Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Trialist Stewart set to stake claim

Leeds United trialist Michael Stewart could stake his claim for a contract in Tuesday’s reserve-team game at Lincoln City, with the Elland Road club set to decide on his future this week.

The former Manchester United and Heart of Midlothian midfielder is set to appear with United’s second string at Sincil Bank after Leeds opted to extend his trial.

Stewart is a free agent after severing his contract with Turkish club Genclerbirligi for financial reasons last month, and he linked up with United for a short period of training last week.

Leeds manager Simon Grayson has taken the chance to make a fuller assessment of Stewart who, as an unattached professional, is eligible to join an English club outside the transfer window.

The 29-year-old is expected to turn out in Lincoln on Tuesday afternoon while Leeds prepare for their Championship fixture at home to Barnsley.

Grayson admitted he was interested in adding “a couple more players” to his squad to ensure that Leeds have sufficient resources to see them through the last 15 games of the season.

United’s manager said: “He’s out of contract so if we wanted to sign him then we could. Some time next week we’ll have a look and see where we are.

“He’s got good pedigree. He learned his trade with Manchester United, went up to Hearts and then to Turkey where it didn’t work out.

“All we’ve done is take him on for a week and then extend the trial so we can have a better look at him.

“But it’s one of those opportunities where there’s nothing for him to lose. It’s the same for us.

“We’re at the stage where we probably need a couple more players to enhance the squad until the end of the season.”

Stewart made a handful of appearances for Manchester United, where he started his career as a trainee, but the bulk of the Scot’s senior outings were made for Hearts and Hibernian.

He joined Genclerbirligi last summer but left claiming he had not been paid since suffering an injury at the start of the season.

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