Leeds United: Antenucci set to feature in squad against Blackburn

Mirco Antenucci
Mirco Antenucci
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Striker Mirco Antenucci is set to feature in Leeds United’s squad tomorrow, despite the threat to his first-team place.

The YEP understands that Neil Redfearn has included the forward in the 18-man squad chosen to face Blackburn Rovers, defying orders from the club’s board to leave Antenucci out.

Redfearn has come under pressure from chairman Andrew Umbers over a clause in Antenucci’s contract which will earn the Italian forward an extra year on his contract if he scores 12 goals this season.

Antenucci moved onto 10 with his second-half goal at Blackpool before the international break and United are anxious to avoid extending the deal of a player who will turn 31 in August.

The ex-Torino striker signed a two-year deal when he joined Leeds from Ternana last summer.

The player’s agent, Silvio Pagliari, hoped to secure a contract for three seasons when the move was negotiated and the incentive appears to have been included as a compromise.

Confusion over his inclusion in Redfearn’s squad has been the cause of division between United’s head coach and his board throughout the international break. It is not yet clear if Antenucci will start tomorrow’s game.

Umbers, however, moved to deny that he was exerting influence over Redfearn’s team selection.

In a statement released to the BBC, Umbers said: “The rumours are wrong. Marco (sic) Antenucci has always been available for selection and will always be available.

“It’s up to Neil whether he plays him or not on the merits of his match day strategy. Nothing has changed in Mirco’s availability to play and that includes this weekend.”