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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 06:04 GMT 07:04 UK
Leeds Utd face goalkeeping crisis
By Chris Bevan

Leeds United
Leeds United will have to start the season without a goalkeeper unless their transfer embargo is lifted.

Deals have been lined up for Brondby keeper Casper Ankergren and Watford's Scott Loach but they cannot sign while Leeds remain in limbo.

The club is relying on the Football League giving them special dispensation to bolster their squad.

And assistant boss Gus Poyet told BBC Sport: "I hope we can sign someone - if not I am not sure who will play there."

Each member club has a share in the Football League but the League's board has withheld the transfer of Leeds' share to Ken Bates after he struck a deal to buy back the club from administrators KPMG on 11 July.

It means Leeds - who did not pay their players for June - are still unable to add to their threadbare squad ahead of the start of the new season on 11 August.


However, the Football League's transfer embargo rules for clubs in administration are flexible in regard to the number of professionals they have registered.

If that number falls below 20, as in the case of Leeds, then clubs can apply to the League for permission to bring players in.

United manager Dennis Wise has confirmed he hopes to strike a permanent deal for Ankergren, 27, who had a spell on loan at Elland Road last season.

And a loan is expected to be agreed with the Hornets for 19-year-old Loach who, along with former Chelsea trainee Nick Hamman, travelled on Leeds' pre-season tour of Germany, but cannot sign formally yet.

"As everyone knows, one of our problems is that our players have not been paid, although it looks like they are going to be paid very soon," added Poyet.

"The other is that we cannot sign players and that is a problem. We want to add to our squad and we don't have a goalkeeper attached to the club.

"Normally we would have a plan. When you look to sign a keeper you have a first, second and third choice so if you don't get one player you can try for another one.

Every day I wake up and I think it's going to be the day. I can't wait for that phone call that says we are back to normal, back to business

Gus Poyet

"But at the moment we are still waiting. We have Scott training with us but he cannot sign yet and everything could change.

"Of course, you want to have your players attached to the club. You need to know he is going to play so you can train with him and the back four together so they can get to know each other.

"Let's hope it can be worked out."

Leeds took a 20-man squad to Germany that included several academy graduates, three other trialists - David Prutton, Leon Constantine and Curtis Weston - and three out-of-contract players seeking a new deal - Alan Thompson, Matt Heath and Rui Marques.

Veteran striker Tore-Andre Flo, 34, is to be offered a new contract despite missing the tour as he recovers from the broken foot that has kept him out since January.

Dennis Wise's side lost all three of their games, against Union Berlin, FC Slovan Liberec and Energie Cottbus.

Jon Douglas and Rob Bayley did travel but will miss Leeds' opening day League One game against Tranmere through suspension.

The only thing we want is to be free as a club to act as we want as soon as possible

Gus Poyet

Poyet admits he and Wise have few options to work with but says they are determined not to let their heads drop.

"We are trying to cope and really pleased with the lads who have been with us - training, travelling and playing - in our circumstances," the Uruguayan explained.

"In a few positions we are missing a few players but we will keep working really hard with the players we have got just in case this situation continues.

"If we can add a few players that would be great but if that does not happen we need to make sure we have a team ready for the beginning of the season."

And Poyet remains hopeful that the turmoil at Elland Road will soon be over.

"The only thing we want is to be free as a club to act as we want as soon as possible," he said.

"Every day I wake up and I think it's going to be the day. I can't wait for that phone call that says we are back to normal and back in business."

Leeds players not paid for June
20 Jul 07 |  Leeds United
Watford youngsters set for loans
16 Jul 07 |  Watford
League demands Leeds assurances
12 Jul 07 |  Leeds United
Leeds United resold to Ken Bates
11 Jul 07 |  Business
Wise could receive transfer boost
07 Jul 07 |  Leeds United


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