Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Football League

Grayson plays down promotion demands from chairman


Leeds manager Simon Grayson played down chairman Ken Bates' promotion demands after watching his side's winter wobble continue with a 1-0 defeat at Derby.

United have been a top-six fixture for most of the season after narrowly missing out on the play-offs last time out, but a run of three games without a win, the latter of which came at Pride Park today thanks to Jamie Ward's second-half goal, is putting that under threat.

Bates has regularly spoken of Grayson's need to deliver a Premier League return this season, with the club's fans countering with regular protests against the veteran owner and what they perceive to be a lack of investment in the team.

Grayson, though, is not concerned by the growing rumblings, and is adamant the pressure from above is no greater than what he puts on himself.

"(There is) always pressure as manager of Leeds United and expectancy from everybody. I put pressure on myself," Grayson, who took charge of his first Leeds game three years ago today, said.

"He (Bates) has given me three years so far, two years more than most managers get throughout the country. We're still in the top half ready to kick on. I know what's required at this football club because it means a lot to me and I'll be doing my best to get us to kick on."

With the transfer window looming large, Bates' resolve to back his manager in the market will be tested, and Grayson says targets have already been identified.

"I've had meetings with him and identified the targets we'd like to bring in and hopefully we can once the window opens," he added.

"Every chairman in the Championship wants to get promoted. Obviously, with the size of club that Leeds are there's a need to be back in the Premier League. We are still in a decent position to try and crack on for the rest of the season and one or two players will help.

"There are different ways of being given money. There's wages, loan deals and transfers and we're looking to bring people in.

"We're hopeful. When you do it in January is another question. We're working hard to do that. It could be anything, I like to do my business in private and we're trying to get the players we want without alerting other clubs. We're not going to put a figure on what we're looking to spend."

While Grayson was left to answer questions about off-the-field matters, opposite number Nigel Clough was able to reflect on a job well done.

Just a second win in nine was secured by a first clean sheet in 15, with goalkeeper Frankie Fielding excelling amid a late Leeds rally, that also saw John Brayford hack a Paddy Kisnorbo header off the line.

"I thought the performance, all round, was a proper team one," Clough said.

"The players were fighting for each other against one of the strongest sides in the division. It's ironic that we had more defending to do than in the last four games, and that's the one where we've kept a clean sheet.

"The players knew it (pressure) was coming and would have to deal with it, and did, with proper blocks, no deflections and a couple of great saves.

"It was a good, old-fashioned Boxing Day ding-dong with a lot of effort and endeavour from both teams."