Chris­tiansen in­sists Wood stays

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Steven Chicken

LEEDS boss Thomas Chris­tiansen left no doubt that the club must keep hold of star striker Chris Wood – a pri­or­ity made clearer by his side’s goal­less draw against ten-man Pre­ston.

Last sea­son’s top scorer in the di­vi­sion, Kiwi striker Wood was re­port­edly the sub­ject of a bid from a Premier League club.

But Chris­tiansen said: “There can come many bids; of course, he’s a good striker. But if I want him to stay, if we want to achieve some­thing this sea­son, you can­not sell your best play­ers.

“I haven’t talked to the club but I imag­ine that they are as am­bi­tious as I am, and if we want to go up we need to keep the play­ers and also we need to sign good play­ers.

“If they gave me £200m like for Ney­mar, per­haps we could talk about that.”

Mean­while, Pre­ston boss Alex Neil was pleased with his side’s re­solve as they sur­vived play­ing 30 min­utes with ten men, but still came away with a sour taste at Leeds’ ticket prices.

“I think the gen­eral price [in the di­vi­sion] is any­where be­tween £20 and £28,” he said.

“So to go £44, if you’ve got a fam­ily of four and you’re a nor­mal work­ing fam­ily, that’s a lot of un­nec­es­sary money.

“We cer­tainly don’t charge away fans com­ing to see the game that at our place, so as far as I’m con­cerned it’s wrong.”

Those North End fans who did shell out at least got to see their side on top for an hour, with Alan Browne wast­ing the best chance of the first half and Greg Cun­ning­ham hav­ing a headed ef­fort ruled out for off­side.

But in terms of chances and ini­tia­tive, the game was en­tirely turned by the dis­missal of Pre­ston’s hold­ing mid­fielder Ben Pear­son for a sec­ond yel­low card three min­utes later.

Neil said: “You can prob­a­bly separate the game into two parts; when we were at 11 men each, we were the bet­ter side. We were the most dom­i­nant side, we moved the ball bet­ter, won our bat­tles, and we cre­ated bet­ter chances.

“Up to that point ev­ery­thing was go­ing well, and then ob­vi­ously we got a man sent off and we had to adopt a dif­fer­ent ap­proach.”

Pear­son’s dis­missal al­lowed Leeds to pour for­ward and Wood went clean through off Pablo Her­nan­dez’s pass, but Chris Maxwell made a won­der­ful low save.

Carabao Cup hat-trick hero – and spit­ting sus­pect – Samuel Saiz had a chance off the bench, but his pow­er­less header was easy for Maxwell.

The keeper’s next call to ac­tion was not so sim­ple; sub­sti­tute Stu­art Dal­las forced a good stop with a header from a nar­row an­gle, and Maxwell re­cov­ered quickly to keep out Her­nan­dez’s half-vol­ley.

The Leeds faith­ful greeted the an­nounce­ment of five min­utes’ in­jury time with a huge roar, but by the end they were glad to come out un­scathed af­ter Josh Har­rop’s shot was de­flected onto the cross­bar.

It was the first time Leeds had failed to score since 17 April, hav­ing scored seven goals in their open­ing two games this sea­son, but Chris­tiansen said: “It was fair.

“We had a tough game again against Pre­ston, a good team, a very or­gan­ised team who live it with pas­sion.

“When you play for that amount of time with one player more and do not win, it is an op­por­tu­nity lost.”

PIC­TURES: PSI/Ian Lyall

SO CLOSE: Pre­ston North End de­fender Greg Cun­ning­ham can hardly be­lieve it af­ter his shot looks over line but no goal is given

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