With Leeds showing a lack of firepower in the final third last season, Garry Monk is surely looking at how to bolster his attacking lineup come August.
Monk may look to add not one but two forwards to support the form-of-his-life forward Chris Wood for next season. Wood finished with 30 goals in all competitions for Leeds, more than 50% of their entire goal tally.
As Monk looks toward signing improvements on our frontline, one striker could be a welcome addition for a minuet fee.
In my opinion, Daryl Murphy could be a fantastic addition to our firepower and wouldn't cost a bomb when it came to securing his services.
The former 14/15 Championship top goal scorer is currently plying his trade on the St James' Park subs bench and may look to move on for the better of his career this summer.
Murphy is now 34-years old and will be surplus to requirements after Newcastle successfully returned to the Premier League this season. The ROI forward was used sparingly for the bench and still pulled together 6 goals from 15 appearances this season.
If anything, he's a worthy gamble and light on the cash in order for Monk to go ahead and bring in a higher class of striker with the cash we'd save from Murphy. He's shown before that he's got the power and somewhat pace to challenge Championship defenders and he's deadly in front of goal.
He's not the most exciting signing, but he is a smart move that could provide Leeds with at least double figures if given the opportunity in front of goal.
What's your opinion? Would Murphy be a good signing? Or is the former hitman now past it? Have your say in the comments below.
By Ryan Ingham
Saturday should have been a good day out for our nearest, but not dearest neighbours in Bradford.
It wasn't because once again Millwall the 'Teflon' club of the Football League got away with doing anything they bloody want to. It's a disgrace that these morons can continually do things against football and nothing is ever done against them.
They have recently been voted the 'Family club of 2016/17' which is on the same lines as saying Teressa May is sympathetic towards the working man or woman.
I wonder what they have to do for something to 'stick' against them. I have spoken to people who I know went down and they said their behaviour was beyond belief. Not kids mind you, grown men acting like animals.
Fear and apprehension was amongst the City contingent as they travelled towards Wembley and on their way back, not the nicest ways to make your way to the biggest game of your season.
The scenes at full time reminded me of the dark days of football, minus the chairs being thrown from the stands but the menace shown in the pictures has no place in the National or any football stadium. It's the dark side of football that may only be an undercurrent, it's still there unfortunately.
This was epitomised by the reaction of former Leeds 'corner hitter' Steve Morison who had grabbed the winner late on for the Lions.
Speaking after the full time whistle Morison said; "They've ruined it for me. Absolutely ruined it. I've never felt so high and then so low after the game. We should have been celebrating, not clearing those fans off the pitch. It should be our faces in the papers tomorrow, not the ones who have let us down."
Surely one of your heroes speaking out against you would create an epiphany that this game is more than just your piss-pot. Will it? Probably not.
Years ago when I was young and a little immature I'd follow the 'big lads' as they scouted and scoured the streets looking for other fans. I'm not proud but at least I had the sense to grow up and grow out of this activity.
The morons on view yesterday have obviously carried this on to their forties and fifties and brought their children up to do the same wayward ways their patents think are acceptable.
I hope one day that the FA actually do something to this disease in our game before somebody ends up on a mortuary slab. The Scottish fans who 'invaded' in 1975 were banned from coming for a while and I think a similar ban would deter any other club's fans behaving in the way Millwall's fans did yesterday.
Enough is Enough!
By Keith Ingham
Having browsed the twitterverse during the lonely news hours that seem to be encompassing Elland Road at this moment in time, one question stood out to me; did Leeds' strike force miss Mirco Antenucci?
It's an interesting question no doubt. Leeds' final third of the season was riddled with teams picking out how we would supply our talismanic Chris Wood and in turn, Leeds had been caught out.
Garry Monk looked like he really needed a second option to rather replace Wood or give him more support in the final third. Although Leeds attempted to utilise both Doukara and other alternatives, nothing seemed to fit when we needed it. The Leeds head coach seemed like he was putting square boxes into round holes in a desperate attempt to grab a goal.
One striker who had previously shown the ability to be able to unlock Championship defences was former striker Mirco Antenucci. The beard that was feared made a solid return of investment for Leeds, scoring a total of 19 goals in his two years in Yorkshire.
Although he may have not been clinical, he did know how to both score and create chances, something that could have further supported Chris Woods efforts. If handed the opportunities and support of the current squad around him, could Antenucci have been more clinical for Leeds this season?
Now currently at SPAL in Seria B, Mirco has gone on to score 20 goals in 39 appearances this season and has been linked with some of the mid-table Seria A teams in return of his efforts.
Granted he has more knowledge of the division he has spent most of his career in, Antenucci surely would have felt settled with English football by the time his third season came into effect.
Alas, Antenucci was the player that decided to depart the club due to being homesick, something that may have contributed to his brilliant season in Italy this year. But it does raise the question whether he could have been partly influential in our stagnating attack during the third part of our season.
What do you think? Could Antenucci have been a different option? Or was he past it by the time he had gone? Have your say in the comments below.
By Ryan Ingham
I hate to say I 'told you so' but if you listened to Thom Kirwin's Sunday night radio show you would have heard me call the Championship finalists of 2016/17.
Yes I predicted that Reading would play Huddersfield Town at Wembley for a chance to play a season of Premier League football and collect over one hundred million pounds for their troubles.
I'm pretty sure not many would have called it the same way, Fulham and Sheffield had impressive runs into the final weeks of the season, so good it left Leeds to wonder what might have been.
The playoffs are usually nervy affairs with both this season were draws; Reading going ahead before Fulham levelled matters and Sheffield Wednesday coming away from the John's Smith's stadium. The owls seemed happy after one of the most boring semi finals most fans have ever seen. All to play for in the second legs.
In a game that the Reading goalkeeper claimed the plaudits, Kermorgant gave the home side the lead from the penalty spot, after a dubious award of a second half penalty. Try as they may Fulham could not beat the inspired Al Habsi, the team nobody fancied had done it.
In Sheffield, the home side laid siege to the Town goal and were rewarded with a second half goal from Fletcher, only for Wells to reply. Extra time came and only Ward kept the home side out, so it was penalties that would arrange who joined Reading beneath the arch at Wembley.
Strangely a ten million pound striker wasn't among the Wednesday first five penalty takers, seems a lot to pay for a man that hasn't done bugger all since moving from Boro. It has to be said was that key players like that should not be AWOL when needed at a key stage of the game.
Huddersfield won the shoot out 4-3, Forresteri missing Sheffield's last one was priceless so Wembley bound Town are.
If you take the League Two semi finals that concluded last night and compare them with the drab games that represented the Championship, you'd be surprised and how much more inclined you would be to watch the fourth division's final instead.
Both games saw 95th minute goals deciding the final with a total of 11 goals from two games and 22 from the overall fixtures. Luton fought back a 3-2 loss against Blackpool but were ultimately silenced by a last ditch own goal while Exeter fought through a nervy last 10 minutes and came out victorious. If there's a playoff final you want to watch, I would consider that one.
But for the bout between Reading and Huddersfield: Will people flick on their TV's with pop and crisps? I won't and I think many other fans will feel the same, it may be a massive game but the teams that are taking part don't inspire the imagination.
Sour grapes of course it bloody is as I think a Leeds team in full flow would have ultimately gained revenge on two defeats against Town and although Reading beat Leeds on their patch, at ours we beat them minus Chris Wood for sixty minutes, despite them having the majority of possession, doing nothing with it.
I'll be away abroad and will probably hear the score via Social Media, I shan't be wasting a few hours of my holiday watching it that's for sure!
By Keith Ingham
Yesterday Leeds finally released their end of season retained list and their wasn't many surprises to the players that had been kept on or let go.
As expected, stand out performer Pablo Hernandez's contract has been extended for another season as part of his current deal. The talented midfielder has been one of Leeds' key signings last season, being a creative force in midfield.
However his form had dropped in the final third of the season and this could have been due to tiredness or even complacency. Let's hope that with a hit more support and a good preseason behind him he can be the phenomenal playmaker that we have seen on occasion this season.
Young striker Eoghan Stokes and full back Tom Pearce have both been offered new deals to continue their development at the club along with automatic extensions for Romario Vieira and Conor Shaughnessy. Stokes especially is said to be highly regarded within the youth setup, having featured predominantly for the development squad and picking up a good amount of goals.
Leeds have also offered want-away full back and part time snake Charlie Taylor a two year extension to his current deal in order to comply with FA regulations regarding compensation for a player under 24 years of age. It's highly expected he won't contact the club regarding the deal.
The loan quintet of Pedraza, Sacko, Grimes, Barrow and Bartley have all returned to their parent clubs. However it's been expected for some time that Leeds will attempt to secure both Bartley and Sacko to permanent deals.
Bartley has been a main stay in the heart of Leeds' defence partnering the now permanent signing of Pontus Jansson and would be a welcome addition to the club.
Whereas Sacko started off as a breakout star in the Leeds team with his blistering pace but had seen his opportunities limited for the final third of the season. It's understood that Leeds had agreed a permanent fee with parent club Sporting CP but are now looking to negotiate the deal.
Former winger Jordan Botaka has seen his option of a third year at Elland Road not offered and will not leave as a free agent this summer. The skilled winger had began to pick up his performances under Steve Evans but was ultimately loaned out to Charlton by Garry Monk.
With Leeds losing several wingers on temporary deals, it seems frivolous to allow a winger with some potential to leave so early. Let's hope that Monk was confident with what he has planned.
Other players that have been released by the club include; Ross Turnbull, Michael Taylor, Billy Whitehouse, Jack Vann and Alex Purver.
Whitehouse's departure may come as a surprise after Garry Monk had decided to field the youngster in the FA Cup tie against Barnet earlier this season. However the youngsters performance was sub-par and that may have been a contributing factor.
Leeds will now be focussing their attention on securing head coach Monk to a longer deal before conducting any transfer business but are said to be interested in former academy graduate Jonny Howson and Exeter hotshot Ollie Watkins.
By Ryan Ingham
Normality was restored to English football yesterday when another Leeds prospect was selected for England duty.
Ronaldo Vieira has been called up for the England Under 20 team for this summers Toulon tournament, a prestigious event that showcases some of Europes emerging elite.
The Leeds youngster, who was signed from the i2i academy and handed his debut by Steve Evans last season had a choice of which nationality to play under; having been eligible for Guinea-Bissau, Portugal or England.
Vieira, who has risen to be a key player for Leeds this season under Garry Monk and has come on leaps and bounds over the season, making 38 appearances in all competitions and this could be the next step in his progression at Elland Road.
I believe that the 18-year old will come back with a better understanding of how young footballers in England progress and also having witnessed a different style of football to the rough and tumble of the Championship.
There's no doubt in my mind that Vieira will be key to Garry Monk's plans next season and having this opportunity can only better his footballing knowledge.
Congratulations Ronaldo, it'll be nice to see the name on the back of an England shirt for once!
By Ryan Ingham
The dust is settling, the lads have jetted of to sunnier parts of the world for a well earned rest and Garry Monk still isn't tied down to at least a three year deal.
Some things change but others unfortunately don't, please Mr Radrizzani let's gets a signature off this man before somebody else does. Time is of the essence my friend!
After meeting a few of the lads and lasses that have served Radio Yorkshire so well, it got me thinking what makes a team that can guarantee you a top six place in the Championship. Here's an article rating what we have and what we need.
First you need a experienced back line, in Rob Green, Luke Ayling, Pontus Jansson (he'll sign!) and Gaetano Berardi you've got that much needed experience and the bonus that they've played together, well nearly for a full season.
Add another two centre backs (Kyle Bartley) and one other you've got a bloody good back line, plus Liam Cooper, who for some reason is out of favour with some fans but I believe him to be an able back up. Lewie Coyle and Tyler Denton are experienced youngsters to cover both right and left back.
Defensive rating B+ (with Bartley in it)
It's the midfield where I hope Mr Radrizzani invests MOST in, only O'Kane, Dallas, captain Liam Bridcutt and youngsters Kalvin Phillips, Ronaldo Vieira definitely remain. Pablo Hernandez at this point hasn't had the option taken up on extending his contract yet.
Eunan O'Kane was vastly underused and showed when he played late in the season what an asset he could be, given the opportunity. Remember, he's an established Republic of Ireland international so it's not that he's a poor player, more poorly used.
I've had countless conversations about Stuart Dallas as he also has enough international caps to fill a hat shop, but came back from the World Cup and his wedding half the player we'd seen previously. A fully fit, motivated Dallas would be in my opening eighteen come August time, whoever was signed.
Phillips and Vieira have 'come on', especially Ronaldo but do we really want two great potentials playing forty plus games?
Of the players that have left I can only see Hadi Sacko maybe returning in another season long loan, Pedraza maybe needs another season under his wings in Seria B to be considered again, unless another loan spell could be agreed.
Leeds need a player, like a Gordon Strachan who would make people think "Leeds mean business next year".
Bags of experience for definite and one that players can look up to, Jonny Howson anybody?
Midfield rating: D+
Definitely an area that needs improving if the club is serious about challenging for a top six place.
When you've a striker that has just banged in thirty goals clubs will be looking at him, but Chris Wood has stated previously that he's looking forward to another season with Leeds, it might be worthwhile, mind you to offer him a few more quid to keep the vultures away (Remember Snods, Beckford, Howson, Cook etc).
What we need with Wood is another option, somebody who would push the New Zealander to continue where he left off, these players don't come cheap but they are out there. Fletcher, Murphy at Newcastle, maybe even Rhodes at Wednesday, if they don't go up.
Although I have acknowledge the efforts of Kemar Roofe and Souleymane Doukara none of the above will guarantee you fifteen goals next term and that's what we need. Marcus Antonsson is a player we've not seen the best from, goals at Fleetwood and Sheffield were not enough to convince Garry Monk to keep him involved in the eighteen.
Attack rating: B- (Chris Wood mind you gets a A+) After midfield, key to our chances of improving on seventh this term.
So the squad needs an upgrade, but not as radical as most previous pre season's.
Quality investment in the key areas I've mentioned could be just enough to get Leeds to the promised land.
By Keith Ingham
Garry Monk's looks ahead to the last game of the 2016/17 season at Wigan Athletic and his future: Leeds will be without Pontus Jansson who is suspended, Liam Bridcutt and Marco Silvestri are out injured, indicated how important it is to win the last game of the season, squad is focused on the game, if Leeds win the points total (77) would, under usual circumstances be enough to qualify for the playoffs, Leeds are a massive club, this season has shown how big they could be, will speak to Andrea Radrizzani after the game with Wigan.
In regards to his future, Monk said; "I’ve heard a lot of rumours this week but nothing’s been decided yet. I’m still to speak to the club but I’ve had contact from Mr Radrizzani. He wants to sit after the game and discuss all the issues, I’m looking forward to talking to him. There’s a lot of things to talk about and a lot of things that need putting in place. I know what my views are on what the squad needs. Until we sit and discuss that and the club’s views on how to do it, it (Radrizzani’s thinking) won’t be clear. I know from working with this squad every day."
"I’ve got a clear understanding. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it here, getting my teeth into the job and trying to make it work and I think we have, now it’s a case of everyone being smart and understanding the best opportunity to build going forward. Next season’s a big season, you've seen how competitive the league is and it’s only going to get more competitive. The club have to be ready to do the right thing and make sure next season is one where we can fight."
This day in history; Leeds are Promoted as Champions of Division Two after a 1-0 win over AFC Bournemouth, Lee Chapman with the winning goal.
We've met before
Wigan 0 Leeds 1 Champ March 15
Wigan 1 Leeds 0 Champ April 14
Wigan 1 Leeds 1 FA Cup 3rd Round Jan 06
Wigan 3 Leeds 0 Champ Feb 05
Wigan 0 Leeds 2 FA Cup 6th Round March 1987
I've said elsewhere that 'my season' ended on the referees whistle at the end of the Wolverhampton Wanderers game at Elland Road, it hurt and still does that other teams and not us will play in the playoffs next Saturday and Sunday, good luck to them but you won't see me watching the games.
My earlier blog gave a few reasons why I thought we weren't going to be in there but now we need to finish off our Championship campaign with a little style, if possible.
Wigan Athletic are relegated to League One already and remember not so long ago (2013) they lifted the FA Cup after beating Manchester City with a last minute goal. The same season they were relegated from the Premiership. Now they face the ignominy of relegation along with Rotherham United and it has to be seen if their players have anything left in the tank.
Pontus Jansson and captain Liam Bridcutt sit out the final game due to suspension and injury. Many of the eighteen on duty may or not return to their parent clubs after their loan spells end, it is hoped at least Kyle Bartley is on Andrea Radrizzani's summer shopping list, but a lot will depend on whether Swansea are relegated from the Premiership.
'Dead rubber' games usually don't provide much entertainment, I hope this game is different as the Leeds fans especially deserve a win to end their travels with, they are the best fans in the world in my opinion.
On this day, forty five years ago Leeds United won the 1972 Centenary FA Cup at Wembley, the 1-0 win over Arsenal is still regarded as one of the greatest days the club has had and still the only time the famous trophy has been won by Leeds.
The cup final win came after two previous attempts in 1965 and 1970, after a replay ended in defeat. I was twelve years old and I still remember Allan Clarke's headed goal and Mick Jones being helped up the Wembley stairs by Norman Hunter to collect his medal.
A superb day.
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