LEEDS UNITED captain Stephen Warnock’s move to Derby County is on hold, although the Championship high-fliers remain hopeful of completing a deal later this week.
Warnock underwent a medical at Derby yesterday, with the Rams keen to assess the extent of the ankle injury he suffered in the Championship game at the iPro Stadium a fortnight ago before rubber-stamping the move.
An 18-month contract is reportedly on the table for Warnock, once he proves his fitness.
The 33-year-old – out of contract in the summer and not yet offered new terms at Elland Road, hobbled off after being injured in a block tackle with Rams’ defender Cyrus Christie in the opening minutes of United’s 2-0 televised loss on December 30.
Warnock has not played since, although Derby remain optimistic that a deal, likely to be a free transfer, will be finalised once they establish when he is fit to return to training.
Warnock, one of United’s highest earners, underwent a scan on the injury seven days ago, which allayed fears of serious ankle ligament damage.
This came after head coach Neil Redfearn had earlier expressed concern that the consistent left-back could potentially be out for a lengthy spell – after labelling the injury suffered at Derby as a ‘bad one’
Warnock tweeted last week: “Very happy with the news that my scan is all clear!
“Dr also happy with its condition...need to get the last bit of swelling out of it!”
Charlie Taylor has deputised for Warnock in United’s past two matches, the FA Cup defeat at Sunderland and the weekend Roses’ draw at Bolton Wanderers, his first league appearance since facing Wanderers in the reverse fixture on August 30.
Derby are keen on landing Warnock to provide some serious competition for regular left-back Michael Forsyth, while providing some invaluable experience during a critical run to the end of the season for the promotion-chasing Rams.
Former Wolves defender Lee Naylor is the current understudy to Forsyth, although he has made just one appearance this season – in the FA Cup home victory over Southport on January 3.
Meanwhile, United remain keen on bringing former Leicester City defender Sol Bamba to Elland Road to boost their central defensive options.
Ivory Coast international Bamba, who celebrates his 30th birthday today, is currently plying his trade at Italian outfit Palermo.
A striker is also high on United’s priorities, with Redfearn having recommended to owner Massimo Cellino to make a loan move to take Luciano Becchio back to the club from Norwich City.
The other forward consistently linked with United is Sassuolo frontman Leonardo Pavoletti, who Cellino and sporting director Nicola Salerno are working on bringing to Leeds.
Scott Wootton is back at Elland Road after his loan spell at Championship rivals Rotherham United ended at the weekend, with both clubs remaining in discussions about the 23-year-old moving to the New York Stadium on a full-time basis.
Wootton, who joined Leeds on a three-year deal in August 2013 for an undisclosed fee from Manchester United, impressed during his time in South Yorkshire, which saw him make seven appearances.
Any deal for Wootton is likely to involve a fee, with the Red Devils still owed part of the fee agreed when Wootton moved to Leeds from Old Trafford.
United’s development side welcome Birmingham City in the Professional Development League 2 Under-21s today (1pm).