LEEDS UNITED boss Brian McDermott has defended his decision to leave Cameron Stewart out of his squad at Brighton on Tuesday as part of a strategy to extend his 93-day loan further into the season.
Leeds signed Stewart from Hull City midway through January but were unable to agree either an immediate permanent deal or a long-term loan due to rules preventing players from appearing for three clubs in one season.
Emergency loans do not count towards that quota but Stewart’s 93-day contract was set to end midway through April.
Leeds took the decision to suspend his loan after an initial month and renew it next week, preventing him from playing against Brighton but ensuring that he will miss only the last game of the term at home to Derby County.
United were beaten at The Amex without him, however, and struggled to create chances against an organised Brighton side. McDermott said: “You make a call. He only misses one game at the back end of the season and that’s the call we made. If he’d played on Tuesday he’d have missed three or four games towards the end of the season. In effect, he didn’t play so it means he’ll only miss one - Derby on the last day.”
Stewart will take up a three-year contract at Leeds when he his deal at Hull expires in June.