Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Whites target Birmingham City ace

LEEDS United boss Simon Grayson is intensifying his efforts to bring in new recruits for Saturday’s home derby with Doncaster and has been linked with a move for Birmingham City’s highly-rated teenage midfielder Jordon Mutch.The Whites endured a sticky end to February, taking just two points from three Championship matches, and their hopes of a top-two finish suffered a hefty blow after Saturday’s comprehensive defeat at promotion rivals Swansea City.That loss stretched the gap between the clubs to eight points but Grayson is hoping an injection of fresh blood will galvanise his side’s promotion bid and has enquired about the youngster’s availability.The England Under-20 schemer enjoyed a sparkling loan spell at Championship rivals Watford earlier this term, firing five goals in 21 appearances for the Hornets before returning to St Andrews at the turn of the year.Several other Championship rivals have also spoken to the Carling Cup winners about taking Mutch on loan, with Watford in pole position to re-sign the 19-year-old after his spell at Vicarage Road.
Blues boss Alex McLeish rates the Derbyshire-born player, who made his league debut in their Premiership clash at Manchester United on January 22, as a potential future star with the youngster penning a new four-year-deal weeks ago.The Midlanders were reluctant to let the playmaker go out on loan again until he had signed a new contract but with that issue resolved he is set to head out for game time and experience.
Mutch also had a loan spell at weekend opponents Doncaster last term, blasting a spectacular goal on his debut as a sub in a 4-1 home loss to Middlesbrough.
Grayson’s efforts to bring in a new engine-room recruit ahead of the weekend clash with the second-placed Swans drew a blank, with the subsequent loss heightening the need for reinforcements .And the Whites boss has vowed to step up his attempts to bolster his troops, with the name of Manchester City midfielder Michael Johnson still persistently linked with the club.

Meanwhile, the Whites boss has issued a defiant “Write us off at your peril” message to any divisional rivals writing off United’s promotion prospects, with he and his troops keen to move on from Saturday’s humbling in Wales and provide a positive response against Doncaster.Grayson said: “There are 12 games to go and there are still an awful lot of points to play for.“If people want to write us off, that’s up to them. But we’ve lost two in 21 (matches) and now we’re challenging the players to maintain that.“We’re capable of going on another run. Just because we’ve lost (at Swansea), we can’t be ruled out – if people want to, so be it – but we have a great opportunity.

“We can get the results to secure a top-six place at the least.”

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