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Leeds United have revealed that a deal to sell the club to a middle-eastern financial consortium is now “very close”.

A joint statement published by both parties on United’s official website said GFH Capital had “provided the Leeds United owners and management with the necessary proof that it has the funds available to close this transaction.”

United chairman Ken Bates, who currently owns a 72.85 per cent stake in Leeds, said: “It’s been a long road but we are in a good place. Both sides have been in talks over the last few days to finalise this deal. We are keeping focused and hope to complete very soon.”

On the pitch, Neil Warnock’s charges will welcome former Terriers boss Lee Clark to Elland Road tomorrow, as his young Birmingham City team come to town.

Rodolph Austin had a scan on his ankle injury this week and is a major doubt, while Lee Peltier could return after missing the midweek draw against Charlton through a bruised ankle.

Michael Tonge could return to the starting line-up despite continuing to be troubled by a shoulder problem.

Huddersfield Town’s Oscar Groben is the only definite injury for his team’s trip to Milwall tomorrow, but boss Simon Grayson has hinted at a few niggling injury concerns.

It is thought he is unlikely to field many changes to the side which lost at Peterborough in midweek.

Bradford City boss Phil Parkinson has called for officials to show more understanding ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Burton Albion, as top-scorer Nahki Wells will be absent from the squad after picking up a fifth booking of the season.

The 10-goal Bermudan was booked on Tuesday evening for celebrating in front of his own fans, and Parkinson has called for more empathy from referees.

He said: “(Nahki) was booked for going to the crowd, which I know is something he probably shouldn’t do, but scoring is an emotional thing and I thought the referee could have shown a bit more understanding.

“I watched the goals round-up on Wednesday and there were loads who did what Nahki did. But whereas they were just told by the referee to stop, Nahki was booked. All we ask for is consistency.”

Alan Connell is likely to replace Wells for City’s trip to the Pirelli Stadium, and could see himself firing the Bantams into an automatic promotion spot, should other results go their way. Midfield absentee Gary Jones is expected to travel with the squad and possibly feature after a month out with a back problem.

Elsewhere, Liverpool kickstarted their Europa League campaign with an impressive 1-0 win over cash-rich Russian outfit Anzhi last night.

Stewart Downing scored the decisive goal with a screamer from outside the box on 53 minutes, after Liverpool dominated for long periods of the match. The win sees the Reds top Group A and finely poised to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.

Also topping their Europa League group are Alan Pardew’s Newcastle, after Gabriel Obertan gave them a 1-0 win over Belgian league-leaders Club Brugge.

In a tight contest, the French winger gave the geordies the lead after 48 minutes, and sees the Toon move to 7 points in their group, and have still yet to concede a goal in the competition.

Less impressive, however, were Spurs, after Andre Villas Boas’s side laboured to a 1-1 draw at Slovenians Maribor.

In a match where the Londoners failed to get a foothold, Robert Beric scored a first half opener for the home side, before Gylfi Sigurdsson made the most of a goal-mouth scramble to spare Spurs’ blushes in the second half.

 

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