More Leeds signings soon promises Hockaday

David Hockaday.
David Hockaday.
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LEEDS United head coach David Hockaday has promised that more new signings will be coming to Elland Road - and left the door open the possibility of taking controversial striker Nile Ranger on trial.

Hockaday refused to rule out the option of inviting Ranger to train at Thorp Arch and said further additions to United’s squad were necessary after four transfers in the past fortnight.

Italian right-back Gaetano Berardi is set to become Leeds’ fifth summer recruit following successful negotiations between Leeds and Sampdoria but Hockaday expects other deals to materialise before the Championship season starts on August 9.

“There are areas where we need to strengthen and it’s not rocket science,” Hockaday said. “We’re working hard to improve those areas.”

United’s attacking options were significantly reduced at the start of the month when the club agreed to sell captain and top scorer Ross McCormack to Fulham for £11million.

The club took forward Souleymane Doukara on loan from Sassuolo last weekend, signing him with a view to a permanent deal, but Doukara is not renowned as a prolific goalscorer and a replacement for McCormack is still one of United’s priorities.

Ranger, 23, is without a club after leaving Swindon Town, the most recent club to take a chance on a forward whose once-promising career has been blighted by disciplinary issues.

Hockaday and Ranger worked together in the youth-team set-up at Southampton in 2007 and Hockaday is thought to be contemplating the option of handing the striker a trial.

Asked about Ranger, Hockaday said: “People are putting two and two together. There are players I’ve worked with who I keep in touch with and Nile’s one of them.

“I’m not going to pick out individuals (who Leeds are interested in) because I could be here for a fortnight saying yes, no, yes, no but we’re looking at a lot of players. If I get drawn into one then I’ll get drawn into others.

“Anything’s possible in football but most things aren’t going to happen. I know a lot of players and Nile’s one of them. We know where we need to strengthen.

“But we’re not going to be rushed or do anything silly. We want the right people for the right reason at the right time. If we can get it done in a day, great. If it takes a month it takes a month.”

Frenchman Doukara should make his first appearance for Leeds during their pre-season friendly at Guiseley on Saturday having joined the club towards the end of their recent tour of Italy.

Midfielder Tommaso Bianchi and goalkeeper Marco Silvestri will also feature at Nethermoor, with Hockaday indicating that his starting line-up will be given a 60-minute run-out.

Defender Scott Wootton, who has been suffering from a ligament injury, was due to resume training today while midfielder Alex Mowatt has almost recovered from a twisted ankle and should train with the first team at Thorp Arch next week.

Hockaday said: “Every day in pre-season is massively important. It’s money in the bank.

“Guiseley’s part of the process and you’d want to win every game and keep a clean sheet but if we can get 60 minutes of match fitness, come away with no injuries then that’s a step in the right direction.

“Friendlies are friendlies and what I’m looking for is a performance and for people to improve their match fitness. The first thing I demand is that they put in a shift.

“But I think we’ve come a million miles from when I first came here with regards to getting the team together. That’s a big bonus. We’ve still got a few million miles to go but we’ve made massive strides in the last two weeks.”