By Mike Courtney
Looks like being a very happy Christmas over at Elland Road. Five wins out of six in the league since the takeover was finally announced in November, 25k at match yesterday, Becchio on fire, only 2 points off a playoff spot and money in the bank to spend in January.
Cast your mind back to the 18th of November as we
were coming off the back of 3 defeats in a row and no win in 7 League games as we drifted precariously close to the relegation spots and the takeover saga dragging on and on. Who would have thought we'd be where we are now.
The announcement of the takeover definitely gave the whole club a massive boost and the response of the players since has exceeded even the most optimistic fans, myself included, expectations. Ok some of the performances might not have been great and we were probably lucky to get maximum points in some of those games, yesterday included, but what the team have shown is a battling never say die
attitude that has seen us pick up points in games we would surely have dropped prior to the takeover being ratified.
The stand out performer for me in this six game run has most definitely been Luciano Becchio. Not just his goals, six in six and that's not counting his goal against Chelsea, but his all round performance, hold up play and desire to get on the end of crosses and get in where it hurts. I must be honest here. At the start of the season I was not convinced that Becchio was the man to lead the line and get us the goals needed to drive us on to promotion. I felt we needed a fox in the box type out and out goal poacher like Charlie Austin or Billy Sharp. But his performances since the takeover and the quality of his finishing and in particular the header against Huddersfield, the finish against Chelsea and his first goal yesterday have proved me wrong and you can't argue with his strike rate this season. His performances are now attracting the attention of premier league clubs and if we don't get him signed to a long term deal shortly we could very well lose him like we lost Beckford, Max, Snoddy and Howson. For me this is the most important signing that Warnock and GFH need to get done.
On that topic I see that we are linked with Ricky Lambert in the Sunday Papers. Without a doubt he is a proven striker at this level and his goal scoring ability would be a great addition to the squad but he is a Becchio type player and playing both would mean dropping Diouf. I'm just not sure that this is the priority at present as we also have Somma back from injury and McCormack not getting a look in at the
moment. I think the area we need to strengthen is the left side of the team. Peltier is not a left back and if Warnock doesn't have confidence in Drury or White to play left back then we need some one in there straight away. This would free up Peltier to play in his best position, right back, and allow our other stand out performer this season Sam Byram to move up to right side of midfield, like what happened yesterday, and give us an extra attacking option.
We will also probably lose Jerome Thomas when his initial loan spell finishes so we need an attacking option on the left, someone with pace and flair and who can also chip in with a few goals. Mad Max is the obvious choice but I can't see him coming back unless we are in the top flight so Adam Hamill or Robbie Brady are just two names I'll throw out there. A creative central midfielder would also be on my wish list and getting Tate and Tonge back full time would complete the jigsaw and give us a squad capable of getting us promotion.
So as we move onto two tough away fixtures all that remains is for me to wish all you Leeds United supporters and your families a Happy and Peaceful Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
MOT Leeds Leeds Leeds