Leeds United’s torrid Christmas period is now over having only collected two points from a possible 12 and having been dumped out of the FA Cup at the hands of Rochdale. But will this cash injection from the Sport Capital consortium bring confidence and optimism to the team or act as a distraction?
The performance against Blackpool was the only shining light during the Christmas matches as the whites were in control of the game for about 70 minutes. From reports the performance againstNottingham Forest was disappointing and Leeds did not deserve to beat Blackburn even if the referee had a poor game and should have given us opportunities to draw level and win the game. What was puzzling to see was when Paddy Kenny got injured at Forest, why didn’t McDermott substitute him with Alex Cairns? It almost seems as if that the manager doesn’t trust Cairns enough to step in. The Whites do have another option in Jamie Ashdown and as we saw last season in both cup competitions, can handle himself well between the posts. I was even more surprised to see Kenny play against Blackburn as well. And in actual fact I think that it cost us the game because I believe that Kenny could potentially stopped Jordan Rhodes’ goal and the second goal, he stayed on his line when he should to claim it himself if it was fit. A fully fit goalkeeper would have been able to command his box and claim crosses and corners. I do have to admit though one of our best moments of play against Blackburn, was Kenny passing the ball along the floor to one of his defenders and then building a move along the floor from the back which culminated with a shot from Mowatt which forced a save from the goalkeeper.
I believe an important move from Leeds United was to sign Zaliukas on a longer term deal. Although we have only taken a couple points over the Christmas period, we have found a defensive talisman in Zaliukas and I believe that he could get in to the starting line-up of some premier league teams.
Cash has been given to McDermott to spend this January window and it looks as if Cameron Stewart of Hull will be Leeds’ first transfer. However, it looks as if this could be only on loan. Stewart is a winger and is what McDermott has been looking for since the start of loan market. There has also been talk of Max Gradel making a return to the club. It is a move the fans would love to see but would mean that the team could have to change the system in which they play. I see this as a good thing now, because at the moment our current system doesn’t seem to be working against the opposition.
This new cash injection should bring a sense of optimism and confidence to the team because with the board agreeing to bring some quality players to club, this should bring in some confidence and help the team strive for success and that’s what the players want. I do feel that the club can reach the play-offs. The team needs to get in to the play-off places and consolidate their place there. It will be hard because as we see every year with the Championship everyone can beat each other.
Leeds now move on to the Yorkshire derby against Sheffield Wednesday and hope to have one or two new players in the squad by then. Sheffield Wednesday have a new confidence themselves under caretaker boss Stuart Gray and will hoping to get the bragging rights over Leeds. Fans of course will be hoping for a good performance and for the win and I do feel that we have enough to get past the Owls at Hillsborough.