Leeds United and Doncaster Rovers lead chase for Woodgate

CHAMPIONSHIP clubs including Leeds United and Doncaster Rovers have been alerted to the possible availability of ex-England defender Jonathan Woodgate on a loan deal.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp confirmed yesterday the vastly-talented but injury-prone centre-half can move out of White Hart Lane in order to regain full fitness and he would prefer him to do so in the Championship.

QPR and Cardiff City are the favourites to land Woodgate who has spent more than a year on the sidelines due to a serious groin injury and only returned to full training the week before Christmas.

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Promotion-chasing former club Leeds may also be interested in signing the 30-year-old although the capture of Andy O'Brien on a permanent deal last week suggests central defence is no longer a major area of concern for manager Simon Grayson.

Another of Woodgate's ex-employers Middlesbrough would be keen, especially if star defender David Wheater secures his expected top-flight move in the January transfer window, while Doncaster certainly require bolstering at the back.

However, the sizeable wages of the former Real Madrid centre-half are likely to scare off the majority of Championship hopefuls as is the fact he is a long way from full fitness and may need a lengthy period of easing back into combative action having not played since November 2009.

Leaders QPR – offering him the chance to stay in London – and Cardiff remain interested though.

Redknapp, who initially feared Woodgate would not play at all this season, wants him to get some games under his belt in order to hopefully be fit for what could be a crucial run-in with Spurs being in the Champions League last 16 and hopeful of challenging for the league title.

"There would be plenty of people interested, for sure," said Redknapp, when asked about the chances of Woodgate securing a loan move.

"He is one of the best centre-halves in the country if he is fit.

"I think he'd be happy to go and play in the Championship on loan because he has been out for a while.

"That would probably suit us better."