Leeds United: December matches switched to fit into Sky TV schedule

Leeds United v Atalanta .Ronaldo Vieira breaks through the Atalanta defence..30th July 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Leeds United v Atalanta .Ronaldo Vieira breaks through the Atalanta defence..30th July 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

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Leeds United have been handed a Friday-night trip to Brighton in December after three of their matches before the turn of the year were moved for live broadcasts by Sky Sports.

United’s trip to The Amex, originally scheduled for Saturday, December 10, has been brought forward to Friday, December 9 and will kick off at 7.45pm.

The switch continues a long trend of night matches away at Brighton. United last visited Albion for a Saturday 3pm kick-off in November 2009 and they were routed 4-0 under Steve Evans at The Amex on a Monday evening last season.

Both of Leeds’ forthcoming meetings with managerless Aston Villa have also been rearranged.

Their home clash with Villa on Saturday, December 3 will now start at the later time of 5.30pm while their New Year’s Eve trip to Birmingham has been moved to Thursday, December 29 (ko 7.45pm).

The visit to Villa Park falls between a Boxing Day match at Preston North End and a home clash with Rotherham United on Saturday, January 2.

Sky’s incessant coverage of Leeds last season caused friction between the broadcaster and the club, leading United owner Massimo Cellino to threaten to shut the broadcaster out of a home game against Derby County in December.

Cellino relented at the last minute but United made their frustration plain and their television appearances this term have so far been limited to away games at Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City. Garry Monk’s side, however, will now be televised five times in little over a month between November 20 and December 29. Meetings with Newcastle United and Rotherham United have already been changed.

Meanwhile, Leeds look set to benefit from a new financial incentive announced by the Football League in which clubs who field home-grown Under-21s will share an annual pot of £750,000. The Football League yesterday unveiled plans to make £2.25m available over the next three years to clubs whose academies produce English first-team players under the age of 21.

The scheme is part of the governing body’s attempt to encourage greater youth development amid long-standing worries about the performance of domestic academies and the repeated failure of England’s national team.

The League said is wanted to “provide direct financial rewards to clubs who regularly promote home-grown players from their academies into the first team”.

United boast one of the country’s most productive youth-team systems and the Championship club should comfortably qualify for extra funding under the Football League’s latest proposal. Midfielder Ronaldo Vieira made his senior debut at the age of 18 in August and Tyler Denton was 20 when he played in a League Cup second-round tie earlier this season.

Right-back Lewie Coyle, who has made 16 competitive appearances, turns 21 next week.

Rob Green.

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