Leeds have today signed trialist striker Andy Gray and Jamie Ashdown. Warnock talked of the need for game changers as well as squad players a few days ago, and Gray and Ashdown will add some bulk to a squad that looks set to lose a string of transfer listed players including Billy Paynter and Andy O’Brien.
Gray (pictured), nephew of Leeds legend Eddie Gray, began his career at Leeds, making 22 league appearances between 1995 and 1998, before signing for Nottingham Forest. The determined 34 year old scored 21 goals in 95 appearances for Barnsley most recently, from 2009-12, and came to Thorp Arch to regain fitness before a mooted move to Bradford. Gray impressed the management at Leeds, with Mick Jones revealing he felt the 34 year old was the 3rd fittest player at the club at this point in pre-season and was here to “prove a point”. Neil Warnock is well known for liking a lot of strikers in his squads, and with the gaffer revealing he wanted 8 more players last weekend, Gray is unlikely to be the last striker signed, especially if Ross McCormack was sold, but his determination to prove himself to Leeds will make him a nice bonus for Warnock’s new squad.
Jamie Ashdown’s youth career began at Reading where he made 13 appearances between 1998-2004. The bulk of the keeper’s career was spent at Portsmouth where he made 109 appearances since 2004, playing the full season for Pompey in their first season in the Championship, and 21 games last season as he became the only keeper at the club in the second half of the year. Ashdown will add cover for Paddy Kenny, with the extended 7-man subs bench this season allowing Neil Warnock to finally name a keeper on his bench regularly.
Ashdown has come from a recent trial at Middlesbrough, with Tony Mowbray looking for a value-for-money covering keeper for the next campaign. Ashdown told Boro media:
In football, players and managers move on – it’s part of the career; I’m still hungry, though. I had eight years at Pompey and to have another couple would have been fantastic.
But it’s a make or break stage of my career. I just have to move on and get on with things.
Meanwhile Leeds have agreed a fee for Rodolph Austin with SK Brann, with the Jamaican midfielder being interviewed in the Brann dressing room on the end of an era at the club. Austin will take a medical at the club some time this week, though the date of finalization could depend on other deals.