile, have made a new appointment to their board following Cellino’s resignation as club president last Friday. Giampaolo Caboni, a 61-year-old who worked with Cellino at Serie A side Cagliari, was confirmed as a director by Companies House yesterday.
Caboni is also a director of Eleonora Immobiliare, an Italian firm which acts as parent company for Eleonora Sport Ltd. Eleonora Sport Ltd was used by Cellino to buy a 75 per cent stake in Leeds last April.

Leeds United: Fans group target bid for GFH shares

Yorkshire Evening Post 28/1/15
by Phil Hay
Newly-rebranded Leeds Fans LLP are aiming to raise £10m by inviting fans to buy £100 stakes with the ultimate target of taking over Gulf Finance House’s stake in Leeds United. Phil Hay reports.
Supporter-held stakes in English football clubs are relatively rare and inevitably hard-earned but the path leading to investment of that type always starts somewhere.
A movement which is gathering pace in Leeds began with a small gathering of 15 fans on December 22. Last Saturday, a second meeting at the Leeds Sports Centre attracted 200 supporters in person and drew 500 more to an online broadcast of the event. The plan at the heart of this is simple in theory and highly ambitious in nature: to raise £10m and purchase a minority shareholding in Leeds United.
At the outset, the group behind the fledgling scheme took on the title ‘Together Leeds’, the name of the consortium led by Mike Farnan who tried and failed to buy United around Christmas in 2013. Farnan – the former Sunderland, Sheffield United and Manchester United International employee – passed the name on last month, along with a Twitter account with 5,000 users.
This week, Together Leeds has been rebranded as Leeds Fans LLP, a limited liability partnership which will invite supporters to become partners of the group by purchasing £100 stakes. A total of 100,000 stakes are being created and individual fans will be able to buy a maximum of 1,000 at a cost of £100,000. Each stake carries one vote.
“It’s a way of making sure the scheme is inclusive,” said Dylan Thwaites, the businessman fronting the project. “We don’t want a situation where one supporter puts in £5m and effectively controls everything. That’s not the point of this. We want as many supporters involved as possible. It’s no good simply giving authority to the richest person in the room.”
Thwaites anticipates that Leeds Fans LLP will begin selling stakes next month. The group has no set timescale for fundraising but it has a fixed target for future investment: the 25 per cent stake in Leeds controlled by the club’s former owner Gulf Finance House.
GFH has managed a minority shareholding since it sold 75 per cent of United to Massimo Cellino last April. The Bahraini bank owns around 10 per cent itself and looks after smaller stakes belonging to Bahrain’s Islamic Investment Bank (IIB) and ex-Leeds chairman Salah Nooruddin. Its equity entitles it to two seats on the club’s board.
GFH’s record at Elland Road is chequered to say the least. As owner it ran up substantial losses during 16 months in charge. Since selling Leeds to Cellino, the bank has been a cause of irritation for the Italian and their relationship frayed amid disagreements over loan repayments and capital injections. GFH has little or no credibility among United’s fanbase but opinion over Cellino is more divided, as Thwaites found at the initial Together Leeds meeting in December.
“We’re targeting the non-Cellino stake because that seems to us to be the poisonous element,” he said. “What we don’t want to do is create is another faction.
“At the first meeting there were pro-Cellino fans, anti-Cellino fans and fans who were fairly ambivalent about him. It doesn’t help us to split the fanbase. What we all agree on is that it’s in the club’s best interest for GFH to go.
“GFH only seem to be creating hurdles and obstacles. They don’t seem to be contributing anything. By our calculations they’ve probably made a profit on their original takeover so selling to us would be a financial bonus.”
As an organisation, Leeds Fans LLP has not been in touch with GFH about the possibility. It has not spoken to Cellino to gauge his enthusiasm for supporter investment either.
“We’re still in the process of finalising the Leeds Fans set-up,” Thwaites said. “It would have been inappropriate and unprofessional to approach anyone before everything was in place and the group had the authority to do so.”
GFH was asked if it was open to the idea of selling shares to fans and in a statement, GFH Capital CEO Jinesh Patel said: “GFH is well aware of the (Together Leeds) group.
“As things stand, GFH has no plans to sell its holding. It remains committed to support the best interests of the club, as demonstrated by the fact that it has recently injected a further £5m.”
Leeds Fans LLP will be managed by a board of seven executives. Thwaites - a 49-year-old entrepeneur who lives in Huddersfield and sold his marketing business Latitude for £55m in 2007 - will be one of the seven and has agreed to head the project. Farnan attended both meetings but does not intend to be part of the executive board.
“This isn’t a vehicle for specific individuals,” Thwaites said. “Mike will help us with contacts and advice but he won’t be an executive. All of the executives will be other Leeds fans.”
Thwaites said that on the back of Saturday’s meeting - a meeting which included a speech from former Leeds striker Allan Clarke - around 100 supporters came forward to offer what he called “specific skill sets” - marketing and PR expertise and experience in fundraising. The group plan to allocate each board executive a ‘shadow network’ of qualified fans to help the investment scheme to grow.
Their plan is not free of some major challenges. The most significant are the terms of the Share Purchase Agreement reached between GFH and Cellino last year. The document expressly states that Cellino must have first refusal on any shares which another stakeholder tries to sell. In simple terms, if Leeds Fans LLP successfully negotiate a deal with GFH, Cellino has 45 days in which to take up that deal himself. The 58-year-old is currently banned from running United by the Football League but that suspension ends in little over two months’ time; too small a window realistically for a supporter-funded investment offer to materialise.
The initial target of Leeds Fans LLP could ultimately be Nooruddin. The businessman is believed to be keen to part with his minority stake and last January, as Cellino’s takeover drew close, a relative of his contacted the Leeds United Supporters Trust (LUST) offering to discuss the sale of shares.
“There are all kinds of possibilities and potential difficulties,” Thwaites said. “We’re very honest about that.
“It’s true that Cellino does have the right to buy the shares first, though it would leave a bit of a sour taste if we agreed a deal and he bought them. But even so, I still think we’d be in a far better position than we are now if Cellino owned 100 per cent of the club.”
Thwaites’ view and that of others around him is that raising funds for investment in Leeds is a logical strategy regardless. “If we have £5m or £10m behind us, it means that as supporters we’re ready to mobilise if an opportunity presents itself,” he said. “In the event of shares becoming available or, God forbid, a situation like administration arising, we’ll be in position and not starting from scratch.”
Thwaites said that all money raised from the sale of stakes would be held securely and transparently in a UK bank account. “Really, I want a level of transparency where every single transaction the group completes is detailed and explained to our partners,” he said. “There will be costs but at this stage they’ll be minor - setting up a website and so on. I’d like to think that if we raise enough money, the interest on the funds will cover those costs.”
The probability of the scheme amassing £10m is difficult to gauge. Thwaites said the highest total raised by fans of an individual club was around £3m by FC United of Manchester. “I’d like to think we could do better than that,” he said.
“I look at it like this: for the Doncaster play-off final (in 2008), 75,000 Leeds fans applied for tickets. The outlay on the day for travel, tickets and everything else must have been about £200 a head. That’s the equivalent of £15m on one play-off final, on one game involving the club.
“We asked the question of the first 50 people who signed up for the second meeting ‘how much would you pledge?’ The total came to about £250,000. Obviously we’d have to get the pledges in practice but I honestly think the idea of raising £5m-plus is realistic.”
The group’s motivation comes back to one thing: that in all the years of crisis and stagnation at Elland Road, United’s support has been the only constant and credible feature. “Leeds are a family club but the biggest and most loyal section of that family doesn’t have a voice,” Thwaites said. “We can’t influence the club. Not properly.
“We have to accept that no-one is going to charitably give us a voice. We’ve got to stand up and get to a position where we can get one for ourselves. Part of the crux of making Leeds successful is mobilising the fanbase and no-one at the club has succeeded in going that for 10, 12 years now. This is a way of changing that.”

NEW ITALIAN DIRECTOR JOINS LEEDS UNITED BOARD

Insider Media 28/1/15
An Italian executive, who worked with Massimo Cellino when he owned Serie A side Cagliari, has been appointed as a Leeds United director in the latest change to the club's boardroom make-up.
Documentation relating to the appointment of Giampaolo Caboni, 61, was filed with Companies House at the same time as a director termination notice for Cellino, who is temporarily stepping down as president in accordance with his Football League ban.
Earlier this month (January), financier Andrew Umbers was appointed to the Championship club's board. The Yorkshireman has now been named as chairman and will steer the club during Cellino's enforced absence.
Cellino's sons, Edoardo and Ercole, and Eleanora Sport director Daniel Arty also represent the Leeds' owner in the boardroom, while GFH Capital's Jinesh and Salem Patel act for the Dubai-based private equity house which still controls a 25 per cent stake in Leeds United.

Leeds United: Whites beginning to get balance right

Yorkshire Evening Post 28/1/15
by Phil Hay
United coach Neil Redfearn tells Phil Hay his team is beginning to hit the right groove, thanks in part to the arrival of his new assistant, Steve Thompson, who came from this Saturday’s hosts Huddersfield Town.
Only once this season have Leeds United registered back-to-back victories in the Championship. The victims on that occasion, far back in September, were Bournemouth and Huddersfield Town.
Neil Redfearn isn’t interested in half-baked omens but the club’s head coach is tempted to think that his squad are edging into the groove which brought six points in his final week as caretaker boss.
Leeds accounted for Bournemouth at Elland Road last Tuesday, outwitting the league leaders for the second time in four months, and they travel to Huddersfield Town this weekend with some overdue momentum behind them.
A 1-0 defeat of Bournemouth was as valuable result as the club have produced this season, a huge shot in the arm just as the Championship’s relegation places seemed to be sucking their players in, but Redfearn did not see it as a freak scoreline or an isolated performance. He is hopeful that once again, Huddersfield will catch his squad at the wrong time.
“That result’s been coming for a few weeks,” Redfearn said. “We’ve been improving bit by bit and we’ve been getting better. If you look at the games since the turn of the year, we’ve been a competitive side; properly competitive.
“Bournemouth was outstanding and to beat a team like that is no mean feat. But we ran Bolton close at their place and we were unlucky not to beat Birmingham at home. You’re talking about three form teams there and it wouldn’t have been an injustice if we’d come out of those games with nine points.
“But in the circumstances and considering the way the season’s gone, five points is good going.
“It’s a step in the right direction and it’s a positive run. I can see our rhythm coming back.
“A few wins back-to-back would make the world of difference now and I want us to be looking for that.
“We’re going to Huddersfield with our tails up.”
Redfearn will go there with two new players after Leeds completed the loan signings of defender Sol Bamba and midfielder Granddi Ngoyi from Palermo over the weekend. The pair should both receive international clearance in time to play at the John Smith’s Stadium and Bamba could start at centre-back with Giuseppe Bellusci beginning a two-game ban.
Redfearn, nonetheless, has conjured United’s upturn in form by using more established or familiar faces.
His line-up against Bournemouth contained just three summer signings and only two from abroad. He has married the best of United’s academy products with players who were essentially surplus a month ago – Luke Murphy, Rodolph Austin and Steve Morison. Leeds would have listened to offers for any of them at the start of the January window.
“I’m looking at the team and seeing round pegs in round holes,” Redfearn said.
“The system at the moment needs a striker who can play up front on his own and Steve Morison’s capable of that. In midfield there’s the right balance between grit, energy and creativity. We look like a balanced side.”
United’s improving results have also coincided with the arrival of Redfearn’s assistant, Steve Thompson, at Thorp Arch.
Leeds took almost two months to talk Huddersfield into a deal for Thompson, who was employed as a first-team coach at the John Smith’s Stadium, and Redfearn has little in the way of experienced coaches beneath him prior to the 50-year-old appointment. He will have the benefit of Thompson’s knowledge of Huddersfield’s squad as United prepare for Saturday’s match.
“The main difference with having Thommo here is the extra work it allows us to do,” Redfearn said. “Before, I was basically looking after the entire group.
“It was very difficult to split the players up and focus on the areas we needed to improve. The messages I wanted to get across were a bit diluted.
“We’re in a position now where he (Thompson) can look at the front end of the team and concentrate on their movement while I take the back four for a proper session. Some of it’s basic stuff but it’s vital too and you need extra pairs of hands to get everything done.
“I’ve known Thommo for years and he’s been around the Championship for years. He knows it and we definitely need that knowledge right the way through the set-up.”
Bamba trained with Leeds for the first time last Friday and will continue to settle in this week, but the Ivory Coast international played next to no football for Palermo in the first half of the Italian season, featuring in a solitary league game in September.
With Bellusci banned, Redfearn has the option of turning instead to former club captain Jason Pearce, a player who is the subject of interest from Wigan Athletic.
United’s suspended president, Massimo Cellino, deemed Pearce surplus to requirements last month but Redfearn is believed to be resistent to the idea of selling him.
Bellusci remains at risk of a lengthy ban from the Football Association after being charged with racially abusing Norwich City striker Cameron Jerome. A date for his hearing is still to be announced but the Italian will be suspended for a minimum of five matches if found guilty. He denies the charge.
Morison, meanwhile, should be fit to start up front at Huddersfield despite limping out of United’s win over Bournemouth.
The striker has a minor injury affecting a hip and a thigh but he was sent to a specialist last week and received an encouraging analysis.
“It doesn’t sound like there’s any great problem,” said Redfearn. “Fingers crossed he’ll be fine for the weekend.”