NEW signing Jimmy Kebe has revealed that it took just one telephone call from Brian McDermott to persuade him to head north and sign for Leeds United.
The 29-year-old Mali international yesterday became United’s second addition inside 24 hours when he completed a loan switch until the end of the season.
Kebe, who will join Leeds on a permanent deal if the club wins promotion, could start along with fellow new boy Cameron Stewart as Leeds revert to a 4-4-2 formation.
The Crystal Palace loanee, who made his name in England when playing under McDermott at Reading, is already targeting a push for promotion.
“My target here is to play in the play-offs, minimum,” said the winger when asked of his expectations for Leeds, who sit eighth and one point outside the top six.
“I know that Leeds are a big club and there are big expectations. The fans are right to ask the team to do well. My only target here is to play in the play-offs and get promoted.
“I feel great. As soon as I talked to the manager, he said he wanted me and I couldn’t wait to sign.”
The double capture of Kebe and Stewart, the latter on a 93-day loan that will become permanent next summer, ends McDermott’s season-long search for pace out wide.
His attempts to bring Ashley Barnes to Elland Road have, however, failed after the Brighton & Hove Albion striker agreed a £750,000 switch to Burnley.
Asked about why he chose Leeds over a number of suitors, Kebe said: “I spoke to him (McDermott) on the phone and he said straight away, ‘Do you fancy coming?’ And I told him that I would pack my stuff and come up that night.
“He knows me very well. He brought me over from France to Reading when he was a scout there. I enjoyed working with him then and I can’t wait to work with him again.
“It is very important when the manager has confidence in you. He has trusted me from the beginning and I know exactly how he wants to work and that (knowing him) makes things easier when you work with him.
“I spent six years at Reading and we had a good run of games with the manager and Nigel Gibbs in charge.
“He did some great things for the club and I loved my time with Reading but now that is over. Leeds is my new club and I can’t wait to be successful with this club.”
United head to Hillsborough looking to banish the memory of last week’s FA Cup humiliation against League Two Rochdale.
The Leeds players were jeered mercilessly at the final whistle and McDermott is looking for a positive reaction today.
He said: “One of the worst feelings in football is what happened last Saturday.
“You are devastated because you have let people down. The way it happened, we didn’t go out and perform. Leeds fans will take a lot but they won’t take that.
“You have to go the extra mile and on the day it looked like we didn’t. We have to hold our hands up.
“We went to the supporters to apologise more than anything. I just felt it was the right thing to do. It would have been easy to slope off into the tunnel and not go there.”