HEAD COACH Thomas Christiansen said goalkeeper Andy Lonergan would be welcomed back at Leeds United with “open arms” after the collapse of his deadline day move to Sunderland.
United’s no2 shotstopper Lonergan was set to sign for the Black Cats on transfer deadline day but the deal fell through on Wednesday afternoon. Lonergan’s representatives say the transfer broke down between the two clubs, rather than between Lonergan and Sunderland.
But Christiansen insisted that the 34-year-old had merely decided to stay with Leeds and the experienced goalkeeper will be back in the Whites squad for this afternoon’s Championship clash with Cardiff City at Elland Road.
Christiansen quipped: “He spoke to their coach and knowing that he had me here he decided to stay with me!
“Finally he decided that he preferred to stay with us instead of Sunderland and here we receive him with open arms. He’s in the squad.
“We are just happy that he finally decided to be in Leeds.”
United were set to hand an increased opportunity to one of the club’s young development squad goalkeepers following Lonergan’s proposed switch to Sunderland rather than sign a replacement. Bailey Peacock-Farrell and young Polish custodian Kamil Miazek were in line to battle it out for a place on the Whites bench behind No1 goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald. Christiansen said: “If he (Andy) had have gone then we would have had the young goalkeepers from the Academy.
“If I have the possibility to choose myself I would prefer to have Andy on the bench and this is the situation I have now.”
No1 goalkeeper Wiedwald kept his 11th clean sheet of the season during Tuesday’s goalless draw at Hull City and Christiansen has been impressed with his side’s defensive displays.
He added: “In the defensive work we are doing quite well. We need a little bit more punch up front. We need to create more opportunities. If we create one and put it in it’s good if it’s enough to take three points.”