Friday, 24 June 2011

Grayson:I know where I need to strengthen.

Leeds United manager Simon Grayson has ruled out an influx of new players for next season and is backing the bulk of last term’s squad to carry on improving in the quest for promotion to the Premiership.Grayson, whose side finished seventh last time, after being in the top six for much of the campaign, needs to replace midfield pair Bradley Johnson and Neil Kilkenny, who have rejected new contracts. He is also looking to bring in a second senior goalkeeper following the signing of Paul Rachubka in place of Kasper Schmeichel and Shane Higgs, and is keen to strengthen a defence which leaked 70 league goals last season – the most since 2006-7 when the club finished bottom of the Championship.Grayson said: “We put a squad together to get out of League One two summers ago and added to that last year so we could compete in the Championship. A lot of players did really well and I have trust and belief that they can do well again and help us go one stage better.

“Obviously, Bradley Johnson and Neil Kilkenny have walked of their own accord, so we know we have to replace them, but it won’t be 12 or 13 coming in like before. I am not putting a figure on it but I know where I need to strengthen.”

Meanwhile, reports from the north-east suggest Alan Smith will reject any move from Leeds to take him back because he wants to complete the final year of his contract at Newcastle and regain a regular first-team place there.

Leeds-born Smith returns from holiday in America next week, with Newcastle likely to consider paying a large proportion of his wages to move him on.

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