Leeds United: Whites facing game of patience in transfer window

SPOT ON: Luciano Becchio celebrates after scoring Leeds United's winning goal from the penalty spot against Bolton Wanderers at Elland Road. PIC: Varley Picture Agency
SPOT ON: Luciano Becchio celebrates after scoring Leeds United's winning goal from the penalty spot against Bolton Wanderers at Elland Road. PIC: Varley Picture Agency
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Neil Warnock warned that Leeds United were facing a game of patience in the transfer window after the club brought in the new year with a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.

United climbed back to within two points of the Championship’s play-off zone following a fifth-straight league victory at Elland Road and Warnock was continuing to attack the transfer market today in the wake of a mixed start to the January window.

Leeds have extended Alan Tate’s loan from Swansea City until January 27 after the defender’s appearance against Bolton brought him to the end of his initial deal but Jerome Thomas is returning to West Brom amid growing interest in his signature, and Warnock revealed that a number of additional targets had gone begging in recent days.

The United manager expressed an interest in Chris Wood last week but saw the striker join Leicester City in a £1.25million deal, and approaches for two other players have been rebuffed by clubs unwilling to discuss their departures.

Warnock, who described himself as “right proud” after the squad at Leeds overcame a virus to win a low-key clash with Bolton, said: “Getting players is not straightforward.

“I’ve already (enquired) about two of my targets and I was told there was no chance of their clubs letting them go. That shows how difficult it is. But we’ll keep plugging away.

“We’ve extended Tate’s deal until January 27. That gives Alan and ourselves an opportunity to see what’s what, and if we’re both happy then I’m sure he’ll stop until the end of the season. It gives us some breathing space.

“With Jerome, we aren’t too far away but one or two other clubs are sniffing at him.”

Thomas, who along with Tate originally joined Leeds on November 22, was due to make the final appearance of his emergency loan yesterday but he was one of the players laid low by illness in United’s camp.

Without him, Leeds claimed a valuable league victory with their only shot on target, striking in the 65th minute through a Luciano Becchio penalty, his 18th goal of the season. Both Leeds and Bolton struggled to find any rhythm during a tepid contest at Elland Road but Warnock said: “In the circumstances I couldn’t be any prouder of the lads.

“We lost Luke Varney and Jerome Thomas overnight to a virus. Paddy Kenny came off and couldn’t even move and Ross McCormack and Paul Green were struggling. To put that sort of effort in when you have problems like we did, I can’t praise them enough.

“It wasn’t a classic game but we showed great desire. In the first half we were a bit nervous but when you’ve had a drubbing like we had at Hull on Saturday, it knocks the stuffing out of you. I thought we deserved the win on the second half. On paper, Bolton have a far better team but you don’t win games on paper.

“The first thing you need to be successful is 11 lads working their socks off. Then you’ve got a chance. We do need a bit more quality here and there but as a manager I can’t ask any more than they’ve given me. I’m right proud of them.”

Leeds remain in negotiations to bring former loanee Michael Tonge back to Elland Road from Stoke City.

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Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen. 
(Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe)

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