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Page last updated at 08:47 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 09:47 UK

Jermaine Beckford in Simon Grayson's plans for Leeds

Jermaine Beckford
Several Premier League sides are interested in signing Beckford

Leeds United manager Simon Grayson insists Jermaine Beckford still has a big part to play for the club.

The side's top-scorer was dropped for the first time in three years for Tuesday's win at Carlisle after failing to score in his last five matches.

Grayson told BBC Radio Leeds: "It's a big decision to leave your leading goalscorer out - he's been fantastic.

"After the last few games his confidence is probably a little bit low and we're there to make that decision."

Beckford has already scored 27 goals this season but was booed by sections of the home crowd during Saturday's win over Southend at Elland Road.

The 26-year-old was replaced for Tuesday's game at Brunton Park with Luciano Becchio partnering Max Gradel - a decision Grayson felt was justified, with both strikers scoring in the 3-1 win.

Every other team in our division and probably in the league above us would like to have Jermaine Beckford

Simon Grayson

"Luciano affected the game on Saturday and that's why we went for it tonight. Him and Max were a real handful for the Carlisle back four and could have had a hat-trick each.

"I'm sure throughout the game they kept looking over to the bench and when you see Jermaine and Mike Grella there, then you've got to keep working and putting in a performance."

It has been a mixed season for Beckford, who is out of contract in the summer.

While his goals have kept Leeds in the hunt for automatic promotion, he also submitted and withdrew a transfer request, with Everton rumoured to be a likely summer destination.

Grayson, however, believes the London born player still has a major part to play in his side's promotion push.

"If Jermaine remains on the bench from now until the end of the season then it proves the other two are doing their job. But there is that competition for places which we need from now until the end of the season," Grayson said.

"He has a massive role for us, whether it's from the bench or starting.


"Every other team in our division and probably in the league above us would like to have Jermaine Beckford when he's scored the amount of goals that he has - he'll play a big part for us.

The Leeds boss added: "Just because he didn't start for us tonight doesn't mean he won't start at the weekend, but he's affecting the other two lads that have the shirt at this moment in time.

"They've got to keep doing the same job that they've done tonight to keep him out of the team."

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