Now Friday D-Day

Last updated : 26 January 2004 By Kevin Markey

"The board of Leeds United plc announces that the standstill period with the company's principal finance creditors has today been extended to 5pm on 30 January 2004," Leeds told the London stock exchange today.

The official Leeds website earlier had confirmed it was in talks about a takeover and "constructive talks are continuing".

"As previously announced, the standstill agreement also provides for a further extension to February 6, 2004, conditional on achievement of certain financial and other covenants," said the Leeds statement.

Leeds shares, up 22 percent earlier in the day, closed 11 percent higher at 4.25 pence.

Leeds suitors were thought to include Chinese businessman Xu Ming and Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak, a member of Bahrain's royal family, according to newspapers.

Only four clubs have folded in mid-season since the start of the English league 116 years ago.