Derry all set for return

LEEDS UNITED midfielder Shaun Derry is in line to return for the start of pre-season training after recovering from a damaged Achilles tendon.

Derry has not featured in a first-team fixture since United's FA Cup third-round defeat at West Bromwich Albion on January 6, and his season was ended prematurely by an operation to repair his injured Achilles.

The 29-year-old signed a two-year extension to his contract at Elland Road in August, tieing himself to the club until 2009, but his pre-season schedule 12 months ago was disrupted by a toe injury and he underwent surgery on a hernia five games into the league campaign.

The unfortunate catalogue of injuries restricted him to 25 appearances last season, but a cast on Derry's ankle is expected to be removed next week, and he should be fit to resume training when pre-season training begins on July 2.

Derry's experience of the Championship and his 300 league appearances as a professional could make him a target for second-tier clubs this summer, although the length of his contract would ensure United a fee if the midfielder were to leave.

Wise, however, may be keen to keep his vice-captain who excelled for Leeds during their run to the Championship play-off final 12 months ago.

Other contracted squad members are expected to move on before the start of the League One term, including striker David Healy, but Wise will wish to limit the disruption with a Football League transfer embargo restricting his freedom to construct a new squad at Elland Road.

United's first signing of the summer will not arrive until the start of next month as administrators KPMG fulfil a statutory 28-day waiting period following the approval of chairman Ken Bates' Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) at the start of this week.

Leeds have been linked with ex-Manchester United winger Jamie Mullan and Millwall midfielder Marvin Elliott, while Wise is also expected to fight for the signature of Izzy Iriekpen with the Swansea City defender's contract due to expire this summer.