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Europa League round of 16 draw

Europa League

Trending: Lallana signs contract extension

By ESPN Staff

Wise looking to hijack Cardiff's Smith loan move

Dennis Wise is hoping to head off Cardiff's bid to sign Alan Smith on loan and take the Manchester United striker back to Leeds.

Wise had been alerted to Smith's availability after Championship leaders Cardiff were granted permission to approach the 26-year-old by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

'We have only just found out about his availability, but there is a possibility of a deal,' Wise said.

'It would be a boost for the team and also for the fans of the club.

'He has done it at all levels, but I'm sure there will be 20 other clubs also interested in him.

'We'll have to wait and see,' he told Sky Sports News.

Cardiff are currently waiting for Smith's reply following their own approach.

A spokesman for the Welsh club said earlier today: 'We have made an inquiry to Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson has granted the loan. It is now down to the player.'

Smith has struggled to break into Ferguson's first-team plans since returning to action in August after recovering from a broken ankle suffered in February's FA Cup defeat by Liverpool.

Ferguson said: 'Because we are no longer in the League Cup I thought a short-term loan would have been ideal for him to get games.

'I put that to him and he has spoken to Cardiff but I think he is uncertain about what to do - he's not sure whether to take it or not.

'He really needs football matches, there's no question about that. The reserves are really an extension of youth football and it's not the same challenge for an experienced player like Alan.'

Ferguson admitted sending Smith on loan was a gamble - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is out for up to three weeks with a hamstring tear and United are short of cover for Wayne Rooney and Louis Saha.

He added: 'There's a bit of a risk but we feel in the present situation Alan needs games quickly, some good competitive matches.

'He's still a bit short for us and only by playing games is he going to get it back.'

The former Leeds forward has made just four appearances for United this season and could increase his chances of regular first-team action as he looks to regain peak fitness and regain his place in the England squad.