When entering Leeds by car yesterday there was a message stating that drivers must slow down because there was debris strewn across their path. That warning was in fact not a million miles away from the problems facing Neil Warnock, manager of the city's football club. Before he begins to think about a tilt at promotion to the Premier League, off-the-field obstacles must be dealt with.
The flying debris this week was news of a collapse in takeover talks with prospective Middle East-based investors, leaving supporters questioning whether the money needed to challenge the Championship's top six will be forthcoming. The route was far easier in the first round of the League Cup, however. Leeds United ended up coasting to victory against a Shrewsbury Town side who were let down by goalkeeper Chris Weale. A promising start by his team was undone when he poorly parried Rodolph Austin's drive, with Luciano Becchio the grateful recipient.
One goal quickly became two after new signing Luke Varney capitalised on some puzzling defending, played a quick one-two with Ross McCormack, and tapped home. It was then finished as a contest when Weale failed to react quickly enough to a timid effort from David Norris, another new arrival, and McCormack stroked in a penalty soon after.
"That result is just what we needed," Warnock said. "It's given all the new lads an opportunity to get on the pitch and play. We've managed to get 10 players through the door but we are still a bit short."
McCormack was replaced in the second half by El-Hadji Diouf, who agreed a non-contract deal on Friday despite being labelled a "sewer rat" by Warnock after an FA Cup game in 2011. "I'm going to get stick about this but I met him, we ended up talking and really enjoyed it," Warnock said. "We're not blessed with a lot of money at the moment so it fitted."
Leeds United (4-3-3): Kenny; Byram, Peltier, Pearce, White; Green (Poleon, 76), Norris, Austin; Varney (Brown, 86), McCormack (Diouf, 76), Becchio.
Shrewsbury Town (4-4-2): Weale; Purdie, Grandison, Hector, Jacobson (Wildig, 80); Parry, Summerfield (Hall, 80), Richards, Wright; Gornell (Bradshaw, 86), Morgan .
Referee M Heywood.
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