Rumours surfaced early in the morning that a fee with Burnley had been agreed for Chris Wood.
Later in the afternoon he released a 'note' on Twitter stating; "Due to strong interest from a premier league team, the ongoing discussions with the club, and given it has been my ambition to play at the highest level I don't feel it is right that I play today. I wish the team all the best and hope the lads can pick up the three points.
Absolutely disgraceful that a player can withdraw from a squad like this. Wood is expected to join Burnley in the next couple of days, 'undisclosed fee' anybody!
Sunderland v Leeds
Team News: Ekuban replaces Wood, Cooper replaces Shaughnessy.
Team: Wiedwald, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper(c), Anita, O'Kane, Phillips
Alioski, Hernandez, Siaz, Ekuban
Subs: Roofe for Hernandez (25), Dallas for Ekuban (62), Klitch (81)
Surprisingly, after what must have been a trying situation within the walls of a Sunderland hotel. Leeds became the first team in the Championship to beat relegated Sunderland and on their own 'patch', it was a worthy win too, with goals in each half, Samu Siaz in the first and substitute Stuart Dallas near the end
At around half four everybody knew that a certain player would be absent, but I'll not dwell on that because this report is about the eighteen players who WANTED to wear the team's colours.
Sunderland created the first opportunity of the match inside five minutes, Brendan Galloway played a neat ball right across the face of the Leeds goal and Lewis Grabban was inches from getting on the end of it. A blocked Vernon Anita clearance led to another chance for the home side, but Pontus Jansson made a fine block, to stop James Vaughan’s goal-ward effort. Leeds continued to get into the match after the opening stages, Ezgjan Alioski did well on the flank and Caleb Ekuban found room in the Sunderland area, but he was unable to get his shot away.
The Whites then went close from a free-kick when Alioski was felled, Kalvin Phillips struck the set-piece from 30 yards, but he was denied by Jason Steele. Some fine defending from the returning Liam Cooper prevented Sunderland from taking the lead, Vaughan played Grabban into the box, who cut inside before firing at goal, but the Leeds defender headed the ball on to the crossbar and away to safety on the line.
Two minutes after Grabban’s chance, Leeds took the lead, Alioski played Samuel Saiz into space in the Sunderland box and the Spaniard superbly found the bottom left corner, netting his first league goal for the club. Leeds had another big chance soon after, Saiz did really well to get to the byline and he crossed for Pablo Hernandez, but he couldn’t direct his header on target. Alioski then went through on goal, he drove forward, but could only drag his shot from the edge of the box wide, late in the half Siaz celebrates number oneCattermole then looked to equalise for the home team, he struck on goal from distance, forcing Wiedwald into a good save.
Siaz celebrates number one.
Sunderland enjoyed more possession in the second half and looked slightly less shaky at the back – particularly after Adam Matthews had replaced Galloway at left-back - but their final ball was poor and they could not break down the Leeds defence. At the other end, Alioski brought a good save out of Steele with a free-kick from 25 yards. Grayson had already brought Wahbi Khazri on early in the second half, and with 15 minutes to go he sent on teenager Joel Asoro as Sunderland desperately went in search of an equaliser.
But within a couple of minutes, Leeds scored the second goal which killed the game, Ndong allowed Saiz too much space inside the area on the right and he crossed to Dallas out beyond the far post, and he planted a firm header past Steele from around eight yards out. Jones missed a easy chance at the far post to even deny Sunderland a consolation goal.
Sometimes in a season there are moments that can be key, winning at Sunderland might that 'moment'.
A superb display by all in the blue and yellow of Leeds
Band of Brothers. Picture by David Watkins.
Thomas Christiansen: “We have had a difficult couple of days, but the response was perfect and one that I expected of my team, of which I am very satisfied with the performance of my side. The most important thing is getting the three points and keeping a clean sheet is another good thing, it is the third in a row so the team is getting consistent at the back and we also managed to score two nice goals. Everyone played a good game, there was a lot of pressure on Caleb Ekuban to replace Chris Wood, but he did it perfectly, he made good runs and kept the ball really well which was good for the team. I said we can expect a lot from Samuel Saiz, but he needs time, he still needs to improve his fitness, but he is on the right track. I am very pleased with the start to the campaign, it was a good test to prove that we are a good team."
"We played against a strong opponent who wants to be challenging at the top end of the table and this was our moment to prove we will also fight for that. We are planning without Chris Wood now and we are expecting a busy end to the transfer window."
Simon Grayson: “I don’t think you could fault the players' effort, commitment and work rate because they were going right to the final whistle. I couldn’t have asked much more from the players given how hard they have worked.”
Andrew Butterwick's blog on the superb victory at The Stadium of Light
Thank you Andrew and my thoughts are with you.
Social media concentrated more on the performance of the fourteen that wanted to play rather than the one that didn't, notable mentions for the 'wall' Jansson and Cooper with help from Ayling and Anita. Midfielder's Samu Siaz, Ezgjan Alioski, Phillips and O'Kane but it's pretty hard to not give all the team a solid seven with the ones mentioned above getting eight's and Alioski a nine.
Christiansen on Wood: “I cannot tell you everything I know but it’s right that he had an offer, a very good offer (new contract). He rejected it and if he rejected that offer it means his mind is not on Leeds. I only count on players who want to fight for the shirt, the badge and their team-mates. That was behind the decision not to have him in the squad. He travelled because there was a possibility he might play.”
Heidi Haigh's Monday treat, her blog and photographs from the trip to Sunderland.
Thank you Heidi. Enjoy your break.
Chris Wood joins Burnley for a undisclosed fee, shame he will be remembered more for the way he left than the goals he scored.
Statement by Leeds United FC on the sale of Wood;
"For the past month we have tried to negotiate a new three year contract with Chris Wood. We offered the player strong financial terms including reasonable exit clauses, lower than the fee we demanded for a transfer this summer, should the club not reach the Premier League in a certain timeframe. However the player’s preference was to leave Leeds United and as he only had one year left on his contract after this season we had to protect the club and ensure we did not sell Chris below our valuation.
We want players at Leeds who consider us a big club and we want players who are committed to our vision to return to the Premier League. Supporters can rest assured that monies generated from the sale of Chris Wood will be reinvested into adding to the 12 signings we have made already.
Thank you for your continued support.
Leeds United are advising any fans who have ‘Wood 9’ printed on the back of a 2017/18 home or away replica shirt that they are able to return the item to our club shop and exchange it for a new blank replica shirt. A superb gesture by the club and it's owners.
On this day in 1995, Tony Yeboah scored THAT goal vs Liverpool
Thomas Christiansen on the Carabao Cup tie with Newport County: "If we pass this round there's a chance to go on & play a very good team...but we can't underestimate them"
On incomings: Not being drawn into how many, but they are expected
Injury / team news: Ekuban(foot injury) and Hernandez(hip injury) both out of the game with Newport, Hernandez hopefully fit for Forest on Saturday, Doukara in contention for tomorrow's game.
On Bridcutt's impending move to Nottingham Forest: Would have liked him to stay and fight for a shirt but understands why the player wants first team football.
The only time we met competitively
Leeds 1 Newport County 3
FA Cup 3rd around 08/01/49
Leeds will hope to continue with their impressive start to the 2017/18 season with a game the Division Two side.
Thomas Christainsen's problems seem to be increasing injury wise. Caleb Ekuban the latest to ruled out through injury, Souleymane Doukara and Kemar Roofe are now the only fit strikers in the first team squad, so it is imperative that another striker is brought in before the weekend.
Robert Green will probably replace Felix Wiedwald in goal with Connor Shaughnessy partnering Liam Cooper or Pontus Jansson.
I do hope that not too many changes are made to the team that played so well at Sunderland but with Nottingham Forest coming up on Saturday there will probably be a few.
As expected Liam Bridcutt joins Nottingham Forest for a 'undisclosed fee'. He could make his debut against Leeds on Saturday.
All the best Liam, at least you left with dignity and class, the club commented: Everyone at Leeds United would like to thank Liam for his hard work and we wish him well for the future.
Bridcutt made 53 appearances for the club.
Connor Shaughnessy: "It's been a crazy couple of months. Been really happy with how it went and looking forward to more opportunities in the team. It's been a crazy couple of months. Been really happy with how it went and looking forward to more opportunities in the team."
Leeds v Newport County
Carabao Cup 2nd Round
Team News: Nine changes, Green, Shaughnessy, Borthwick-Jackson, Klitch, Vieira, Gomez, Dallas, Roofe and a debut for Eoghan Stokes. Paudie O'Connor and Mallik Wilks start on the bench
Team: Green, Anita, Shaughnessy, Ayling, Borthwick-Jackson, Klitch, Vieira,
Gomez, Stokes, Dallas, Roofe
Subs used: Cooper for Anita(60), Siaz for Stokes(66), Alioski for Roofe(78)
Leeds stuttered in a largely forgettable first half and their Division Two visitors were worthy of grabbing the lead with a goal from Labadie, his shot from distance took a deflection, Rob Green seemed to have covered but went under his body and off a post into the net. Leeds were level just before the break, Ayling's determination setting up Kemar Roofe after a corner was half cleared. 1-1 at the break. Thomas Christiansen could not have been happy with the efforts of his charges.
Whatever had been said in the break Leeds were quicker, more mobile and in front within minutes of the restart, Kemar Roofe grabbing his second, after Stuart Dallas' cross wasn't cleared. The striker netted his third on sixty five minutes, spectacularly 'bicycle kick' from a cross from Luke Ayling, just before his third goal he'd hit the bar with a deft chip with the keeper beaten. Substitute Samu Siaz made it four in the seventy eighth minute, Vieira rubbed salt in Newport's wounds with a last minute fifth goal for Leeds.
A harder than expected outing for the men in white and gold but in the end the class of Samu Siaz and the finishing of Kemar Roofe was enough to see Leeds into round three. A great effort by Newport County who did their club proud by their performance and they never gave in until the final minute of injury time.
One, two, three. The Roofe is on fire!
Thomas Christiansen: "They were nice goals, but more than nice, they were important for the team. We know the quality of Roofe and that he can play up front. He has done that before, we knew what he could give and in his first appearance as a striker (under Christiansen), to score three goals is very good.
"I’m very satisfied with the result. We changed it from 1-0 to 5-1 and I’m pleased with that. We reached our goal which was to pass through to the next round. We didn’t do things right in the first half and that’s where I’m a little disappointed, the response in the second half was good. We deserved the win. Drawing at half-time meant it was easier in the second half but my speech (in the dressing room) was clear because we didn’t do what I wanted the team to do. In the second half we improved.”
Newport County manager Mike Flynn: "I thought it was a bit flattering for Leeds, but you could see the quality the Championship side have got where they take their chances and anticipate things in the box. There were some things that concerned me and I've just said that to the players, but we played some fantastic football and created a lot of good chances and you need to be prepared and put your neck on the line and get on the end of one."
Souleymane Doukara has parted company with the club after his contract was terminated by the club, he has joined Turkish side Osmanlispor.
Doukara was in his last year of his contract with the club. He goes with our good wishes and who will ever forget the goal in the link below
Doukara's unbelievable strike last season versus Nottingham Forest.
Goodbye and good luck 'The Duke'
David Watkins review of the 5-1 win over Newport County at Elland Road
Thank you David.
Pontus Jansson is picked in the Sweden squad for the upcoming games with Bulgaria and Belarus. Stuart Dallas was also selected by Northern Ireland for their games with San Marino and Czech Republic.
In the draw, made in Beijing, China for Round 3 of the Carabao Cup: Burnley v Leeds.
A interesting tie that pits two ex snakes against us (Taylor, Wood), looking forward to a trip to the ground that time forgot!
Thomas Christiansen expects Vernon Anita to be fit for the game with Nottingham Forest at the weekend, Pablo Hernandez is a major doubt due to his hip injury. He will be assessed before the team travel down to Nottingham.
Leeds sign 19-year old dutch forward Jay-Roy Grot on a 4-year deal, for an undisclosed fee from NEC Nijmegen. He is expected be in squad for the game with Nottingham Forest.
Speaking about the move, Grot said: “I am very happy, this is such a big club and this is a big step in my career, I am delighted to signed for Leeds United.
Mallik Wilks has extended his contract until the end of the 2018/2019 campaign. He has also joined Accrington Stanley for a season's loan to gain experience.
Norwich City are rumoured to be interested in Stuart Dallas, a late, if unwelcome bid is expected before the transfer deadline by our 'nemesis' club.
Last time we met
Nottingham Forest 3 Leeds 1
Leeds 2 Nottingham Forest 0
The last time Leeds travelled to Forest they had started the season poorly, a 3-1 defeat at the end of August last season left Leeds in the bottom part of the Championship table.
Turn the clock forward twelve months and there is a different 'beast' travels down to the City Ground, unbeaten, a new squad and a very optimistic set of fans following them.
New signing Jay-Roy Grot may be involved in the squad, the tall, muscular striker will probably be a option from the bench. Vernon Anita will probably be fit for the game, but Pablo Hernandez is rated only 50/50. Kemar Roofe's three goals on Tuesday will do his hopes of keeping the main strikers role no harm, Wieldwald, Jansson and Cooper should return to the defence.
Ex-Leeds captain Liam Bridcutt is expected to be involved in the Nottingham Forest squad for the game.
Most of Forest's games have finished with them winning by the odd goal, Wednesday's 3-2 cup victory over Newcastle being the latest. A draw wouldn't be the worse result for Leeds. 1-1.
Vurnon Anita: "I think for myself my best position is midfield, but I am happy to play - left back, right back or even striker. There is a lot of ambition at the club, we want to get promoted. We need to keep improving."
Christiansen on Grot: "I don't want to say it's a substitution for Wood, they have other characteristics that I like. He is in contention to start at Forest.
On Transfers: Green no comment till after the game, but will only allow him to leave if a replacement is added to the squad, Diagouraga is leaving, Gestede "Ask Victor (Orta) !, Stuart Dallas very much part of his plans "I need a footballer like Stuart."
Injuries: Hernandez is fit for the game with Forest, Gaetano Berardi and Mathew Pennington back in training after the international break, Caleb Ekuban is recovering but no date given for his return.
Toumani Diagouraga's contract is cancelled by the club, Barnsley, MK Dons and Bristol City are rumoured to be interested in the midfielder. He made twenty appearances for Leeds
Good luck in the future 'Dave'
A pretty impressive week, two wins, seven goals scored and a impressive young new signing brought into the club.
Leeds legend keeping the faith! Always a nice thing to see former players still in love with our club.
Onward and Upwards
By Keith Ingham