Viduka back and staying at Leeds - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Viduka back and staying at Leeds

By Paul Mulvey 03/02/2004 05:09:16 AM Comments (0)

Mark Viduka returned to training with Leeds United after spending three weeks on compassionate leave in Australia and will be staying with the embattled club.

Viduka trained Monday morning and, with the month-long transfer window closing, the English premier league club issued a statement declaring he would not be leaving, despite speculation he would move.

Leeds manager Eddie Gray hoped the Socceroo striker would be fit for Saturday's away match against Aston Villa as the club fights to avoid relegation.

"Mark is back and hopefully he will give us a lift," Gray said on the club's website.

"He is in the right frame of mind to work hard and we need quality players like Mark to play to the best of their ability at this moment in time."

Viduka's return after being with his seriously ill father Joe in Melbourne comes at a desperate time for Leeds.

The club is rooted to the bottom of the premier league standings with 15 matches to play and also faces a battle against administration.

Leeds has debts of STG82 million ($A196.29 million) and is currently negotiating with a consortium over a takeover bid which would save the club.

Viduka had been linked with rival premier league clubs Middlesbrough, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United as well as European giants Barcelona, Roma and Milan, but Leeds was determined to keep him.

Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren said after Boro's 3-0 win over Leeds on the weekend that he was still interested in Viduka and admitted the club had made an offer, believed to be worth STG4 million ($A9.58 million).

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