Hitmen are in Leeds United’s sights

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Leeds United were redoubling their efforts to bring new strikers to Elland Road today after beating Sheffield Wednesday to the signing of David Norris.

Norris has agreed a move from Portsmouth to Leeds – the fifth player to commit to United in less than a week – and manager Neil Warnock is turning his attention to other areas of his squad with his midfield taking shape.

Leeds have already signed Paul Green from Derby County and lined up a deal for Jamaica international Rodolph Austin whose £300,000 transfer from SK Brann depends only on the 25-year-old receiving a work permit.

Norris’ agreed his move subject to a medical and was expected to finalise the transfer today, and Warnock expressed satisfaction at landing a midfielder who held talks with Sheffield Wednesday on Monday afternoon.

The United boss has now secured the services of nine new players but his hunt for signings is continuing at pace, following Robert Snodgrass’ £3million move to Norwich City last night on a three-year deal.

United are also at risk of losing last season’s top-scorer, Ross McCormack, who has failed to agree an extension to a contract which expires next summer, and Warnock admitted that out-and-out goalscorers were at the forefront of his mind with Norris’ transfer effectively sealed.

Leeds were linked with West Ham United’s Nicky Maynard earlier this week and have also taken an interest in Brighton’s Craig Mackail-Smith. Leeds and Brighton are thought to have discussed the possibility of a swap-deal involving Mackail-Smith and McCormack.

Warnock said: “We’re making enquiries and signing strikers is a big focus for us. I’ll definitely be bringing at least one in.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen with Ross and I want to strengthen that area by getting lads who we know will score goals in the Championship. It’ll be a relief when we sign someone of the calibre I’m looking for.

“There’s work to be done there but we’ve got three weeks until the (Championship) season starts. It’s time enough to put the icing on the cake but it’s going to take some hard work. This summer’s been nothing but hard work.”

Warnock took United south for their pre-season tour of Devon and Cornwall on Sunday with only four players signed but a further five additions this week have greatly altered the complexion of his squad. It was affected also by the sequence of events which saw Leeds approve Norwich’s offer for Snodgrass on Wednesday morning.

But Norris gave Warnock a timely lift by rejecting the chance to move to Hillsborough and agreeing a deal which Warnock had been proposing for almost three months.

The former Ipswich Town and Plymouth Argyle midfielder is an experienced addition with more than 400 appearances behind him – and the fourth player to arrive at Elland Road from Portsmouth since the end of last season. Former team-mates Jason Pearce, Luke Varney and Jamie Ashdown have also trodden the same path.

Warnock said: “Norris is another player who I’ve liked for a long, long time. He’s got goals in him which we want from midfield, especially with Snodgrass going.

“He’ll have to fight for a place here because we’ve got good options in midfield now but he’ll have no problem with that. I know he had a few others clubs after him but I got the impression when I spoke to him for the first time that this was the move he wanted. We were his first choice.”

United are also in the market for another defender and remain in contention to land right-back Lee Peltier from Leicester City.

Warnock, meanwhile, expects to see departures from Elland Road in the near future after revealing that approaches have been made for forwards Billy Paynter and Ramon Nunez.

Experienced defender Andy O’Brien is also the target of firm interest after being transfer-listed in May.

Eunan O'Kane.  PIC: Tony Johnson

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