Leeds United: Mac remains in hot pursuit of transfer target

Brian McDermott hands over 50 euros to Leeds United fans to get a drink after some had jokingly chanted 'it's your round, Brian'. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Brian McDermott hands over 50 euros to Leeds United fans to get a drink after some had jokingly chanted 'it's your round, Brian'. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Brian McDermott is refusing to give up on his pursuit of a crucial transfer target despite admitting that his bid to sign the unnamed player is destined to run into next week.

The Leeds United manager underlined the importance of a deal he had hoped to secure last weekend by saying he “was very determined to get this player” with the start of the new season closing in.

United recorded a second successive pre-season victory last night, beginning their three-game tour of Slovenia with a routine win over a regional select line-up in the city of Murska Sobota.

McDermott has made three additions to his squad in the past month, with Matt Smith, Luke Murphy and Noel Hunt all moving to Elland Road, but his attempt to force a fourth arrival after Saturday’s 5-0 success at Farsley has so far failed.

The Leeds boss said the potential signing was one he and the club “need to do” - but he confirmed again that departures from United would be necessary to allow him to complete the rebuilding of his squad.

McDermott stated at Farsley that he was pushing for an answer on his latest target “in the next couple of days” but speaking after last night’s friendly, he said: “I’m still working on one particular signing, the same one. It’s not going to happen in the next few days but it’s something we want to do and something we need to do.

“I’m mindful too of the situation at our club and of what I have to do. Players need to go in the opposite direction as well. There’s nothing imminent (with players leaving) but things happen and we’re just waiting to have conversations.

“I don’t really get frustrated by transfers, I just do what I have to and if I find that I can affect the situation then I will. But I’m very determined to get this particular player. I don’t feel urgency but I do want this particular player.”

McDermott does not expect any additions to his squad before Leeds complete their tour of Slovenia next week but he cut an upbeat figure yesterday and spoke positively about the progress made by his existing players in pre-season.

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A poor Pomurje line-up were beaten 3-1 at the Fazanerija Stadium, with Matt Smith and Noel Hunt giving Leeds a 2-0 advantage at half-time and Dominic Poleon scoring after the break. McDermott again used different teams at the start of each half.

The friendly in eastern Slovenia was played out in front of around 300 Leeds supporters and McDermott acknowledged their attendance at the final whistle, responding to chants of ‘it’s your round Brian’ by handing a 50 Euro note into the crowd.

“I only had 50 Euros so I gave it to them,” he joked. “It was my round apparently and it’s all I had! I’d have given them more if I had it but I only came out with 50. I feel a bit bad actually.”

McDermott also paid tribute to his team, who were made to train in harsh heat on the morning of yesterday’s game, saying: “We’d never have worked with that intensity before a league game.

“You saw that a little bit towards the end of the match and it went exactly as I expected it to. I kind of wanted it to end after an hour. The conditions were very difficult but in the first half especially we played well.

“We’re trying to play a certain way and the players are adapting to it. I think you can see that coming through.”

United continue their 10-day tour with a match against Premier League side FC Domzale on Saturday.

Ross McCormack, who completed the second half last night, is an early doubt after complaining of a tight groin at full-time.

“He felt a little bit restricted so we’ll have to work on it,” McDermott said.