Leeds United’s season took another turn for the worse on Thursday afternoon, when Stephen Warnock completed his move to Derby County.
It has already been a difficult campaign for the Elland Road faithful to stomach, with any ambition for a place in the playoffs long since vanished. Indeed, with 25 matches of the Championship season completed, the Whites are facing the very real possibility of fighting to avoid relegation to the third-tier, as they sit in 21st position and just two points above the bottom three.
Controversial club owner axed Brian McDermott at the end of last term, but his replacement, Dave Hockaday, lasted just 70 days before he was replaced with Darko Milanic. However, the former Serbian international fared even worse, and was dismissed after only 32 days. Neil Redfearn is now the man in charge, but he has thus far failed to mark his appointment with an upturn in results.
And the departure of captain Warnock will serve to add more frustration. The former England international, who won two caps for his country, was in the final six months of his contract at the Yorkshire club, who earlier this week agreed to sell him to Derby for an undisclosed fee. The 33-year-old has now completed his move to the iPro Stadium, after agreeing an 18-month deal.
“I’m really excited,” Warnock, who made 21 league appearances for Leeds this term, said on the official Derby website. “You get a nice buzz when you walk into the place. There is a great atmosphere. When I spoke to Steve McLaren as few days ago, that was one of the things he talked a lot about – the atmosphere he has tried to create here and how good it is. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Warnock began his career at Liverpool, and had loan spells at Bradford City and Coventry City whilst under contract at Anfield, before eventually leaving for Blackburn Rovers in 2007. The fullback spent two years at Ewood Park before moving to Aston Villa for a four-year spell, during which he also had a loan stint at Bolton Wanderers, before he linked up with Leeds in 2013.
He will now compete with Craig Forsyth, who has started every one of the Rams league games this term, for a place in McLaren’s side. One player who is unlikely to feature in their push for promotion is Jordon Ibe. The 19-year-old has impressed whilst on loan from Liverpool, scoring five goals in 24 appearances, but he has now been recalled by Brendan Rodgers.
How much of a blow is it for Leeds to lose Warnock? Let us know what you think by joining in with the discussion below.