Leeds United: Morison departure allows McDermott to land Hunt

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Leeds United striker Steve Morison sealed a return to former club Millwall on a season-long loan – in a move that will enable Elland Road manager Brian McDermott complete the signing of Noel Hunt.

The Lions’ interest in the 29-year-old was confirmed in the YEP earlier this week and despite the 29-year-old being happy at Elland Road, the lack of transfer funds available to McDermott has prompted his decision to let the striker head back to the New Den.

The incoming transfer of former Reading forward Hunt to Leeds has been waiting to be rubber-stamped for several weeks, with the 30-year-old’s wage demands reportedly around £12,000 a week.

By getting the wages of Morison – who is believed to be on a weekly wage in the region of £17,000 – off the club’s books, it effectively allows Hunt to come in.

McDermott said: “I am looking to re-shape my squad and there was an offer on the table for Steve to go to a club that he has already played at it.

“He’s there for a year and he will be playing games, and due to the terms of the deal he can’t play against us.”

Millwall are believed to have been interested in Morison for several weeks, with the Wales international having been a big crowd favourite during his time at the New Den from 2009 to 2011. During his time there, he plundered 40 goals in 95 appearances and formed a prolific strike partnership with Neil Harris, who recently returned to the Lions as a coach.

Morison is only part way through a three-and-a-half-year contract he signed with Leeds at the end of January after arriving from Norwich City as part of the deal which saw Luciano Becchio head to Carrow Road – with the Whites also receiving a £200,000 fee.

Just prior to Morison’s transfer to Leeds, Millwall had expressed an interest in bringing him back to South London on loan.

Despite moving from Millwall to the Canaries in a £2.1m deal in June, 2011, Morrison has still remained close friends with Lions chairman John Berylson, who helped give him his big break when he brought him in from Stevenage Borough.

Morison endured an undistinguished start to his time at Leeds in the final three months of the 2012-13 campaign, finding the net just three times in 13 full starts and three substitute appearances.

More wheeling and dealing is on the cards over the coming days and weeks for McDermott, who must sell further players if he is to make room on the wage bill for his hit-list of targets. McDermott’s wanted list is thought to include the likes of Bolton Wanderers’ defender Matt Mills.

Despite a lack of funds at his disposal and having to sell before being given permission to bring in new players, McDermott confirmed on Thursday that his targets remain the same.

United’s derby at Huddersfield Town on Saturday, October 26 has been switched to a noon kick-off at a request of the police.

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