Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Gradel on Target for Leeds

Leeds included three trialists in their squad at Rochdale tonight but it was the club’s Player of the Year Max Gradel whose first-half goal made it three pre-season wins out of three.

An unnamed left winger (Believed to be Alexandre Mendy) made the starting line-up, and included among the substitutes were free agents JLoyd Samuel and Isaiah Osbourne.

Former Bolton and Aston Villa left back Samuel, 30, spent the final month of last season on loan at Cardiff, while defensive midfielder Osbourne, 23, has been released by Villa and has been on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough.

United opened the scoring on the half hour. Rochdale lost possession, enabling Billy Paynter to set up Gradel, who switched the ball from right foot to left and shot past keeper Matt Duke into the bottom corner of the net.

Missing from the Leeds squad were Robert Snodgrass, Lloyd Sam and Patrick Kisnorbo, who collected knocks last week in Scotland, while Luciano Becchio, Davide Somma and Andy O’Brien, who missed the Scotland games through injury, were again absent.

Gradel and former Portsmouth midfielder Michael Brown were to the fore as United bossed the first half and were well worth their half-time lead, though Leeds keeper Paul Rachubka had to palm a smart shot from Andrew Tuttle over the bar.

JLoyd Samuel was among a clutch of substitutions made by manager Simon Grayson at the start of the second half, the unnamed trialist being one of the players taken off. Osbourne had to wait until just after the hour to take over from Jonny Howson in central midfield.

Brown took the captain’s arm band from Howson and the pair are set to be rivals for the skipper’s role in the new season. Then, when Brown was substituted, Leigh Bromby became Leeds’ third player to undertake the captain’s duties.

With both sides making regular substitutions, there was little pattern to the game and United comfortably kept a clean sheet.

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