The display against Exeter City on Saturday, followed by the one against Darlington last night showed the differences bewteen the Leeds United side with and without Jermaine Beckford.

Although the side didn’t really struggle last night and cruised into the second round without too many problems, the absence of Beckford’s goal scoring ability couldn’t have been more noticable. Mike Grella took too long infront of goal on several occasions and lacked the confidence to strike first time. Had he done so I reckon he could well have got himself on the scoresheet. Enoch Showunmi meanwhile did OK and should be congratulated for his goal but the one he sliced wide when one on one with the keeper was cringe-worthy.

Had Jermaine Beckford been playing last night I have no doubts whatsoever that the scoreline would have been much different. One player doesn’t make a team, but Jermaine Beckford makes us promotion contenders.

Simon Grayson’s continual efforts to ensure the fans that Beckford will be going nowhere do little to comfort me. His absence through injury last night left many wondering if he’d been left out to avoid getting cup-tied and the continual rumours linking him with a move to WBA or Wolves aren’t helping either.

The continued silence from Jermaine Beckford concerns me too. When you have an ego as big as he does, silence is an unusual trait, yet he’s barely said anything publically since the end of last season. What happened to the Jermaine Beckford of old? The one that asked Sky Sports “What shirt am I wearin’ bruv’?” He’s always been an outspoken character and seems to revel in the media spotlight so why no interviews?

If it is Jermaine Beckford’s desire to leave Elland Road, then faking an injury wouldn’t be too hard for him. Simon Grayson said he’d picked up a ‘knock’, which has always struck me as the strandard footballers excuse when they simply can’t be bothered playing. Anyone else would run it off, but in the world of professional footballers it seems to be a week laid in bed. It’s an hard life!

The longer the speculation continues and the more twists that add to the story the less convinced I am that Beckford will be with us on September the 1st. Even when he scored the two goals against Exeter the Leeds faithful were cynical and some accused him of ‘playing for the scouts’. The cries of ‘sign your contract for the lads’ made the Leeds fans feelings clear, they want him at Elland Road and want him to help us achieve promotion. Let’s hope he feels the same.