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Cup hero Beckford will not be allowed to go cheap

Leeds United will not allow Jermaine Beckford to leave on the cheap in the January transfer window even though the player will be a free agent in the summer.

Beckford scored the only goal of the game as Leeds knocked old rivals Manchester United out of the FA Cup on Sunday, but chairman Ken Bates made it clear that there are no developments on the striker's future.

Bates told ESPN Soccernet: "There is nothing to say about Beckford. We are just enjoying the moment after our cup win at Old Trafford. We are making the headlines for all the right reasons."

Beckford, though, has been given every opportunity to negotiate a new contract at Elland Road, and so far the talks have broken down, with Newcastle United declaring their interest.

But a £1.2 million bid has been flatly rejected, and it seems Bates would not be tempted to sell unless the Magpies returned with a hugely increased offer - and, even then, Leeds would prefer Beckford to commit his future to Elland Road.

Manager Simon Grayson would also need to find a suitable replacement if Newcastle did come up with a big enough bid, and that would not be easy in the next few weeks.

Beckford's winning goal at Old Trafford has may well have increased his value yet further, but Leeds want him in their team to try to beat Spurs at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup fourth round.

More significant, though, is his value to the club's hopes of reaching the Championship, and while they are in a commanding position they have no intention of risking promotion - and the League One title - by selling Beckford.

Bates would accept losing Beckford on a free transfer at the end of the season if it meant clinching promotion.

Bates added: "I am sure the Spurs game will be on TV again, and there is a 45/45/10 split of the gate money - 10 going to The FA and the clubs splitting the rest - so we are enjoying the income from these two big games.

"Of course, it would have been even better had Paul Elliott [who made the fourth round draw] pulled us out at home!"

Newcastle boss Chris Hughton confirmed on Monday that the club retain an interest in Beckford.

"I wasn't at Old Trafford to see Jermaine and there is no deal done yet," he told the Evening Chronicle. "All we can say is that we're working very hard on bringing in new players and I am very confident we will get them.

"We have to be patient and there is a long month ahead of us, but we won't panic. His profile now goes up because the game was on TV, but everybody knows that this is just one game and, whether he'd done well or badly, he would still be a talented player.

"He's one of a few players we are interested in."

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