Sixth placed Leeds United yesterday confirmed the loan signing of promising Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan in a deal that is to run until the end of the season. Having seen their side register their first win in four league outings this weekend – an emphatic 5-2 rout of Doncaster – Leeds fans will now be hoping that the Scottish midfielder can recapture the form that saw him play a vital role in Blackpool’s march to promotion just twelve months ago.
As Leeds pulled off something of a transfer coup, play-off rivals Burnley suffered a major blow as manager Eddie Howe confirmed that Charlie Austin – a seven figure arrival from Swindon in January – will miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. “He did it [on] Monday and is due to go under the knife,” said Howe. “He will be out for the season but should be back as good as new for the first day of pre-season. It is really bad luck for the lad because we have all got high hopes for him here. But we have to take a long-term view on it and protect him by getting the operation done now and getting him right for next season.”
Injury to Austin, who had failed to find the net in his first four matches for the Turf Moor outfit, leaves Jay Rodriguez and Chris Iwelumo as the only two fit first-team strikers at the Lancashire club. Howe will now have to hope Iwelumo can find the form that saw him head the league scoring charts earlier in the season if his side are to continue their push for a play-off berth.
In League One, Bristol Rovers have parted company with manager Dave Penney – just two months after having hired him. Rovers sit 23rd in the table, five points adrift of safety, having picked up just two wins in the thirteen games which Penney oversaw. An online statement released by the club read: “We are all very disappointed and sad that the appointment of Dave Penney has not brought us the results and change of direction that we have been looking for. With 12 games left there is still a chance to get ourselves out of this situation and try and secure our League One status.” Captain Stuart Campbell will now assume the role of caretaker manager as The Pirates attempt to defy the odds and stave off the threat of relegation.