Leeds United manager Simon Grayson insisted today that Ross McCormack was still in his plans for the rest of the Championship season – but warned that the form of other players was making the striker difficult to select.
McCormack was missing from United’s bench at Preston North End on Tuesday night – a notable absentee among a group of substitutes which included Davide Somma and Luciano Becchio – and the signing of Barry Bannan from Aston Villa has heightened competition for places in Grayson’s match-day squads.
United’s manager invested a six-figure sum in McCormack to sign him from Cardiff City in August, one of his most expensive recruits in his two years as manager, but McCormack has not featured regularly since a brief run of starts after Christmas.
Becchio and Somma have scored 27 league goals between them this season, and the growing influence of Billy Paynter has left McCormack behind three forwards in the reckoning at Elland Road.
Grayson said: “He was fine (fit) on Tuesday night, but other players were in front of him.
“He’s had a frustrating time with injuries and then not playing as many games as he would like, but it’s hard when other players have been playing as well as they have.
“We’ve got Becchio and Somma in double figures, Billy Paynter in a rich vein of form and Jonny Howson playing in the hole.
“It’s difficult for Ross, but he’s got his head down in training and he’ll be an option between now and the end of the season.”