Highly rated midfielder Simon Lenighan has joined Bradford Park Avenue on an initial months loan. Lenighan impressed in pre season and was expected to make a push for a place in the match day squad-however, the emergence of Alex Mowatt has pushed him down the pecking order and a loan suits all parties. The only surprise is that it's not a league club, but it will be a step up from the development squad where he has been playing this season. Expect the loan to be extended, and the 18 year old to be I'm contention next season.
New 3 month loan signing Dexter Blackstock lost no time in ingratiating himself with Leeds United fans after making it clear that once he had heard of United's interest it was always going to be "very difficult" for the other clubs that were interested in securing his services. “I dont know why that is but Leeds are one of those clubs where you walk into the stadium as the opposition, you look around and think ‘wow’. They’re a proper big club and that makes everyone raise their game. We had the 7-3 game – that was an eventful night – and I hope I can continue to score goals at Elland Road. It’s on my mind to impress here, that’s without doubt. It’s on my mind to win matches and push Leeds up the table.
Blackstock's goal scoring record does not jump off the stats page, around one goal every four games, and his chances at the City Ground have been pretty much non-existent of late following a flurry of new signings - but interestingly he has agreed to join Leeds without any "guarantees" of a starting place.
It is very unlikely - barring any injury concerns - that he will feature from the start at Huddersfield and will probably be content with a place on the bench - having watched United's impressive display against a poor Birmingham outfit. “I watched them on Sunday and it was a very good performance, a very comfortable victory. I’m here for when the manager needs me and he’ll pick a team he thinks will win. Every game’s different but I’m ready to come off the bench or do whatever the manager needs me to do. I’m here for three months, not one game, and I’m raring to go. If needed I’m definitely ready. Before I agreed to come, I sat down with the manager and went through his plans. I was very impressed with what he had to say. There were a few clubs interested in taking me but as soon as a club like Leeds come in, it’s very difficult for other clubs to compete. It ticked all the boxes. The ambition’s here for this club to move forward and I imagine the expectation’s very high, just like Nottingham Forest where the fans demand good football and entertaining games. The club seem to be moving in the right direction and I wanted to be part of that".
Blackstock talked of his frustration about not being involved at Forest - suggesting "It would have been fairly easy for me to stay at Forest and be bit-part but I’ve never done that during my career. I’ve never been bit part at any of my clubs and I was missing playing on a Saturday afternoon. I’ve not played a lot of games but my fitness feels good. In terms of match fitness, you’re not going to get that without playing and you’re never going to get sharp until you play games but I’m raring to go when the manager needs me and it’s on my mind to impress".
With Blackstock still tied to a 4 and a half year contract with Forest, neither he nor BM would commit themselves on the possibility of the loan agreement becoming a permanent deal - sensibly opting to assess the situation at the end of the current arrangement - which takes us to the Januuary window. Blackstock stated “What surprises you in football these days? Very little in terms of things changing quickly. That’s what happens. I’ve been at Forest for almost five years and it’s a big part of me. I’ve still got a long-term contract there and it’s definitely not over completely. It’s a case of me coming out and getting games under my belt.
In terms of a permanent deal, I can’t really talk about that because there’s no agreement between the two clubs. It’s strictly a loan for three months and it’s something we’d have to sit down and reassess in January.
Both parties at the moment are fixed on a loan but you never know what the future will bring and all I know is that for the time I’m here I’ll do my best for the club, help us pick up some results and move up the table.”
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Brian McDermott has moved to bring new attacking options to Leeds United, securing the services of Nottingham Forest Dexter Blackstock on a three month loan.
Blackstock was chased by Leeds last January under former manager Neil Warnock, but Forest moved to tie him to a new 4 year deal. The situation turned sour for Blackstock though and he has been unable to force his way into the team, opening the opportunity back up for Leeds. When rumours surfaced that Brighton were looking to loan the player, Leeds jumped in and managed to secure the deal.
The 27 year old striker has an impressive record, scoring 36 goals for 98 starts and is excited to be joining the Whites. He is expected to be named in the squad for this weekends game against Huddersfield.
With a three month deal agreed, Blackstock will be at the club when the transfer window opens and may yet make the move permanent.
Meanwhile, Defender, Ross Kilolk has gone out on a months loan to Division 2 side, Chester. The youngster is yet to make an appearance in the senior team, and with Chester struggling this season, it should prove a good opportunity to gain experience at a senior level.
Brian McDermott is adamant that his team needs to find and cement a "winning mentality" as he confirms that he will continue to put his faith in the 3-5-2 formation employed so successfully against Birmingham City at the weekend.
Explaining that the new system will be adapted by the Under 21's and in The Academy, he said he believed that this was the formation he felt was best suited to the players at his disposal. “On Sunday we got far more balls into the box and probably created 10 really good chances,” he told the YEP. “In the 20 games I’ve been involved in here, we had more chances in that game than we’ve had for a long time (no arguments there Brian!) – and we scored four goals. That’s what I want my team to be about and that’s what we are about. People say that my teams only play this way or that way but that’s not true. I play whatever way suits the boys and this seems to suit. Paul Green can play central midfield for us and Tonge too. Lee Peltier could play right wing-back and Adam Drury or Aidy White could start on the left if we needed them to. It works. “The bottom line is that you can’t play in front of teams. You have to get in behind them and some of our balls from the back against Birmingham were excellent – great long passes and then some good, intricate play. That’s what people want to see and that’s how I want us to play.”
Tha manager confirmed that Sam Byram's return to fitness had enabled the change of system - and it was no surprise that Byram's confidence on the ball was for many fans a "stand-out" on Sunday. “At the start of the season I didn’t have Sam so I worked on a formula with the players I had, but this system seems to suit someone like Sam because he can get forward. He did that really well on Sunday.”
McDermott is keen to instill a winning mentality throughout the club - citing Mancherster Unityed's failure to hit top form too regularly last season - yet still managing to walk away with the league title. He has held lengthy discussions with his squad - highlighting the need for belief and conviction. and he was evidently less than impressed by the way the Under-21s surrendered 3-1 advantage on Tuesday. “We were 3-1 up and we got a 3-3 draw,” he said. “This is what I’m talking about – you should win that game and Neil will have spoken to the players about it afterwards. When we had our meeting last week, this is what I was trying to say. That game against Sheffield Wednesday should have been done and dusted. Football isn’t just about going out to play. You have to have a mentality where you’re going to win the game whether you play good, bad or indifferent. The outcome is always the same – you get a result. Successful teams do that. I watched Manchester United win the Premier League last season and I’d probably say that they played really well six or seven times. On the other occasions they got results. That’s what the best teams do. Burnley are doing it in our league at the moment. They went to Ipswich on Saturday with nothing in the game and they won 1-0. That’s what I call a winning mentality and that’s what I’m trying to create and foster.”
McDermott was also keen to praise the professionalism of certain players “What I’d say about Danny Pugh and Michael Brown is that they’ve been nothing less than excellent professionals, the way they’ve conducted themselves has been excellent. There’s a right way to conduct yourself and the alternative to the right way is the wrong way. That doesn’t work for me and they’re very much part of the squad. Everyone knows they’ve got a chance here I hope but you can only get 18 into your squad. It all comes down to having the right attitude and that has to be the way. There’s no negotiation on that."
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Six days after Leeds United produced their performance of the season so far, they make the short trip to local rivals, Huddersfield for this 12:30pm kick off on Saturday.
For Huddersfield, it's the big match of their season and fans have even been printing and displaying posters around the town in preparation for the 'Big Game'. The view of Leeds fans is that it is still frustrating we are playing the likes of Huddersfield, rather than back playing Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea!
Leeds hit form last week, but it remains to be seen if that was a one off, or something more sustainable. McDermott switched to a 5-3-2/3-5-2 formation and will stick to it tomorrow, most likely with the same starting eleven, although loan signing, Dextor Blackstock is expected to be named on the bench. Matt Smith will keep his place after an impressive first start and two well taken goals.
Captain Rudolph Austin produced an inspired performance and will be critical if Leeds are to continue where they left off against Birmingham.
Huddersfield meanwhile are struggling this season, drawing five and losing four of their opening twelve games. Just three wins leaves them in 14th place in the table and they haven't won a game since mid-September. Leading scorer, Jason Vaughan starts the first of a three match suspension which is not going to help their cause.
We're going for a 2-0 Leeds victory!
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