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Football League

Poyet and Boothroyd frontrunners for Leeds post

Gustavo Poyet and Adrian Boothroyd have both been linked with the vacancy at Leeds United after Gary McAllister was dismissed by the Elland Road club yesterday morning.

Leeds lost for the fifth consecutive game at MK Dons on Saturday, a game attended by the chairman Ken Bates. Bates is unable to attend all Leeds matches because of his foreign residence status but he had played down the possible significance of his presence in Milton Keynes. It transpires that Bates did not admire what he saw.

Bates appointed McAllister as a replacement for Dennis Wise in January. McAllister, a former Leeds hero, won back many fans' sympathies with his brand of football but lost out to Doncaster Rovers in the play-off final at Wembley.

A new, lucrative television deal for the Championship next season means that League One clubs are desperate for promotion and Leeds's 3-1 loss to MK Dons left them ninth in the table,11 points off Roberto Di Matteo's side, who are in the second automatic promotion spot. Leicester City, first, are 15 points ahead of Leeds and travel to Elland Road on Boxing Day. Poyet was Wise's Leeds assistant before leaving to join Juande Ramos at Tottenham.

"The board took the decision following the recent poor run of results that has seen the club slip to ninth in League One, 15 points behind the leaders and five points outside the play-offs," Leeds said in a statement.

"The decision was made to ensure that the new manager, when appointed, has the maximum number of games possible to move the club up the table and also before the transfer window opens in January to allow him to identify any new players he thinks can strengthen the current squad."

*The Portsmouth midfielder Lassana Diarra has agreed to join Real Madrid in January and will undergo a medical today. Pompey agreed a deal with the Spanish giants for the 23-year-old earlier this week, with the fee reported to be £20m. The French midfielder is expected to sign a four-and-a-half-year contract if there are no problems with the medical. He is likely to earn an immediate starting spot in Spain with both his namesake Mahamadou Diarra and Ruben de la Red ruled out for the season.