Wanted for­ward holds key for Brian

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Dave Good­en­ham To comment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

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

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