Leeds United: Whites set to run rule over new recruits

Gaetano Berardi.
Gaetano Berardi.
Have your say

Leeds United plan to field new signings Adryan, Brian Montenegro and Dario Del Fabro in a development-squad game this afternoon as preparation for possible involvement at Birmingham City on Saturday.

The three players, all of whom completed moves to Elland Road in the last 72 hours of the transfer window, are being lined up for appearances against Ipswich Town at Thorp Arch today.

Brazilian midfielder Adryan has received international clearance following his transfer on a season-long loan from Flamengo and Leeds are hoping that Montenegro and Del Fabro will be cleared in time to play with the Under-21s.

Forward Montenegro completed a loan move from Paraguayan club Nacional on the last day of the summer window while defender Del Fabro linked up with Leeds last Sunday, arriving from Cagliari for the rest of the English season.

United caretaker Neil Redfearn used them in a practice match on Thursday but the 44-year-old said: “Ideally we’d like to give them all a proper game before the weekend.

“The players had a match amongst themselves on Thursday and we got a local referee into handle it. It was really competitive but they’d all benefit from playing against actual opposition.

“Adryan’s got his clearance so he’ll be involved (today) and we’re hoping that the other two will get theirs in time. Birmingham’s coming round quickly and the more players who are ready, the better.”

Adryan was one of Leeds’ marquee recruits, a Brazil Under-20 international who club owner Massimo Cellino fought for weeks to sign.

The 20-year-old is seen by Cellino as a natural number 10 and Redfearn said: “He’s got great feet and terrific touch. He looks like he’s 12 years old but there’s a real player there, an exciting player.

“All three of the new signings have settled in no problem. Their fitness was spot on and they were right on the money in training. It doesn’t feel like they’ve got much catching up to do which is obviously a bonus.”

Leeds have more than 30 players in their squad after a busy transfer window and their options on Saturday will be deeper than the resources available to Redfearn when he took charge of as caretaker for a 1-0 win over Bolton before the international break.

Right-back Gaetano Berardi has recovered from concussion and completed all of Thursday’s practice match. French striker Souleymane Doukara, who ruptured ankle ligaments last month, played for 45 minutes and could be in contention for a return to the squad at St Andrews.

Doukara has not been involved with the first team since sustaining an injury in Leeds’ 1-0 win over Middlesbrough last month.

Academy manager Redfearn is continuing to look after the senior players following the sacking of David Hockaday on August 28 and he will take Leeds to Birmingham if Cellino’s search for a new head coach runs beyond the end of this week.

Cellino, who has been in the USA, was close to appointing Oscar Garcia seven days ago but saw the Spaniard accept an offer from Watford and has since taken time to consider his next move.

Redfearn said: “The training was quite generic last week but it’ll be targeted at Birmingham this week and we’ll be prepared for the game no matter what happens with the coach’s job.

“That’s my responsibility until something changes and I’m happy with that. In the meantime we can’t afford to miss a step.”

Leeds will resume the Championship season in 18th position after their victory over Bolton.

PROVE IT: Matthew Pennington tussles with Sheffield United's Leon Clarke at elland Road earlier this season. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Opportunity opens up at Leeds United for Matthew Pennington