Derby County catch Leeds spy at training ground ahead of Friday game
Matt Watson / Southampton FC / Getty

England's second division, the Championship, has everything - a clash of footballing styles, fallen giants, and high-scoring games. But perhaps espionage is a step too far.

Ahead of Friday's top-six clash between Derby County and Leeds United, the Rams caught a man watching their training session on Thursday. Police later confirmed the man is a member of Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds staff, according to a statement from Derby.

The Telegraph's John Percy and Matt Law report Derby manager Frank Lampard was forced to stop the club's training session due to a man surveying proceedings through binoculars. He was later found to also be in possession of a change of clothes and a pair of pliers.

The obvious inference is that the unwelcome visitor was there to glean information about Lampard's plans ahead of the Friday meeting at Elland Road. Percy and Law report that Lampard is deeply concerned about the potential security breach.

Police apprehended the man but didn't make an arrest. The Football League told BBC Sport the two clubs will resolve the matter.

Later on Friday, the Football Association stated: "We are aware of the incident at Derby County’s training ground and we will be investigating the matter," according to BBC Sport's Richard Conway.

Eight points separate Championship leaders Leeds and sixth-placed Derby. Though the Whites beat the Rams 4-1 at Pride Park earlier this season, Bielsa's charges have lost three straight games and, apparently, are looking for any advantage to stop that slide.

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Derby County catch Leeds spy at training ground ahead of Friday game
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