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Championship

Michael O’Neill confirms Bailey Peacock-Farrell is in his plans

The Northern Ireland manager has confirmed the Leeds United goalie will be a regular in the senior squad.

Mathew Coull

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Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has given hope to Leeds United goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell this week regarding his international future. Northern Ireland take on South Korea during the international break and the Leeds stopper may have hoped to be involved.

On this occasion there was no call-up for the Leeds goalie. But, as quoted by the Belfast Telegraph, he is set for a long-term future in the national team set-up:

“Conor Hazard is a goalkeeper that we have high hopes for.

“He trained with the senior squad last June. We have three young keepers in Hazard, (Conor) Mitchell and Bailey (Peacock-Farrell). The three will be rotated and managed between the Under 21s and senior side going forward.”

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND – NOVEMBER 09: Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off first leg between Northern Ireland and Switzerland at Windsor Park on November 9, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Peacock-Farrell has recently made his second breakthrough into the Leeds United first-team. With Felix Wiedwald out of form and usual second choice Andy Lonergan ill, the 21-year-old was brought into the first-team to face Championship leaders Wolves last week. It was the stopper’s first Leeds appearance since his last and only one, v QPR in April 2016.

He impressed in the game, winning the man-of-the-match award and retained his place for the Reading game at the weekend.

Unfortunately it seems his emergence came too late to earn a Northern Ireland call-up. Instead, O’Neill went with experienced pair Michael McGovern and Trevor Carson with first time call-up Conor Hazard. It seems the Celtic talent, currently on loan at Falkirk, will be Peacock-Farrell’s main rival for the national team set-up.

BASEL, SWITZERLAND – NOVEMBER 12: Michael McGovern of Northern Ireland during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off second leg match between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St. Jakob-Park on November 12, 2017 in Basel, Basel-Stadt. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The Leeds goalie has plenty to do before he wins his first Northern Ireland cap. He has been called up to the senior squad once before, but for now will be battling with Burnley’s Conor Mitchell for the number one spot with the under-21s.

But it seems a future in the Northern Ireland national set-up is in the long-term plans for the Leeds United goalkeeper.

Fans at Elland Road will hope he can produce the sort of form that warrants a return to his national team.

Derby County

Sam Winnall to Stoke looks inevitable after Gary Rowett arrival

Josh Kerr

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Sam Winnall
Photo: Getty Images

Gary Rowett’s move to Stoke City from Derby County has added further fuel to the fire regarding Sam Winnall’s future and a potential move to Staffordshire for the new season.

The two have previously been together during their time at Burton Albion, and Rowett opted to bring the 27-year-old to Pride Park on a loan deal this season.

Winnall scored four goals in 16 Championship games for Sheffield Wednesday after arriving at Hillsborough in January 2017 from local rivals Barnsley.

He was underwhelming for the Owls initially and hence the club decided to loan him to his former manager.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Nonetheless, he has enjoyed some success at Derby this season, winning the club’s Goal of the Season award for his memorable strike against Ipswich Town back in December.

Injury has restricted Winnall to just six Championship starts but despite his time spent on the sidelines, the fans have enjoyed the Englishman’s time at Pride Park and are crying out for him to stay.

Nonetheless, Rowett’s move to Stoke was the icing on the cake for Wednesday supporters and unsurprisingly talk of a switch to the Bet365 Stadium has surfaced on social media.

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Leeds United

Leeds United should bring in free agent Nick Townsend

The former Barnsley goalkeeper has worked under Leeds United boss Paul Heckingbottom previously.

Mathew Coull

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Leeds United are said to be in the hunt for a new goalkeeper this summer. Last summer’s recruits Felix Wiedwald and Andy Lonergan both proved unsuccessful and could find themselves leaving this summer. The former is expected to return to Germany whilst the latter was offered to Sunderland in the winter but pulled the plug on the deal.

At the moment, youngster Bailey Peacock-Farrell is the number one stopper at Leeds and he has performed valiantly since being given the role.

But new recruits are expected this summer, with the likes of Angus Gunn and David Stockdale already being mentioned.

Leeds should, however, look closer to home and bring in Nick Townsend this summer.

Many Leeds fans will now be shouting who? The 23-year-old stopper is currently a free agent, with his contract at Barnsley being terminated this summer.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

He joined Barnsley from Birmingham City in 2015 and went on to play 18 games for the club in three seasons, including some under the guidance of current Leeds boss Paul Heckingbottom.

Heckingbottom was a big fan of Townsend’s, who he trusted as his main back-up stopper during his time at Oakwell. Townsend, who made the news after injuring his finger in a training ground bust-up with a team-mate earlier this year, is now on the hunt for a new challenge.

Leeds could be the perfect location. Of course, Townsend should not be considered a number one goalie. But if Leeds are to lose both Wiedwald and Lonergan this summer then they may need two new keepers in the door.

Townsend is a reliable option when called upon and one who Heckingbottom knows well and can trust.

Bringing him into the Leeds squad would be a fine piece of business as it would certainly strengthen what is a weak area of the Leeds United first-team.

It is not a deal that will blow you away, but bringing in Townsend would be a smart piece of business for Leeds United.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers

Giorgian de Arrascaeta signing would represent transfer of intent from Wolves

Josh Kerr

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Photo: getty Images

According to Fox Sports Brazil, Wolverhampton Wanderers are weighing up a bid for World Cup bound-midfielder Giorgian de Arrascaeta.

The Uruguay international, an attacking midfielder with 13 caps for his national side, is attracting the attention of many European sides who are hoping to lure him away from the Brazilian league ahead of the summer World Cup.

Wolves fans will be delighted to see themselves linked with another established name in world football and will look to the success of star man Ruben Neves as inspiration for the move.

The former Porto star was a revelation at Wolves this season, scoring six goals along the way, and was nominated for both the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Season in the Championship. Neves’s success will give fans every bit of hope that De Arrascaeta would have a similar fate should he sign for the high-achieving club.

The current Cruzeiro player has spent the last three seasons playing in Brazil’s top flight, making 73 appearances and scoring 16 goals, after making the move from Defensor Sporting in Uruguay.

(Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)

The midfielder’s attacking flair could match that of Diego Jota, whose permanent deal from at Molineux, from Atletico Madrid, hasn’t yet been confirmed.

He would be the perfect addition for the Midlands outfit as they look to restablish themselves in England’s top-flight and ensure their continued Premier League status.

It is important that the deal gets done quickly as De Arrascaeta will soon be turning his attention to the World Cup and interest in his services is only likely to increase.

He signed a contract extension in February which runs until 2021, but the luxury of the Premier League may be enough to tempt the young Uruguayan to the Championship winners this summer.

If he signs, he would prove another useful attacking option, especially if Jota remains at the club.

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