Simon Grayson insists Billy Paynter remains in his thoughts – despite a proposed move to Brighton falling through on transfer deadline day.
The Seagulls, whose boss Gus Poyet tried to land Paynter just before he left Swindon Town for Leeds United in the summer of 2010, were in discussions with the Whites to sign the striker on Wednesday, but the proposed deal collapsed after the two clubs failed to agree a fee.
And Paynter, who has done it tough since arriving at Elland Road, remains keen on proving himself at United according to boss Grayson.
Grayson said: “There was an enquiry about him (Paynter) and I gave a club the opportunity to see where they wanted to take it and nothing came of it.
“I’ve spoken to him about the situation and he realises he is part of my plans and is going to be part of a group that is hopefully pushing for promotion this year.
“I’ve been fair to the lad. He’s been injured a little bit and not been in the team on a frequent basis and we’ve also brought Andy Keogh and we’ve (Ross) McCormack, who is playing well and Luciano (Becchio) is also coming back. But Billy is part of that group and be part of the squad.
“But sometimes when someone comes in for a player, you have to be honest with them and see what their opinion of it is. He wanted to see what was out there, but it didn’t happen.
“He said to me he wasn’t overkeen on leaving because he wants to prove to people here he is a good player and the player everyone expected when we signed him.”