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Leeds United: McSheffrey's on a Whites mission

Gary McSheffrey helped Leeds United to gain a vital victory with a man-of-the-match display against Colchester United and then vowed to put himself back on the footballing map during his loan spell at Elland Road.

The Birmingham City striker produced a fine debut as United ended their damaging run of three league matches without a win and he gave a firm hint afterwards that his temporary spell in Leeds could lead to a longer relationship.

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McSheffrey cost 4m when he moved from Coventry City to Birmingham City in 2006 but the last 18 months have been a frustrating period for him and he moved to Elland Road on Friday with just one league start behind him this season.

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Leeds have signed McSheffrey until the end of the term, at which point his contract with Birmingham looks set to expire and although City have a two-year option on the 27-year-old, he conceded that his time at St Andrews appears to be coming to an end.

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The forward will commit himself to United's League One promotion challenge before then and the club's bid to rejoin the Championship received an important shot in the arm as two Jermaine Beckford goals sealed a 2-0 victory over Colchester.

McSheffrey walked out of Elland Road on Saturday with the matchday sponsor's man-of-the-match award and said: "This is a huge move for me.

"It's no secret that I need to get myself back on the map and back in the shop window.

"For a player who's as hungry and determined as me, I've been far too quiet for the last 18 months.

"It's massive to get back in the mix and have a chance to make a name for myself.

"Before you know it you're forgotten about so it was important to get out and this is a great club to be at.

"I'd love to have a good loan here and help to clinch promotion. That's the short-term aim.

"But I'm out of contract in the summer and if we secure promotion this season then there'd be no better club to be with at Championship level."

McSheffrey endured an inauspicious start to his debut, struggling to touch the ball for much of the first half, but he came into his own after the interval and was instrumental in the passage of play which led to Beckford's second goal on 55 minutes.

Beckford had earlier scored from the penalty spot after ex-Leeds defender Matt Heath fouled Luciano Becchio inside Colchester's box and the victory revived United's pursuit of automatic promotion at the end of a month in which they dropped eight points from a possible 12.

McSheffrey said: "For the first 20 minutes I didn't see the ball and was thinking 'what have I done'?

"But we sucked up pressure and the defence was magnificent. I thought the centre-halves were bang on.

"Once the game settled we looked comfortable. We thoroughly deserved the win."

McSheffrey was one of two debutants on Saturday, with 20-year-old Aston Villa defender Shane Lowry starting at left-back after agreeing a loan deal with Leeds until March 13.

Manager Simon Grayson expressed satisfaction with the contribution of both his new signings and did not rule out the possibility that further additions might be made ahead of today's transfer deadline.

United's boss was beset by fitness problems before kick-off, with Neil Kilkenny and Patrick Kisnorbo carrying minor injuries and Andrew Hughes ill, but Lowry is not thought to have suffered any lasting effects from the cramp which forced him to leave the field late on.

Grayson praised United's display, saying: "It was a difficult game and the way Colchester play is always going to put you under pressure. We had to be hard to beat and resilient."

Colchester boss Aidy Boothroyd confirmed that he expects to sign David Prutton from Leeds on a permanent basis today. The midfielder moved to Colchester on a month-long loan last week with a view to a full-time deal.

 
 
 

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