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Viduka vows to repay Leeds' loyalty

04/02/2004 05:20:22 AM Comments (0)

Socceroo Mark Viduka has revealed he had a mutual agreement with Leeds United not to leave the embattled club during the English Premier League's January transfer window.

Despite speculation over a move to Middlesbrough, Viduka has pledged to return the loyalty Leeds showed to him during his three-week absence to be with his seriously ill father in Melbourne.

Although his father, Joe, remains seriously ill, Viduka returned to training with the relegation-threatened side and denied reports he had been actively seeking a move during last month's transfer window.

Boro reportedly offered the financially crippled Leeds STG4 million ($A9.62 million) for the Australian striker.

"I would like to thank Eddie Gray, Trevor Birch and the staff and fans of Leeds United for the understanding and compassion shown to my family and me during these difficult last few weeks," Viduka said.

"Contrary to media speculation, it was mutually agreed that I would not leave the club in this transfer window - and I am happy that I have the opportunity to repay the club on the pitch as we battle against relegation."

Viduka has returned to a side in deep trouble.

Despite gaining a financial lifeline after the players agreed to defer up to 25 per cent of their wages until the end of the season, Leeds are still facing the prospect of a financially calamitous drop to the first division.

After five straight defeats, Leeds are six points adrift of safety with only 15 games left to pull off an unlikely escape from relegation.

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