Leeds to sell striker
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Leeds failed to sell Robbie Keane, despite agreeing a fee with Sunderland, and the Republic of Ireland hot-shot wants to convince Venables that he is worthy of a regular place in the Elland Road starting line-up.
Robbie Fowler has had an operation on a hip problem, which will sideline him for some time, but the Leeds boss still feels he has too many hit-men on his staff.
"My squad is a good one," he claimed. "But it is not balanced.
"We have six top strikers but, most likely, I have got to let one go."
Alan Smith, whose promising displays at Under-21 level have surely given him the platform to make a renewed bid for a place in Sven Goran Eriksson's England plans, will not leave after impressing the new manager with his fire and enthusiasm.
Indeed, Venables backed the young forward, even though he was in trouble with a referee again on the pre-season tour.
Australians Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell, more of a flank operator, know the boss well from his time with the SocceRoos and seem settled in the north of England.
That leaves Bridges and Keane, with neither player in any rush to quit the club.
"I was one of Leeds' biggest fans during my absence," said Bridges, now back from an injury nightmare.
"Now I need as many games and training sessions as I can get.
"My fitness is fine, it is just a case of getting my touch back.
"But it was something that could have been taken away from me and that gives me all the more determination to return to the team."
Presuming the former Sunderland striker is rightly given the opportunity to prove he can return to the sharp form he displayed on his arrival at Elland Road, the writing could be on the wall for Keane.
After again asserting he is not interested in joining Peter Reid's men on Wearside, the former Internazionale attacker has carried his impressive World Cup confidence into the friendly matches.
Tottenham boss Glenn Hoddle continues to deny Keane is on his list of targets, despite director of football David Pleat's comment to the contrary, and the player has stressed he is committed to the cause at Leeds.
It leaves Venables probably still looking to shed some of his squad before being able to invest in his own signings as, despite £30 million being accrued from the sale of skipper Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United, only half of that figure was paid up front, and Leeds had a well-documented need to raise funds.
One player who might end up at Sunderland is full back Gary Kelly, who did not feature on the recent tour, and is not expected to feature in a friendly against Barnsley on Saturday, and the probable exit of the likes of Michael Duberry and Stephen McPhail would swell the coffers.
Leeds are continuing to try and plot their own moves in the market with Kleberson forwarded as the likeliest candidate to arrive.
Indeed, some sources claim the Brazilian World Cup winner is due to fly in to England on Tuesday to seal a four-year contract.
Yet South American sources continue to insist that Parma are still in the running for the Atletico PR midfielder, and that any move to Yorkshire is still far from cut-and-dried.