Leeds United: Grayson defends sale of Collins

Neill Collins in match action for Leeds United against QPR before his move to Sheffield United.
Neill Collins in match action for Leeds United against QPR before his move to Sheffield United.
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Simon Grayson insisted today that he was right to sell Neill Collins to Sheffield United less than a year into the defender’s career at Elland Road, saying the deal made financial sense for Leeds United.

Grayson said a “good offer” for a player with diminishing first-team prospects had persuaded him to accept Sheffield United’s bid for Collins in January, six months after the Scottish centre-back moved to Leeds from Preston North End.

Collins is set to play against Grayson’s side in the Yorkshire derby at Bramall Lane, thrown in against the club for whom he made 21 Championship appearances earlier in the season.

His move to Sheffield for an undisclosed fee – a sum which is understood to have exceeded the amount paid by Leeds to Preston for his signature in July – was one of the biggest surprises caused by Grayson’s dealings in the winter window, releasing a centre-back who had been a fixture in his team throughout the early stages of the Championship term.

Grayson said: “It fitted for all parties. Neill did really well in our promotion last season and for large parts of this season he played very well.

“He was a good character to have around and Sheffield United have got a good player there.

“We just felt that it was a good offer and it gave us the opportunity to bring one or two players in off the back of that deal.

“He’d gone out of the team so I told him that someone had come in for him, asked him if he fancied it and told him I couldn’t guarantee him first-team football.

“Like most players, they want assurances that they’ve got a real opportunity of playing every week.

“We’ve had players before who’ve fallen into that category and moved on.”

lLeeds United winger Robert Snodgrass and on-loan midfielder Barry Bannan have both been named in Scotland’s squad for a forthcoming friendly against Brazil at the Emirates Stadium on March 27.

Leeds United Under-23s coach Carlos Corberan.

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