Pearce move starts Leeds rebuilding, says Warnock


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The Leeds United manager, Neil Warnock, has secured his first signing of the summer with the capture of central defender Jason Pearce from Portsmouth.

The 24-year-old has passed his medical and signed a four-year-deal at Elland Road after an undisclosed fee was agreed with cash-strapped Pompey.

A £500,000 deal took Pearce to Fratton Park from Bournemouth at the start of this season, and the highly-rated centre-half made 44 appearances on his way to being named the club's player of the season.

He also picked up seven of the nine supporters' awards, though Portsmouth's relegation from the Championship to League one, coupled with their financial difficulties, which led to administration in February, have forced them to sell one of their most prized assets.

Warnock, who joined the club after being sacked from Queen's Park Rangers in January, said: "He's just the type I look for when I go into a club at Championship level.

"He fits the bill for everything - hunger, ability and so on. A lot of plusses.

"I tried to get him in March when I first came here but couldn't quite do it. I think he epitomises what I'm looking for in a player. He's got hunger and enthusiasm.

"I feel disappointed for the situation Portsmouth are in at the moment, but they'll come through it. We've all been through it and there's no sentiment in football.

"Here we want to build a side and as soon as you get your No1 signing in you can really start. I couldn't have got a better one than Jason. He's a lovely lad, fits in well, he has a good family, and everything's good around him.

"He'll love it here and I'm sure he'll be a fans favourite. He's not old, he's only 24, he's not a 34-year-old. He's got so much to prove, and I think we can make him a better player here."

The Portsmouth manager, Michael Appleton praised Pearce's performances for the south coast club this term. He said: "Jason did ever so well for us in what was a very difficult season.

"Going off to play for Bournemouth in the lower leagues before coming back here did him the world of good — and he took his opportunity in the Championship.

"There was interest in him from other clubs all season, which shows the kind of campaign he had for us.

"The financial situation here made it inevitable that he would be going but we wish him all the best for the future at Leeds."

Football League: Ups and downs

League One

Sheffield Wednesday will be promoted if they match Sheffield United's result. Stevenage will take the final play-off spot if they beat Bury. Anything else could let in Notts County or Carlisle.

League Two

Crawley go up if they match Tor-quay's result (unless Torquay win by seven more goals), while Southend have a slight chance. Crewe need a point to make the play-offs. Hereford need to beat Torquay to stay up and also require Barnet to fail to win.