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[09 AUG 99] COVENTRY CITY FC NEWS
Strachan In Urgent Talks With Whelan

Noel Whelan, Coventry City FCCoventry City manager Gordon Strachan will be seeking urgent talks with talented striker Noel Whelan this morning after the 24-year-old admitted that he was stalling on signing a new contract.

The player has two years to run on his existing deal with the club but his words suggest that he will not agree to extend that any further.

Whelan’s shock outburst came after City’s defeat by Southampton on Saturday, when he admitted that he would leap at the chance to return to former hunting ground Elland Road.

Both Whelan and striker partner Darren Huckerby have been linked with Leeds in the past week after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s 12 million departure left a vacancy at the Yorkshire club.

Whelan has now heightened the speculation about his own future at Coventry after he appealed to Leeds boss David O’Leary to end his Elland Road exile.

He said:

"I would love the chance to go back to my old club. My family is there and that’s where my heart is."

But the former England U21 star knows that his chequered past may count against him in any possible deal.

He said:

"I wish I could see it happening but I can’t convince myself. Maybe it’s as much to do with what has happened off the pitch as on it."

However, City boss Gordon Strachan has defended the player and believes his comments were taken completely out of context.

He said:

"Noel was in training at 9.20am this morning, which is probably the earliest he has arrived and he apologised to me and his team-mates for his naivety and assured everyone that he is fully behind them.

"We have gone through the taped interview and Noel kept stressing that his priority was with Coventry and pledged himself to the club for the next two years unless something else happens in the meantime.

"I don’t think that came across in any of the stories."
  

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 9 Aug 99

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