With Robert Snodgrass following the established pattern of key players leaving every window, fans responded to Warnock’s plans for “icing” players with enthusiasm. With the gaffer interested in strikers, rumours grew: Maynard, Bothroyd, Beckford, Mackail-Smith. Mackail-Smith was reportedly the subject of Warnock’s interest, and he didn’t rule out a move for the expensive Beckford. But the big question-mark was the future of our top scorer Ross McCormack.
Dom Matteo reminded us that McCormack’s hunt for Championship top scorer honours took place not in a promotion team, but in a side that collapsed to 14th place. Matteo said:
I heard Neil wondering where the goals would come from and it’s reaching the stage where the club are going to have to seriously consider holding on to Ross McCormack at all costs.
Warnock made no mystery of his stance:
I’d rather keep him and Ross knows that.
But it didn’t necessarily come down to Warnock. The gaffer was utterly determined to keep Robert Snodgrass, but when push came to shove Snodgrass showed a contract means nothing in modern football. But Ross McCormack has given his fans hope. While he hasn’t yet signed a new deal, he has said:
I’m just waiting on an offer of a new contract and we’ll take it from there.
I’ve said from day one, I’ve got a house here, I’ve got an eight month old baby, my missus is happy here, and my choice would be to stay at Leeds so hopefully the offer is one that I think is acceptable.
McCormack, who has showed he thrives in front of a crowd whose size and expectations have broken some players, is probably the cheapest strike option at the club. The expense of a larger contract would be peanuts compared to the transfer fees involved in capturing new targets.
Although Leeds can be hopeful of keeping McCormack, Sky Sports’ sources understand that we are still in for Craig Mackail-Smith, with a deal apparently quite close. The Scot is highly rated and although he struggled for as many goals as he’d like last season, he helped create a lot and looked good.
Meanwhile, Neil Warnock has revealed that he hopes to have a new signing – not a striker – by the Preston game. With rumours surrounding Lee Peltier, it could be one of his targets for the right-back slot.
Rodolph Austin has been granted his work permit and now awaits the paperwork before linking up with the club.
And Billy Paynter has failed to impress in his trial at Blackpool but will now have the chance of impressing Doncaster Rovers on trial. Their assistant manager is hopeful of a deal, saying:
He would be a welcome addition to the squad and we’d be delighted for him to be here.