Three who played for both: Leeds United v Burton Albion
Monday, 4th Sep 2017 20:00 by @LucasMonk_
Ahead of Saturday's eagerly anticipated home fixture against Burton Albion, Lucas Monk reflects upon three players to have sported both the white of United and the yellow of the Brewers.
On Saturday, Leeds United play host to Burton Albion at Elland Road with the Whites keen to avenge April's 2-1 defeat to the Brewers at the Pirelli Stadium.
The aforementioned result all but ensured that United's aspirations of reaching the 2016-17 play-offs would dissipate, but under the fresh leadership of Thomas Christiansen Leeds will enter the match bidding to record a home success to extend their undefeated sequence of results under the former APOEL Nicosia head coach.
Ahead of the match, here are three players who have featured for both teams.
Luke Varney, forward
The 34-year-old English forward is unquestionably the most prominent player to have ever featured for non-league outfit Quorn. Between 2000 and 2003, Varney's propensity to score freely for the Leicestershire club culminated in the then assistant manager of Crewe Alexandra, Neil Baker, advising that the Railwaymen sign him.
Varney would go on to spend four years at Gresty Road, scoring 27 goals in 95 league appearances before a move to Charlton Athletic in 2007. He would spend only two seasons contracted to the Addicks before signing for Derby County in 2009, after having been on loan with the Rams in the prior campaign. Varney featured on a meagre five occasions for Derby, being farmed out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday in three separate instances. He netted a combined 11 goals in 33 appearances for the Owls, before joining Blackpool, then of the Premier League, on loan for the 2010-11 season. Varney's move to the Seasiders included a clause that allowed Blackpool to acquire him permanently at the end of the loan spell for a fee of £500,000.
Varney would make a sprightly start to his time at Bloomfield Road; in only his first match as a Blackpool player, he scored against Fulham in an eventual 2-2 draw. He would be made to wait until October for his second goal for the Tangerines, netting a first-half goal against Liverpool at Anfield - Varney's strike would prove decisive as Blackpool won the match 2-1. He would go on to find the net on a derisory three occasions over the course of the season's remainder, with Blackpool manager Ian Holloway electing not to purchase the player following the club's relegation from the Premier League.
After weeks of incessant speculation, Varney penned a three-year contract with Portsmouth of the Championship on the 6th of July, 2011. Pompey paid a reputed £750,000 for the player, who would go on to make 30 appearances and score six goals in his solitary season at Fratton Park. Varney enjoyed a rich - but ephemeral - vein of form following the departure of Steve Cotterill, when he was deployed in a 4-4-2 formation. He scored three goals in three matches, netting against Barnsley and scoring twice in a victory against Doncaster Rovers. He could not prevent Portsmouth's relegation to League One and was but one player to depart the club in the close season, with Pompey required to substantially reduce their wage bill due to the club being mired in financial turmoil.
Varney subsequently signed for Leeds United in July 2012, with the forward agreeing a two-year contract with the Whites. He scored and assisted on his competitive debut for the club, in a League Cup match at home to Shrewsbury Town. He would then suffer the ignominy of missing from all of two yards in a League Cup fixture against Southampton at Elland Road, in addition to being sent off against Millwall for a deliberate elbow. Varney would go on to score in a famous 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in January 2013, as well as netting against former club Charlton and scoring a decisive brace in a 2-1 win against Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday. In the following season, Varney was utilised sparingly and, following a brief loan spell with Blackburn Rovers toward the end of that season, he was released by United in May 2014.
Since his time at Elland Road, Varney has played for Blackburn Rovers and Ipswich Town - before joining current employers Burton Albion in January, following the mutual cancellation of his contract with the Tractor Boys. His only goal for the Brewers to date arose against Barnsley last season in a 1-1 draw, a result that confirmed Albion's avoidance of relegation.
Luke Murphy, midfielder
The 27-year-old is still contracted to Leeds United, but the player spent the second half of last season on loan at the PIrelli Stadium and has since re-signed for the Brewers on a loan basis until the end of the current season.
Murphy signed for Leeds in July 2013, for a fee that exceeded £1,000,000. Murphy, 27, had been a linchpin of the Crewe Alexandra team for five years. He made his professional debut for the club in December 2008, in a 1-0 victory over Swindon Town. He would go on to establish a highly fruitful partnership with future Aston Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood, before succeeding Westwood as captain in the summer of 2012.
The 2012-13 season would see Murphy's career reach its apex. He thundered in nine goals in all competitions, assisted on 12 occasions and captained and scored for Crewe in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final - Crewe defeated Walsall 2-0. Murphy was voted as the fourth best player in League One for the 2012-13 season and was inducted into the PFA team of the year for the division.
Following what was, by far, the most productive season of his career, Murphy enunciated his desire to compete at a higher level. In June 2013, Crewe accepted a trinity of bids for the player from three interested parties - Leeds United, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers. Murphy rebuffed the overtures of Wanderers and Rovers and was officially unveiled as a Leeds United player on July 1st, 2013. United paid a fee that exceeded £1,000,000 in order to secure his signature.
Murphy made his debut for Leeds in the first match of the 2013-14 season at home to Brighton and Hove Albion. Leonardo Ulloa had converted an Andrew Crofts cross to hand the Seagulls a slender advantage but after Ross McCormack restored parity for Leeds, the match was finely poised with both sides having scored a goal apiece. In the dying embers of the match, Murphy scampered through Brighton's defensive lines and, despite accusations of him handling the ball, gleefully finished from close proximity to win the game for United.
Murphy would make a further 36 appearances for Leeds that season, with his only additional goals coming in a 2-0 victory over Blackpool at Elland Road. By this juncture, Leeds had fallen out of play-off contention and the win was the club's first since the controversial takeover of the club by Massimo Cellino in January 2014. The manager who signed Murphy, Brian McDermott, was sacked by Leeds at the end of the season, but Murphy continued to feature regularly for Leeds in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons - he scored a combined four goals and made 66 appearances in this time.
In spite of having been selected often by Steve Evans in the 2015-16 campaign, Murphy failed to make a solitary appearance last season under the management of Garry Monk. In a search for regular football, the player departed for Burton Albion on loan in January 2017 until the end of the season. Murphy proved integral in assisting Burton in their battle to avoid relegation to League One, and has since joined the Brewers on loan once more until the end of the present season. He is expected to leave Leeds permanently upon the expiry of his contract next summer.
Stephen Warnock, defender
An experienced left-back of 35 years, Stephen Warnock began his career with Liverpool in the early 2000s. He made his debut for the Reds in 2004, against Grazer AK in the UEFA Champions League, and would go on to make 40 league appearances for the club before signing for Blackburn Rovers in 2007.
Blackburn, then divisional rivals of Liverpool, parted with a reputed £1,500,000 sum to purchase Warnock in January 2007. Warnock had gained experience while on loan at Bradford City and Coventry City respectively, and his performances had impressed the Lancashire club enough for them to elect to sign him.
Warnock would make his debut for Rovers in a comprehensive 4-0 defeat of Luton Town in the fourth round of the FA Cup, and would make a further 108 appearances for the Ewood Park outfit in all competitions. Warnock would leave Blackburn in August 2009 after little more than two years with the club, joining Aston Villa on a four-year contract running until 2013.
Warnock would appear far less frequently for Aston Villa than he had done for Blackburn. After relinquishing his place in the first-team under Gérard Houllier in the 2010-11 campaign, he was offered an opportunity to rescue his Villa career in the following season by Alex McLeish. Warnock made 16 more league appearances than had been the case under Houllier, but following the termination of McLeish's contract and the subsequent appointment of Norwich City's Paul Lambert (after what had been a torrid season for the Villa), Warnock failed to make a single appearance for the club in the 2012-13 campaign.
On transfer deadline day in January 2013, it was announced that Warnock had accepted an offer to move to Leeds United. The player signed a two-and-a-half-year contract at Elland Road, having been deprived of first-team football at Villa Park for a considerable period of time. He would make his first competitive appearance for United in February 2013, in a 2-2 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux. Warnock scored his first league goal since 2011 against Millwall the following month, by converting a penalty with aplomb to hand United a 1-0 victory at Elland Road.
In the subsequent 2013-14 season, Warnock made 27 appearances and scored once. His solitary goal of that campaign came in bizarre circumstances away to Yeovil Town in February 2014. With the match being played amidst a backdrop of austere weather conditions, a free-kick, taken by Warnock, was lofted over the head of home 'keeper Marek Štěch with the aid of a fierce and gusty wind. The goal would win the game for Leeds, who had initially trailed after former West Bromwich Albion powerhouse Ishmael Miller scored a first-half header that was every bit as ferocious as the wind that day.
The following season saw Warnock feature with great regularity for Leeds, and he scored a decisive goal in a 1-0 home victory against Bolton Wanderers in August 2014. His sound and sensible form earned him the captaincy, but he was purchased by Derby County in January 2015 - for an undisclosed fee - in a move that brought to an end his time in West Yorkshire.
Warnock made a mere 27 appearances for Derby following his move from United, and was exiled to Wigan Athletic on a loan basis in March 2016. Following his brief loan spell at the DW Stadium, Warnock opted to sign a one-year contract with the club until the end of the 2016-17 season. After playing all but one of WIgan's Championship fixtures last season, the former England international signed for Burton Albion on a free transfer this summer.
Photo: Action Images
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