Leeds United; Grayson drops a hint over Paynter’s future

Billy Paynter in match action.
Billy Paynter in match action.
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Simon Grayson has suggested that Billy Paynter will be allowed to leave Leeds United on loan, but the Elland Road boss does not intend to consider offers for his players until after next week’s game at Brighton.

Grayson said he would listen to future approaches for any player on the periphery of his team but he plans to keep United’s squad intact over the next seven days as the club face up to a congested run of fixtures.

Paynter’s future is unclear with no fewer than six strikers on the books at Elland Road, and the 27-year-old was left out of United’s 16-man squad against Crystal Palace last weekend following the signing of Mikael Forssell on a free transfer.

Ross McCormack and on-loan Wolverhampton Wanderers player Andy Keogh are Grayson’s current first-choice forwards, and the return from injury of Luciano Becchio has further reduced Paynter’s prospects.

Brighton made a surprise attempt to sign him on the last day of the summer transfer window but Leeds retained a striker who has struggled for form in his time at Elland Road, scoring once in 24 appearances.

Grayson said: “Just because he was linked with one or two other clubs doesn’t mean we want rid of him or that he’s not going to be part of the plans.

“But he obviously sees that there’s real competition for places. Keogh and McCormack are one and two at the moment and we’ve got Becchio coming back.

“Forssell showed his quality and (Ramon) Nunez can play there too. Billy knows that but he’s working hard to get into the team.

“It’s a possibility (that he’ll be allowed to move on loan) but I don’t think we’ll be letting anyone go in the next week.”

United’s meeting with Bristol City today is followed by a Carling Cup third-round tie against Manchester United at Elland Road on Tuesday night. Grayson’s squad are then scheduled to play Championship leaders Brighton in Sussex on Friday.

“Football can change very quickly and hopefully we won’t get any injuries in this period,” Grayson said.

“But the squad’s going to be pushed to the max in these games.

“After that we can have a look at the situation to see if certain players need some football. If an opportunity is there for people who aren’t in the team then I won’t stand in their way.”