Leeds United in a mess ahead of derby clash

Ross McCormack gets a header in for Leeds United against Ipswich Town. Picture: IAN HARBER
Ross McCormack gets a header in for Leeds United against Ipswich Town. Picture: IAN HARBER

They may have stopped the rot by earning a point against Ipswich, but off the field Leeds United appear to be in complete disarray ahead of Friday’s transfer deadline and Saturday’s big West Yorkshire derby with Huddersfield Town.

A massive week for the club began promisingly when they turned down a bid of more than £3 million from West Ham for top scorer and newly appointed captain Ross McCormack – manager Brian McDermott stating categorically that the Scottish striker was going nowhere.

But a day later it was revealed that another striker, Luke Varney, was heading for Blackburn, leaving the Whites short of any target man for their two games this week with Matt Smith still suspended and little prospect it would seem of a new forward coming in.

Boardroom unrest then came bubbling to the surface with details coming through about why the long talked about takeover of the club by Sport Capital has stalled.

Leading member of the consortium aiming to take 75 per cent of the Elland Road club Andrew Flowers chose the eve of Tuesday night’s game against Ipswich Town to go on the attack against current owners GFH over their consideration of a rival offer from Italian Massimo Cellino.

It emerged that Sport Capital had made a revised offer from the one originally agreed because “a number of things” had arisen and GFH had rejected this, opening up the possibility of rival bidders to come in.

It has left questions about who exactly is running the club with managing director David Haigh employed by GFH, but also part of the Sport Capital consortium.

Now it appears Haigh is joining forces with the Italian consortium instead of the Sports Capital bid and the whole thing has left the club in limbo at such a crucial stage with the transfer deadline fast approaching. There has even been suggestions of financial difficulties at the club and the dreaded administration word being mentioned in some circles.

Amid all the off field problems it was little wonder then that the players were not at their best when they took the field against Ipswich.

Without a front man to partner McCormack, manager Brian Mcdermott recalled El Hadji Diouf , but it was no surprise that a player lacking match sharpness after being only a fringe figure this season was unable to make any impact. On-loan winger Jimmy Kebe was another to struggle as he is also trying to get his match fitness up and the cause was not helped when usually reliable goalkeeper Paddy Kenny made a howler to let David McGoldrick’s speculative long range shot evade his grasp.

But Leeds did battle away to earn a point when McCormack scored his 19th goal of the season from the penalty spot after recent signing Cameron Stewart produced his one telling moment with a pacy run into the box that drew a foul.

United will have to produce a better display if they are to end their eight-match run without a win in Saturday’s local derby with a Huddersfield side managed by Mark Robbins, who boasts a 100 per cent record against Leeds.

United boss Brian McDermott underlined his frustrations after the Ipswich game, but said he would not be quitting.

He said: “Never would I walk away from the club. I’m a long way from home but I’d never do that, I’d never do it to the players or the staff or the supporters. They deserve better.

“When I was brought here, I was brought here on a three-year contract to stabilise the club and take them forward. As far as I’m concerned, that hasn’t changed.

“But I’m desperate to see an end to this. You keep getting light at the end of the tunnel, but it doesn’t happen. We need (the takeover) resolving at the top and we need the right people in place.

“I’ve got to believe that we can get it sorted. I’ve got to believe that we’ve got the right people here with Leeds United at heart.

“It’s not about individuals, it’s about the club and our supporters who travel every week, the people in Europe who support Leeds, the people in Ireland who support Leeds. It’s so important to get this right.

“The players are with me and I’m with them. I’m not going to hide from our results, we know the results haven’t been good recently, but things have to be right at your club. Everything’s got to be harmonised and we had that a month ago. At this moment, I can’t say we have.”