Club Focus – Leeds United – Wycombe bring the Whites down to earth

Leeds United’s players were unable to extend their winning streak to six games in all competitions after failing to beat Wycombe Wanderers at Elland Road. Just over 24 000 supporters were on hand and expecting Leeds to dish out a beating to the visitors but were left disappointed to see their side struggle to even obtain a point against a struggling team.

The Whites took an early lead through Jonny Howson and took the 1-0 advantage to the dressing room but failed to increase the score in the second-half prior to capitulating to a leveler from the visitors. The point was no more than Leeds deserved as the visiting side was able to match Leeds all over pitch with determination and tackling. Manager Simon Grayson must have been disappointed with the performance of his side but chose to give Wycombe full credit for their committed display. The match was being touted as the farewell stage for the club top scorer Jermaine Beckford as reports linking him with a move away from Elland Road continue to be discussed by the Press and various media outlets.

Beckford will in all likelihood remain in the headlines up until the closure of the transfer window as Newcastle United have been actively pursuing the striker while Sunderland and Wolverhampton Wanderers have joined the list of interested parties in the player’s signing. The Magpies have apparently been the most serious of parties as they had a third bid for Beckford turned down. Grayson made it clear Beckford will remain with Leeds unless the asking price is met and the transfer request placed by the top scorer will not affect the situation. Grayson is adamant about keeping his goal poacher as long as possible in order to help the promotion cause and try to secure as many points in the long road towards the Championship.

The club’s directors are holding out for an acceptable offer believed to be close to the £2m figure as they know Leeds must turn in 20% of the fee received by the club to Wealdstone. The Whites are preparing for life without Beckford and have reportedly eyed Simeon Jackson as the ideal replacement for the goal scoring machine. The Canadian international plays for League One side Gillingham and he has notched 10 goals for his club this season. Jackson was born in Jamaica but has Canadian citizenship and has represented Canada on eight occasions scoring one goal. He has a decent scoring record for both of the clubs he has played for so far. Jackson scored 40 goals in 88 appearances for Rushden & Diamonds, while he has found the back of the net on 31 occasions in 81 matches for current club Gillingham.

The Canadian striker is perhaps an unknown entity when compared to Beckford yet he has a decent scoring record to back up his credentials and supporters must understand Jermaine Beckford was not a household name when he signed from Wealdstone. In any case, it is still a far from done deal as Beckford remains a Leeds player. Comparing the two strikers would be difficult as Beckford plays for a bigger club and has been in the spotlight more often but Jackson is a few years younger than the Leeds hitman and has both potential and time to emulate and perhaps overcome the scoring record of the attacker he is likely to replace at Elland Road.

Another rumour which has plagued Elland Road recently pertains to the status of Grayson who has been linked with the vacant seat at Burnley. Grayson has acknowledged he is flattered by the interest from the Premier League side but insists he is happy at Leeds and feels the club has the ambition which matches his own. The manager pointed out to the almost 25 000 fans who braved the cold and brutal weather to attend the home game against Wycombe as further indication of the size of the club. Grayson is a firm believer in the potential at the club and feels Leeds United will be back in the top flight sooner rather than later.

Grayson wants to be part of the long-term future of the side he has worked diligently to improve and mold into a cohesive and efficient unit. The Whites are currently six points ahead of Norwich City who occupy the second position and nine points ahead of third place Charlton who have stuttered as of late. The manager will be looking to protect and increase the lead as Leeds travel to struggling Exeter City for their next match.

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