Sky Sports 30/12/09
Whites extend Gradel loan
Leicester and Leeds agree to maximum extension
Leeds United have extended the loan stay of Leicester winger Max Gradel until 17th January.
The 22-year-old initially moved to Elland Road for one month in October, but after a number of eye-catching performances the Whites agreed a deal to keep him until 2nd January.
This latest extension takes Gradel's contract up to the maximum 93-day continuous period under the terms of a normal loan agreement, meaning he can play in the league games against Wycombe and Exeter.
The Ivorian youngster has made 14 appearances for Leeds so far this season, netting three goals, and speculation has mounted that his move could be made permanent.
Leeds are currently eight points clear at the top of League One with a game in hand and take on arch-rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday.
However, Leicester have refused to give permission for Gradel to take part in the game at Old Trafford.



Bradford Telegraph and Argus 28/12/09
Cup heartbreak for Leeds hero Bromby
John Wray
Stockport 2, Leeds United 4
Defender Leigh Bromby struck a blockbusting 87th-minute goal but faces the heartbreak of missing Leeds United’s FA Cup third-round glamour tie at Manchester United on Sunday.
Dewsbury-born Bromby, a lifelong Leeds fan, collected his fifth booking of the season at Edgeley Park and serves an immediate one-match suspension.
Yet he was a hero when his unstoppable drive restored Leeds’ advantage, and Jermaine Beckford’s second goal of the match, three minutes into injury time, killed off Stockport’s hopes.
Right back or central defender Bromby has been a first team regular since making his debut in the home game against today’s opponents in September and will be missed at Old Trafford.
Bottom-of-the-table Stockport, who have now lost a club record 11 successive league games, were expected to provide little resistance against the Coca-Cola League One leaders, who made the perfect start before being made to battle for a 4-2 win.
Stockport had David Poole sent off for a foul on substitute Max Gradel five minutes into time added on and referee Kevin Friend booked Leeds' Patrick Kisnorbo for getting involved in the rumpus.
United winger Robert Snodgrass was quick off the mark for the second time this season.
The Scot cut in from the right and delivered a deflected left-foot shot from the edge of the penalty area into the corner of the net with just one minute and 50 seconds on the clock.
Snodgrass also scored in the second minute of the drawn West Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield Town on December 5, when there was again an early kick-off.
A largely inexperienced Stockport team drew level on 12 minutes. Bromby brought down Carl Baker, who took the free-kick himself, finding the bottom corner with a shot that carried too much power and accuracy for keeper Casper Ankergren.
It was a perfect farewell present to Stockport fans from Baker, who is poised to join Coventry when the transfer window opens.
Luciano Becchio had a volley well saved by Owain Fon Williams’ left hand but Leeds had a let-off when Poole’s first effort was parried by Ankergren and his second was blocked by Kisnorbo.
Bradley Johnson, recalled to United’s starting line-up in place of Jonny Howson, lobbed against the bar after Fon Williams cleared the ball straight to him, and a rash of bookings towards the end of the first half saw United trio Snodgrass, Becchio and Bromby enter the referee’s book, along with Stockport’s Peter Thompson.
Stockport took a surprise lead in the 62nd minute when Leeds failed to clear a corner and Johnny Mullins punished them with a diving header from six yards.
However, the 65th-minute arrival of Gradel and Howson created new problems for the home side, and two minutes later Kisnorbo’s cross was headed home by Beckford, with the keeper failing to gather.
Leeds finished the game strongly, Bromby blasting in their third and Beckford latching on to a flick-on by substitute Tresor Kandol to score his 19th goal of the season with a low shot, but Richard Naylor and Kisnorbo joined the bookings list and Stockport’s Poole received his late red card.
Leeds manager Simon Grayson said: “It has been a successful Christmas for us.
"We knew we couldn’t be complacent against Stockport, who made us battle and scrap, but I thought some of the bookings were harsh.
"The referee made it difficult for himself and for both sides. We are not a dirty team by any stretch of the imagination. Richard Naylor and Patrick Kisnorbo deserved to get booked but others didn’t.
“Leigh Bromby is suspended for the Manchester United cup-tie, which is unfortunate for him, but he won’t score a better goal than that.”
Grayson added: “We’ve had a great 2009 and now we have to keep plugging away to make sure it is a successful 2010.”

Yorkshire Evening Post 28/12/09
Leeds United v Hartlepool United: Becks double sees of Pools challenge
By Phil Hay
For the respective managers of Leeds United and Hartlepool United, the role of Jermaine Beckford in Saturday's game at Elland Road was as predictable as football gets.
Pilloried by the fans of his own club on his previous appearance, Beckford responded in the most satisfactory manner by consigning Hartlepool to a 3-1 defeat. "It's what I expected," said his manager Simon Grayson, seven days after he and Leeds’ leading goalscorer momentarily crossed swords.
Likewise Chris Turner, the coach of a club who have suffered at the hands of Beckford many times before. Five goals in four prior matches between Leeds and Hartlepool marked him out as an irritant that Turner's squad had good reason to fear, and an effort in either half on Saturday continued that trend. He is the definition of a nemesis, for Hartlepool at any rate.
Southampton's defence were more successful in handling Beckford, and that lack of freedom during United's last game before Christmas was responsible for the substitution to which Beckford reacted so badly.
Having soured the afternoon of December 19 by petulantly slapping away Grayson's attempt at a handshake and walking down the tunnel while 20 minutes of the Southampton fixture remained, it was clear that Beckford had bridges to repair on Saturday, if not necessarily bridges to build. His two goals did a successful job of redeeming an incident which was ill-advised at best.
An apology from Beckford was forthcoming as soon as he and Grayson arrived at United's training ground last Monday, allowing Grayson to declare the matter closed.
United's fans, numbering almost 30,000 in a huge Boxing Day crowd, were also willing to forgive and forget, rising en masse to acknowledge the sublime quality of his second finish in the 69th minute, the straw which broke Hartlepool's back. Beckford's display of dissent towards Grayson has not created a festering sore.
Instead, it invigorated a striker who had not scored in four previous league matches but increased his personal collection for the season to 17 on Saturday. Turner's assessment of his performance was to say that Leeds would win promotion "by a mile" with Beckford on their books until the end of the term. Grayson, meanwhile, is preparing himself for a glut of enquiries about the forward throughout the winter transfer window. Such interest is inevitable.
How Leeds should respond to any offers approaching their valuation is a fascinating debate. Beckford's contract expires at the end of this season and, barring an agreement over a new deal, the January window is the last occasion when Leeds can earn a fee for a player of obvious value.
It is, undoubtedly, easier for Grayson to consider a sale while his squad hold as strong a position in League One as they did on Saturday evening, comfortably clear of the entire field with 53 points from 22 games. Yet Beckford's propensity for settling matches – a quality that a succession of managers have benefited from at Elland Road – is invaluable.
Grayson should be in no rush to lose it.His goals on Saturday produced the right result at the end of a match which Leeds controlled, but an eventful contest forced Leeds to recover from a goal down and left Turner and his assistant, Colin West, spitting feathers over the performance of referee Eddie Ilderton.
The Tyne and Wear official handled Leeds’ win over Tranmere Rovers in August without incident but he made hard work of Hartlepool’s visit, losing control of the game on a number of occasions and angering the visiting dug-out with several contentious decisions.
Turner’s list of complaints was almost endless, starting with the award of a free-kick for handball against Neil Austin, a set-piece which led to United’s equaliser. He also argued that his team should have been handed a penalty while they led 1-0 and bemoaned Ilderton’s failure to ensure that the free-kick which led to United’s second goal was taken from the correct position.
His arguments held some merit but they did not dissuade most onlookers from thinking that the scoreline was an accurate reflection of the contest at Elland Road. Hartlepool’s goal arrived after 25 minutes in which their backs had been against the wall, and Beckford struck the crossbar in the second half before he put the game beyond the visitors’ reach. Grayson was in no doubt that his side had earned their win.
Before Armann Bjornsson finished off Ritchie Humphreys’ corner with a clinical header at the far post, United had pressed Turner’s defence to the point where it seemed ready to crack. But when Sam Collins and Peter Hartley were left unmarked and free to flick on Humphreys’ delivery, Bjornssen had the presence of mind to cushion the ball beyond Casper Ankergren.
The concession wobbled Leeds temporarily, and a shot from Adam Boyd deflected wide with the help of a crucial touch off Patrick Kisnorbo. Turner was soon appealing in vain to Ilderton after the ball struck one of Leigh Bromby’s arms inside United’s box, but his claim and those of his players fell on deaf ears.

Heel
Instead, Leeds forced an equaliser in the 38th minute when Snodgrass’ free-kick was cleared to Neil Kilkenny and the Australian’s shot from the edge of the box found the net via Beckford’s heel. The ball also appeared to hit Collins before beating Hartlepool goalkeeper Scott Flinders, a favourable touch which guided it towards the very corner of the net.
Fortuitous though that goal was, it could not compare to the luck which delivered United’s second three minutes into injury-time.
As Turner raged about the positioning of a free-kick awarded for a foul on Kisnorbo, Jonathan Howson burst down the right wing and drilled a cross towards Luciano Becchio. The Argentinian misdirected his header away from goal but the ball struck the shoulder of Gary Liddle and rebounded across Flinders’ goalline.
Other than his goal, Hartlepool had limited Beckford’s involvement before half-time, but their grip on him loosened as the match wore on.
His volley in the 54th minute smashed against Flinders’ crossbar after Bromby’s long ball forward caught out Hartlepool’s defence, and the striker should have converted a close-range header 60 seconds later, glancing it wide. But when Becchio’s flick played him clean through 20 minutes from time, Beckford displayed his class with a delicate chip over Flinders.
The game was almost spoiled in the closing stages when a foul on Leeds’ substitute Bradley Johnson provoked a tussle involving several players, but Ilderton saw no reason to brandish his red card at any of the protagonists.
For that, if nothing else, Turner was grateful, though he later described the match officials as “ignorant”.
In the case of Beckford, he and Grayson could offer nothing less than effusive praise.

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