Grayson looking to steal a march on rivals

SIMON GRAYSON admits his thoughts have already turned towards Leeds United’s summer transfer targets.

The Elland Road club still have almost a third of the Championship season to play and are firmly in the hunt for promotion.

Despite that, the United manager is already casting his eye across a host of potential targets in an attempt to steal a march on many of his rivals.

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Grayson, who is also looking to bring in a couple of new faces before the loan window shuts next month, said: “I know when the summer comes that there will be some players leaving and others coming in to make us better. That is how football is in general.

“As we do every year at this time of the season, we are looking at the players who are due out of contract in the summer or who might be surplus to requirements at other clubs.

“It is important to do so in regards our transfer targets, whether we are in the Championship or the Premier League. We are always thinking and planning ahead with regards players.”

Among the soon-to-be out of contract players that have been linked with a possible summer move to Elland Road are Swansea City’s Darren Pratley and Neil Danns of Crystal Palace.

What division Leeds are in come the end of May will, of course, make a big difference to Grayson’s plans with promotion to the Premier League estimated to be worth around £60m.

It is not just in terms of recruitment, either, where a place in the top flight could make all the difference with the likes of Robert Snodgrass and Max Gradel likely to become summer targets for other clubs should Leeds not win promotion this time around.

Grayson, however, insists he is not worried. He said: “Promotion would help, of course, to secure our best players. But we are not in the position where we have to sell our best players.

“I have said many times that every player has his price but we would not be looking to sell players if we don’t make it into the Premier League this year.

“The players who have done well for us this season realise they can fulfil their ambition at this club. The majority are on long-term contracts and see a successful club in Leeds as better than going to one or two who are already in the Premier League.”

Turning his attentions to today, the Leeds manager admits Norwich City will provide a stern test for his side.

He added: “The positions ourselves and Norwich occupy show we have good players and are good football teams.

“We have gone head-to-head over the past 18 months or so and produced some fantastic matches. They know a lot of our strengths and weaknesses, and we know the same about them.

“There will be 30,000 and that should produce an excellent atmosphere. At Carrow Road, we were the dominant side for an hour or so but then they got back into the game to get a draw.”

With Norwich sitting third in the table and United sixth, today’s meeting could have an important say in the promotion race.

Grayson said: “There are a dozen teams in with a chance of winning promotion.

“What we have to do is earn the right to win matches and stay in that top six.”