Leeds United’s early Championship opponents sign former Man Utd, Middlesbrough, West Ham and Sunderland man

One of Leeds United’s early Championship rivals have strengthened their attacking options
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Sheffield Wednesday have signed Manchester United academy product Ashley Fletcher on a season-long loan from Watford.

The Owls travel to Elland Road to face Leeds United on September 2 as the Yorkshire clubs renew their rivalry following the Whites’ relegation, as the Hillsborough club secured promotion via the play-offs from League One last term.

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Fletcher joined Man United’s youth set-up from Bolton Wanderers and progressed into the Red Devils’ Under-21s side but left for West Ham United before making a senior appearance.

He impressed on loan at Barnsley in the second half of the 2015-16 campaign, leading to interest from Leeds and a number of other clubs as he approached the end of his contract. The forward was offered a new deal to remain at Old Trafford but turned it down and opted to join West Ham ahead of the Whites.

He played just 20 games for the Hammers before leaving for Middlesbrough a year later. He played 109 times for Boro, scoring 28 goals and providing 11 assists. He had a loan spell at Sunderland during his time at the Riverside Stadium.

The now 27-year-old from Keighley joined Watford in the summer of 2021. He has made just six appearances for the Hornets, spending time on loan at New York Red Bulls, Wigan Athletic and now Wednesday.

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A club statement from Wednesday confirmed: “Wednesday have completed the signing of Ashley Fletcher on a season-long loan from Watford. The 27-year-old striker was signed to the Hornets by Owls boss Xisco following their promotion to the Premier League in 2021.

“Starting his career in Manchester United’s youth academy, Fletcher enjoyed a loan stint with Barnsley in 2016 before making a permanent switch to West Ham. The Keighley product made a big-money move to Middlesbrough in 2017 where he scored 28 goals in 109 games on Teesside.

“Fletcher spent time on loan with Sunderland before joining Watford in 2021, he later made a temporary switch to the USA with New York Red Bulls. The forward spent last season on loan with Wigan in the Championship and now reunites with his former boss in S6.”