Leeds United: Grayson’s grateful as Reading boss solves goalkeeper crisis

Alex McCarthy.
Alex McCarthy.
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Leeds United manager Simon Grayson thanked Reading boss Brian McDermott for solving his goalkeeping crisis after completing the loan signing of Alex McCarthy.

Grayson admitted he owed “a lot of gratitude” to McDermott after the Reading boss sanctioned a month-long deal in time for McCarthy to appear for Leeds in tomorrow’s clash with Leicester City.

United made an urgent move for a temporary signing with Andy Lonergan suffering from injury and Paul Rachubka’s confidence decimated by an error-strewn performance against Blackpool on Wednesday.

Grayson watched Rachubka gift Blackpool three goals in a 5-0 defeat at Elland Road and has ruled the 30-year-old out of contention for the foreseeable future in an attempt to protect Rachubka from further attention.

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The saga left Leeds with only 18-year-old academy product Alex Cairns to work with until the signing of McCarthy was agreed yesterday.

United enquired about several players and were strongly linked with Manchester United’s Tomasz Kuszczak, but Grayson found Championship rivals Reading willing to listen to their offer for McCarthy, despite having named the England Under-21 international as a substitute regularly this season.

McCarthy will start tomorrow’s match at the King Power Stadium, only his second outing of the season, and Grayson said: “We owe a lot gratitude to Reading for letting him out – and letting him out to a rival in their division.

“We asked the question of them and Brian was uncertain about whether he wanted to do it but he felt that he owed it to the player to allow him to get games, like we did with Billy Paynter when he went to Brighton.

“These things aren’t easy to decide but sometimes you have to be open with players and give them an opportunity. That’s what Brian’s done and I’m very thankful to him for doing that.

“Alex is probably not a name that people would have picked out, maybe wanting someone bigger or more high-profile, but everyone I’ve spoken to and what I’ve seen of him already is all positive.”

McCarthy will play his part in attempting to reverse the damage of United’s 5-0 loss to Blackpool which Grayson again described as a “freak” result caused by Rachubka’s mistakes and a red card shown to Tom Lees on 25 minutes.

Grayson’s side will encounter a pre-season promotion favourite in Leicester City but also a managerless club who are still to replace the sacked Sven Goran Eriksson.

Leicester produced a convincing 3-1 at Burnley on their last appearance, however, and Grayson said: “I went to watch them and they’re a good team. They’ve got the strongest squad in the division, no doubt about that.

“But we can get a result there. Nothing daunts us at any ground. We’ll respect them but it’s a great game for us to get back on track. If we’d had a two-week period to dwell on Wednesday then that might have caused us a problem. Going to a big ground with a 25,000 crowd four days later is good.

“I still believe Wednesday was a freak result. Credit to Blackpool, they’re a good team, but it wasn’t like last season when we lost 6-4 to Preston and were all over the place.”

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