Don’t panic! McCormack loss ‘won’t push Leeds into rush signings’

HEAD coach David Hockaday says Leeds United won’t panic and be drawn into rushed transfer activity following the sale of Ross McCormack.

David Hockaday
David Hockaday

United returned from their pre-season camp in Italy yesterday with the Whites having so far made four pre-season signings in ’keepers Stuart Taylor and Marco Silvestre plus midfielder Tomasso Bianchi and striker Souleymane Doukara.

The latter joins on a season long loan from Calcio Catania to boost a forward line that had been limited to just Matt Smith, Dominic Poleon, Noel Hunt and Steve Morison following the sale of star striker McCormack to Fulham for £11m.

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However, while Hockaday insists that key departures will be replaced, the head coach is adamant he will not rush into transfer activity without careful assessment.

Speaking just an hour after landing back into the UK, Hockaday said: ”I’ve said before that Leeds had some good players here last season and a number of them have gone including Ross.

“From my point of view, if we need to replace them we will replace them and we’ll do that as quickly as we can, but we won’t panic and we won’t do anything silly. We might have to show patience in some positions and some things might move quicker than others but it’s one of those things where if there’s a gap to fill we’ll fill it properly and professionally, but if needs patience we’ll show patience.”

Asked if there would be any recruits arriving this week, Hockaday replied: “That would be inappropriate to say and I’ve got to sit down with the president. We are back training on Thursday so I will have a chat with him then and we’ll see where we go from there.”

In the forward department, United have been linked with a move for AC Milan’s 19-year-old striker Andrea Petagna who spent part of last season on loan at Sampdoria. United have already landed two Italian recruits in Bianchi and Silvestre – both of whom have played for Italy’s under-21s.

Other names linked with a move to Leeds include Sampdoria’s Swiss right-back Gaetano Berardi and AIK midfielder Robin Quaison – but he looks to be on his way to Serie A side Palermo.

Leeds had also been linked with Rochdale striker/winger Scott Hogan though United issued a specific statement this weekend denying that there had been any approach for him.

The latest name added to the transfer speculation pot yesterday was centre-back Alex Bruce who could be in line for a second spell at the club if he leaves Hull City.

At present, 22-year-old French striker Doukara is the club’s most recent recruit and Hockaday says the loanee will typify the work ethic that he is looking for at Leeds United.

“I had his agent on trial at Watford many, many years ago and what I have said about us is that we will be honest and hard-working,” said Hockaday.

“That’s Doukara. He’s honest, he’s hard working and he will put in a shift.

“The Leeds United fans whatever he does or doesn’t do, they will not be able to say that he hasn’t put in a shift because he’s a hard working lad.”

After having today and tomorrow off, United’s players will return ti training on Thursday ahead of the club’s second pre-season friendly at Guiseley.

The Whites then visit Mansfield Town next Tuesday.

United’s first team have played just one official pre-season friendly so far which came through a 16-0 hammering of amateur side FC Gherdinia while in Italy.

Sunday night’s proposed opposition - Romanian side Viitorul Constanta - failed to show up leaving Hockaday to orchestrate an in house friendly between two United sides.