LEEDS JUST WHAT THEY’D BE LOSING
Wanted forward holds key for Brian
BRIAN McDermott is unlikely to get much sleep in the coming week – he was pouring cold water by the bucket-load on the burning issue but make no mistake, Leeds United’s season hinges on whether Ross McCormack stays or goes.
It would be sending out the wrong message was the official view of McDermott after man-indemand McCormack made one and scored one to continue his side’s fine start to the season, but don’t be surprised if he keeps his star striker under lock and key until September 2.
The Elland Road club have rebuffed the advances of Middlesbrough on three separate occasions as Tony Mowbray looks to entice the striker to Teesside.
The final bid is thought to be around £1.5 million – no small amount to turn down for a club that is now in its tenth season away from the Premier League top table.
But McCormack proved his worth to McDermott’s plans after his speculative effort allowed Luke Varney to equalise David McGoldrick’s 11th-minute opener.
And McCormack capped a fine week for both himself – he was recalled for Scotland’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers – and his club after his 20-yard shot took a slight deflection off Cole Skuse and fizzed under Blues keeper Scott Loach.
McDermott was understandably delighted as his side maintained their unbeaten start to the Championship.
And he hailed the impact of McCormack as talks continue over a deal that will finally confirm the striker’s future at Elland Road.
He said: “Ross is a quality player who got a quality goal.
“I don’t get involved with contracts, I leave that to the owners and the player’s agent, but I want him to stay and Ross wants to stay.
“I think selling him to another Championship club sends out the wrong message.”
Town boss Mick McCarthy was left with plenty to ponder after seeing his side dominate the opening 25 minutes but fail to recover following Varney’s equaliser.
Jay Tabb had the ball in the net after just four minutes but was rightly adjudged to have been offside, but it was only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken.
McGoldrick picked up a flick header from Daryl Murphy before clinically finding the bottom corner.
The lead was almost doubled when the crossbar was struck by left-back Aaron Cresswell, whose performance showed why he continues to be linked with a number of Premier League clubs.
Then out of nothing, Leeds equalised when McCormack’s 25yard shot was deflected to Varney via Luke Chambers’ chest and the ex-Pompey man made no mistake.
The winner again came as a result of McCormack’s shoot-onsight policy as he cut inside Elliott Hewitt and let fly just three minutes after the restart.
The ball took a slight deflection off Skuse but Loach apologised to his dressing room for his part in not dealing with the skidding shot.
McCarthy revealed:“The second goal was a real poor one to concede, from the moment we gave the ball away to the shot.
“He (Loach) came in and apologised – he should have saved it and he knows that. There is no point dancing around the issue.
“But we should have put Leeds to the sword when we were on top in the first half.”
Ruling out any late dips into the transfer market, McCarthy said: “We work on finishing every day in training. I might look to change things in terms of formation, but it will only be with the players I have got now.”
Gutsy Leeds remain unbeaten in this fledgling season, despite being a goal behind in three of their four league matches.
McDermott said: “That happens in football.
“There is good resilience and desire in the dressing room and I thought we were good value for the result.”
SLICE OF FORTUNE: Luke Varney scores the equaliser for Leeds