Leeds release seven senior players

Luke Varney.
Luke Varney.
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Leeds United have releasing seven senior players and six junior professionals following a difficult season which was overshadowed by Massimo Cellino’s protracted takeover of the club.

Among the experienced players heading for the Elland Road exit are Michael Brown, El-Hadji Diouf, Danny Pugh and Luke Varney.

At the other end of the scale, 20-year-old left-back Charlie Taylor – currently on loan at Fleetwood Town – and development-squad defender Afolabi Coker are set for extended stays with Leeds.

United have taken up options to extend the contracts of goalkeeper Alex Cairns – the club’s understudy throughout this season – and centre-back Ross Killock.

But goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown, defender Adam Drury and midfielder Paul Green have been released.

Drury and Green finished the season on loan at Bradford City and Ipswich Town respectively, and Varney saw out the Championship term at Blackburn Rovers, a club he joined temporarily with a view to a permanent deal.

The six young professionals released are Simon Lenighan, twins Nathan and Lewis Turner, Richard Bryan, Smith Tiesse and Gboly Ariyibi.

The exodus from Leeds, which was finalised by Italian owner Cellino in the absence of manager Brian McDermott, is likely to trim around £3m from United’s £18m wage bill.