Leeds United: Norway trip still to go ahead

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Leeds United’s squad were flying out to Norway today after the club confirmed that tomorrow’s friendly against Sandefjord would go ahead as planned, despite the atrocities in Oslo.

United are to press ahead with their penultimate pre-season fixture after seeking advice from the Home Office about travelling to Norway in the light of Friday’s killings. Almost 100 people died in bomb and gun attacks in Oslo, some two hours away from the Norwegian city of Sandefjord.

Leeds’ plans to fly from London today were re-examined following Friday’s events but the club are to stick to their original schedule. Their game against Sandefjord will take place at 7pm local time.

Manager Simon Grayson said: “We’ve made enquiries and everybody’s happy in that regard. But our sympathy goes out to the families in Norway because it’s a tragic episode which puts football into perspective. We’ve been reassured that everything will be fine and where we’re going is a couple of hours away from the centre (of Oslo). There’ll be no restrictions on people coming or going from Norway.”

The Home Office has not changed its travel advice since Friday’s attacks but it advised British nationals visiting Norway to “exercise caution, monitor local media reporting and follow advice given by the emergency services.” Norwegian Police have asked tourists to stay away from the centre of Oslo.

United’s squad, meanwhile, has been heavily affected by injury and illness but Grayson is taking French trialist Alex Mendy to Sandefjord on the back of his appearance in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

Hungarian left-back Boldizsar Bodor played for 78 minutes at Hillsborough and was also expected to make the trip but fellow trialist Isaiah Osbourne has been left behind to train with United’s reserves and improve his match fitness. He could feature against Bradford Park Avenue on Wednesday evening.

Jlloyd Samuel’s chances of earning a contract with Leeds appear to have diminished, however, after a thigh injury ruled him out of Saturday’s friendly in Sheffield. Grayson said: “His thigh’s been tight since the Rochdale game so he’ll get treatment somewhere else. We’ll assess the situation when we get back.”

Midfielder Jonathan Howson was another absentee at Sheffield Wednesday after coming down with a virus but Grayson is hoping that an ankle knock sustained by left-back Ben Parker will not prove to be serious.

Grayson said: “It just seems to be one injury after another for Ben. He’ll be a doubt for the game in Norway.”

CHIN UP: Stuart Dallas consoles Pablo Hernandez after missing a late penalty in the 1-0 defeat to Reading at Elland Road on Saturday. Picture: Tony Johnson.

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