Neil ready to wage Leeds war

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NEIL WARNOCK has pledged to compound Leeds United manager Terry Venables's misery by dumping the Premiership side out of the Worthington Cup, because it will help Sheffield United to hang onto prize asset Michael Tonge.

Whispers within the game suggest the former Manchester United trainee will join Liverpool next year, but Warnock is determined to keep hold of the midfielder in order to sustain The Blades' promotion challenge.

A decent run in the competition will aid his cause and, although Leeds will be keen to avoid an embarrassing upset, the all-Yorkshire affair in front of a packed Bramall Lane crowd will be a stern test for the out-of-form Whites, who have picked up only two points from their last six league games, and were undone by a Wayne Rooney strike for Everton on Sunday.

Although Jon Harley will be missing after Fulham failed to grant permission for the former Chelsea defender to take part, the Blades boss is in buoyant mood.

"I don't know what sort of team Leeds are going to put out," admitted Warnock. "And I'm not really bothered but, what I do know, is that it will have to be their best one to beat us.

"Terry Venables is going to have to take this one seriously.

"It should be a cracking game, this is what it's all about, and my lads are confident they can give it a real go.

"If we win it, then it'll bring in some money which should leave us better placed to keep hold of the likes of Tongey."

Leeds, meanwhile, could be without Teddy Lucic, Alan Smith, Eirik Bakke and Lucas Radebe who all picked up knocks in the defeat to Everton.