Saturday, May 30, 2009

Yorkshire Post 29/5/09
David Healy set for Leeds United return
By Richard Sutcliffe
SIMON GRAYSON wants former Leeds United hero David Healy to replace transfer-listed striker Jermaine Beckford, the Yorkshire Post can reveal.
The Elland Road chief is resigned to losing last season''s top scorer after the striker turned down a new three-year deal earlier this week.
Middlesbrough and Coventry City are likely to offer an escape route to the Championship for Beckford, who netted 34 goals for Leeds in their failed bid to win promotion. Grayson is determined to bring in a top-class replacement if Beckford does depart and the Yorkshire Post understands Healy is at the top of his wanted list. Other strikers that the United manager has cast his eye over include former Barnsley striker Michael Mifsud and Sheffield United's Billy Sharp but it is Northern Ireland's record goal-scorer who Grayson wants to spearhead next season's promotion assault.
No-one at Elland Road would comment on a possible bid for Healy last night but the return of a striker who netted 31 goals in almost three years with Leeds would be popular among supporters.
Healy, who knows Glynn Snodin well due to the United assistant being part of Nigel Worthington's backroom team with Northern Ireland, left West Yorkshire in the summer of 2007 following the club's relegation from the Championship when he joined Fulham for an initial £1m. A clause was inserted in the deal whereby Leeds would receive an additional £500,000 should the striker net five goals in his first season at Craven Cottage but he could only manage four.
The 29-year-old subsequently moved to Sunderland last summer but failed to start a single Premier League game. He is expected to leave the Stadium of Light as part of the summer clearout that will follow the appointment of Ricky Sbragia's successor by the Wearside club's board.
Mifsud is also on Grayson's radar with the Malta international available on a free transfer after being released by Coventry. The 27-year-old ended last season on loan at Barnsley and scored twice in 10 appearances to help the Tykes avoid relegation from the Championship. He is best remembered in Coventry for his starring role in the Sky Blues' stunning win at Manchester United in the Carling Cup 20 months ago.
Leeds yesterday confirmed two pre-season friendlies against Premier League opposition – hosting Blackburn Rovers on July 25 before travelling to Burnley on August 1.
Grimsby Town manager Mike Newell has confirmed his interest in keeping United winger Peter Sweeney at Blundell Park.
The wideman is surplus to requirements at Elland Road and spent the final couple of months on loan with the Mariners. He has featured in only nine first team games for Leeds since joining from Stoke City in January, 2008.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 26/5/09
Leeds United have placed Jermaine Beckford on the transfer list following the 25-year-old's decision to reject the club's offer of a new three-year contract.
Beckford, who has 12 months of his current contract remaining, has scored 54 goals in 98 appearances for the club since joining from non-league Wealdstone in March 2006.
Leeds United chief executive Shaun Harvey said: "As a policy we will always look to retain our most effective players, however we will only do so within the financial parameters that we believe are appropriate. The offer we have made to Jermaine is what we believe to be a very good offer, but he has exercised his right to turn it down.
"On the basis that he has 12 months remaining on his current contract and could leave on a free transfer next summer, we feel we must consider any offers that are forthcoming for him.
"In the event that no offers are forthcoming or the offers received are unacceptable to us then he will remain part of Simon Grayson's squad next season."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Yorkshire Evening Post 19/5/09
Whites wait for Reading's Sodje verdict
Reading are poised to decide the future of Sam Sodje as Leeds United weigh up a possible move for the out-of-contract defender.
The Championship club have confirmed that they will meet with Sodje later this week to clarify their plans for the 29-year-old, who finished this season on loan at Elland Road.
His name was missing from the list of released and retained players issued by the Royals last Friday, but he should learn in the coming days whether he will be offered a new deal at the Madejski Stadium or freed to find new employers.
Leeds will watch his situation with interest after a spell at Elland Road in which the Nigerian centre-back made a major impression.
His seven appearances coincided with the consistent run of form which carried United into the League One play-offs, and he stood out as one of the most impressive players during their semi-final defeat to Millwall.
Sodje's short-term loan at United ended after last Thursday's second leg at Elland Road, but manager Simon Grayson saw him establish a dominant partnership with fellow centre-back Richard Naylor and may be tempted to offer him a permanent deal this summer.
A Reading spokesman said: "His situation hasn't been decided because he was away with Leeds until the end of last week. We'll be talking to him about it later this week."

Coventry Telegraph 19/5/09
Jermaine Beckford wants future sorted out
STRIKER Jermaine Beckford says he wants talks with Leeds United FC to discuss his future with Coventry City waiting in the wings to make a bid.
It was revealed yesterday that Chris Coleman was planning to make a bid for the 25-year-old striker, who scored 34 goals last season.
Beckford is entering the final year of his contract at Elland Road - and wants to sit down and thrash out his future with club bosses.
His agent Nick Rubery told the Yorkshire Evening Post: ""He's got a year left on his contract and he needs to know where he stands."I don't know what Leeds are thinking with regards to their future plans and what part he might play in them, but it's something I need to clarify."Jermaine's scored a lot of goals in League One and he obviously wants to test himself at a higher level, but he's very open to the idea of signing a new contract with Leeds."He's not looking to move on, but his situation needs sorting out."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sky 14/5/09
Grayson proud of Leeds
Players and fans should be proud, says manager
Leeds manager Simon Grayson believes that his players should be proud of themselves despite missing out on a spot in the League One play-off final.
Grayson's side could only manage a 1-1 draw with Millwall in front of a partisan crowd at Elland Road, meaning the Lions progress 2-1 on aggregate.
But Grayson refused to criticise his team, saying that they did everything possible to turn around the one-goal deficit from the first-leg.
"You couldn't ask any more of the players tonight, they've put in a real performance," Grayson told Sky Sports post-match.
"We limited Millwall to very few chances, even probably just one chance all night. The players just kept going and we just couldn't get that second goal when we were certainly on top for the majority of the game.
"Full credit to Millwall, they've worked ever so hard against us and they've gone through but my players have got to be so proud of their performance today and I'm proud of the football club.
"When we first came to the club in December we looked like a team that probably weren't ever going to get anywhere near this (but) they've turned it around and they'll be stronger for tonight's performance and what they've done over the last three or four months."
Jermaine Beckford squandered a golden opportunity when he missed a penalty in the opening minutes of the second-half.
Grayson praised Leeds for their response to the miss and revealed that he thought the result was in the bag when Luciano Becchio opened the scoring three minutes later.
"We've got the penalty and you think: 'Game on now we'll get it' and then we miss it," he added.
"We've responded well and got the goal and I genuinely believed that it was going to be us to go on and get the second.
"Full credit to Millwall, they defended well but we just couldn't get the breaks in front of goal that we probably deserved."