Proud Gray strengthens his case for contract with Leeds

LEEDS UNITED assistant manager Mick Jones has hinted Andy Gray could have a future role to play at Elland Road.

The 34-year-old is a free agent after leaving Barnsley earlier this summer and has been on trial with the Championship club.

Gray, who was a major target for Bradford City before manager Phil Parkinson pulled the plug on the deal last week after growing frustrated with delays, scored twice in Friday’s first pre-season friendly of the season as Leeds beat Farsley 5-2.

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The former Bradford City and Sheffield United man then travelled yesterday to Cornwall with the rest of the squad ahead of this week’s mini-tour and Jones admitted that the striker’s fitness and form has made the Elland Road coaching staff sit up and take note.

The Leeds assistant said: “We have known Andy a long time and all through pre-season he has probably been the third fittest player at the club, which is quite remarkable when you consider he’s had a long career.

“But Andy is a proud lad and I have got this sneaking feeling that he has come here to prove a point. He came in more or less on his suggestion. And because we knew him, we wanted to help. I think Andy Gray is a very good player, so who knows (what will happen)?

“In fairness you have got to start judging players further down the line in tougher games. That is with the greatest of respect to Farsley.

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“By the time we are being tested in Norway, we will see exactly where the players are at.”

United were given a major boost ahead of kick-off at Farsley on Friday when Aidy White committed his future to the club.

The 20-year-old was out of contract and seemed certain to leave with Derby County leading a chase for his signature that also included Middlesbrough and Celtic.

However, following further talks, White agreed a new three-year deal to leave Leeds delighted.

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Jones said: “We are all delighted for the boy. Obviously we knew all about Derby County, their interest and their offer but he is a Leeds boy and he is buzzing now.

“At the moment I don’t think he’s found his right position and I don’t think anyone truly knows what his best position is.

“But he has got fantastic pace, fantastic enthusiasm and he has made of the right stuff. The fans are going to love this kid.”

The news over White’s change of heart may have been warmly welcomed at Elland Road but it cannot disguise the urgent need with which Warnock is going to have to step up his recruitment plans.

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Largely, his rebuilding job has had to be put on hold this summer while the ongoing due diligence into United by the party looking to take charge have continued.

The Yorkshire Post understands the saga is on the verge of reaching a climax with no untoward problems having emerged during the examination of all aspects of the club’s operations.

That can only be good news for Warnock, who has admitted he wants to sign as many as eight more players ahead of the season’s opener against Wolves on August 18.

Assistant manager Jones added: “I have never known Neil work as hard as this. All summer he has been at it. I just hope it’s exciting times over the next two weeks.

“The next three games coming up won’t be about the quality of the football. It’s about the quality of the fitness.”