Simon Grayson was forced to defend his transfer policy at his press conference on Thursday when he was questioned over the sale of central defender Neill Collins to Saturday’s opponents Sheffield United.
Collins was only signed on a permanent deal at Elland Road in the summer, after ending the previous season on loan from Preston North End and helping Leeds win promotion from League One. Despite appearing 21 times for the Whites in the first half of the season, he was sold to the Blades on deadline day for an undisclosed fee.
Grayson explained to the media: “We just felt that it was a good offer and it gave us the opportunity to bring one or two players in off the back of that deal. He’d gone out of the team so I told him that someone had come in for him, asked him if he fancied it and told him I couldn’t guarantee him first-team football. Like most players, they want assurances that they’ve got a real opportunity of playing every week.”
Collins is expected to line up for the Blades alongside a host of players who have featured for the Whites in recent years including Shane Lowry, Michael Doyle, Sam Vokes and Richard Cresswell.
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Leeds United will select from an almost full strength line-up for the crucial Championship clash against Sheffield United this afternoon.
Both sides are desperate for the three points for differing reasons, Leeds to maintain their promotion challenge, whilst the Blades are desperate for a win which may offer some hope at saving their Championship status.
Leeds have only long term absentee missing Patrick Kisnorbo missing from their first team squad, with Paul Connolly, Lloyd Sam and Richard Naylor all available after recent injury problems.
Leeds are though expected to be unchanged from the side that drew 0-0 at home to Ipswich Town last Saturday, although Barry Bannan may make his first start in midfield following his arrival from Aston Villa on loan. Neil Kilkenny would be expected to make way, should the Scotland international be given the nod.
Leeds winger Robert Snodgrass will return to the scene of his famous FA Cup penalty against Arsenal next weekend following his call up to the Scotland squad. The Scots have a prestige friendly against Brazil at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday 27th March. Scotland boss Craig Levein has called up both Snodgrass and loan signing Barry Bannan for the fixture. Snodgrass made his international debut from the bench in last months 3-0 victory over Northern Ireland in the Carling Nations Cup