Paynter can help gloss over Beckford's exit from Leeds United

LEEDS UNITED have completed a deal for Swindon Town's Billy Paynter, a striker who proved their nemesis last season.

The former Hull City and Bradford City forward will join United on July 1 having scored 29 goals for their League One rivals during the 2009-10 campaign.

Paynter, 26, has signed a three-year deal at Elland Road and will strengthen their attacking options when they begin life in the Championship.

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Manager Simon Grayson knows what the prolific player is capable of and said: "Billy proved his worth last season, scoring four goals against us in two games.

"He was a constant threat, has matured as a player over the last couple of years and had a fantastic season last season.

"He works ever so hard, holds the ball up well and he has proved he knows where the back of the net is. When we knew he was available we were desperate to get him. He caused us a lot of problems and we have gone out to get a player we think will positively affect us."

After Swindon lost to Millwall in the League One play-off final, the ex-Port Vale striker was always set to move on and he will help ease the loss of Leeds's top scorer Jermaine Beckford to Everton.

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But Grayson was quick to maintain he will not be a direct replacement.

"He has got a different style about him," he said.

"He will do the things that brought him success last year. Jermaine has his strengths and weaknesses and Billy will have as well."

Stoke City have refused to comment on speculation linking Liam Lawrence with a move to Celtic.

The Hoops have reportedly tabled a bid of 1.5m for the Republic of Ireland winger as interim manager Neil Lennon attempts to strengthen ahead of the new campaign.