By Steve Barras
The transfer window beckons and the intentions of our new owners will soon become apparent, the rumoured £8-10 million war chest that Neil Warnock will have at his disposal should in an ideal world make Leeds United a major Play-Off contender, dare I say it, maybe top two material.
Many people are questioning the current squad as not being good enough, which is true as far as achieving promotion goes but to go as far as to say that the Whole squad needs a January makeover is laughable at best. In my own humble opinion Leeds need a few new additions to the squad to achieve ‘The Dream’. I will also suggest players that I think Neil Warnock should replace the released players with, these may not be the ‘Messi’ type players that we crave but they are the type of players that will help Neil break the promotion record.
Paddy Kenny has been in great form since making the summer switch from Q.P.R. It is true that he has made a couple of dodgy decisions or dodgy saves, the let-off at Sheffield Wednesday when the ball slipped out of his hands and hit the bar will stick in the memory but all in all he has had a great start to his spell at Leeds. He has also built up a great rapport with the Elland Road faithful. VERDICT: Retain.
Jamie Ashdown has had a somewhat indifferent start to his career at Elland Road. Signed as back-up to Paddy Kenny it is no surprise that we have seen only a handful of appearances mainly in The Capital One Cup but these have been against two Premier League sides in Everton and Southampton and conceded the one goal. A very capable reserve keeper. VERDICT:Retain.
Lee Peltier came to Leeds with a big reputation as a right sided defender and one that Neil Warnock was very surprised but delighted to acquire. Since then though Peltier has been consistently played out of position at left back and his form has suffered as a result of this. This has also led to the fans getting on his back, slightly unfair but you can see why. With the emergence of Sam Byram you can understand why Warnock has opted for the youngster but it seems like he is trying to justify his decision in making Peltier captain. VERDICT:Retain
Adam Drury like Jamie Ashdown has seen first team football sporadic at best. Signed from Norwich City as the release for Aidan White to roam free on the left wing but again Warnock has chosen to play him primarily on the right wing. Drury is another player who has suffered from Warnock’s selection policy. I would like to see him given a run in the team. VERDICT: Retain.
Tom Lees has progressed again this season but has been pushed out of the spotlight by the emergence of Sam Byram. Lees has made the step up to International level and has not looked out of place in Stuart Pearce’s England u21’s. Lees built up a good partnership with fellow centre back Jason Pearce at the beginning of the season and is one of the more consistent players at the club.
Jason Pearce signed from Portsmouth in the summer and came to Leeds with the reputation of an old fashioned, no nonsense central defender and he has not disappointed. Paired with the young Tom Lees, they have put their stamp on the positions even though Pearce has made a comeback to the Matchday squad on the bench following the acquisition of Alan Tate. VERDICT: Retain.
‘Paddy’ Kisnorbo has struggled to break into the first team squad following his recovery from a serious injury and in the occasional appearance that he has made he seemed a slight liability. A defence lining up with him in the centre wouldn’t fill me with any confidence. VERDICT: Release.
To replace Kisnorbo in the first team squad I would go for Mark Beevers from Sheffield Wednesday currently playing on loan at high flying Millwall. Although better than Kisnorbo he would obviously be back up to Lees, Pearce and Tate.
Alan Tate signed on an emergency loan from Swansea City and has impressed in his first few appearances helping Leeds to three league wins out of four. Keeping Tate must be a priority for Warnock in the coming weeks. VERDICT: Retain.
Sam Byram has been the shining light in this season so far, regularly impressing in the right back role and keeping players such as Wilfried Zaha in his back pocket. The only problem for me is that I would like to see Byram playing further up the pitch in the role that Robert Snodgrass filled last season. This could also be the reprieve that Lee Peltier is craving. VERDICT: Retain.
Paul Green signed on a free from Derby County and for me personally I feel he never really lived up to his hype before injury kept him out of the side for a number of months, but since his return he has put in a number of good shifts on the right side of midfield, scoring against his former club in the process. VERDICT: Retain.
Rodolph Austin came to Leeds with a massive reputation as a hardman midfielder and the tackles that he has put in, in a white shirt have certainly proved that to be true. He can also hit a ball and shouts of ‘SHOOT’ from the stands everytime he is within distance are great and when you see him take notice you can see why he is already emerging as a fan favourite. VERDICT: Retain.
Jerome Thomas signed along with Alan Tate in an emergency loan from West Brom and like Tate he has impressed in his short spell with the whites. His pace is something that we are lacking and should be one of the priorities in January. VERDICT: Retain.
Aidan White is another player that has suffered with bizarre positioning decisions by his manager. Left footed White has been played primarily on the right side of midfield and like Peltier his form has suffered. A run on the left side of midfield could benefit him. VERDICT: Retain.
Danny Pugh was transfer listed in the summer but his high wages have been a stumbling block for the lower league teams that want him. Not fit to play in a Leeds team. VERDICT: Release.
To replace Pugh I would love to see Max Gradel back at the club and this will be a test of GFHC’s monetary intentions.
Michael Brown is a favourite of Warnock’s but I personally cannot see why, Brown is at best a loose cannon. The only thing you can be sure of is the fact that he will eventually earn himself a yellow card in any given game. VERDICT: Release
To replace Brown I would go for a bit of youth in Derby County’s Jeff Hendrick. Derby are strapped for cash at the moment and a decent offer could tempt The Rams to part with their Irish International.
Michael Tonge signed on loan from Stoke at the beginning of the season and had scored some important goals for Leeds. If played in the centre of midfield you can see how good he can be at this level but again Warnock’s selection policy has seen him on the right side of midfield. VERDICT: Retain.
David Norris had started off very well in the centre of midfield but injury has hampered him. Since coming back into contention he has again impressed and he strikes me as a Jonny Howson type player. The workroom of a midfield. VERDICT: Retain
Ryan Hall has been suffering from lack of match fitness since signing on loan from Southend United. Hall has impressed in the Development squad, scoring four of Leeds five goals in their win over an experienced Derby County side. He has found himself in the first team of late and has impressed, setting up two goals against Huddersfield. VERDICT: Retain
Luciano Becchio is somewhat of a quandary for me. You can’t argue with his eye for goal but his first touch and ball retention are reminiscent of an elephant but goals win games. VERDICT: Retain.
Ross McCormack is our best striker at the moment with bags of energy that he is always willing to exploit. Has had his first bad game for Leeds against Derby but he will bounce back from that. VERDICT: Retain.
Luke Varney has been disappointing at best whilst he has worn the white of Leeds and has been guilty of ‘The Miss of the Century’ against Southampton in The Capital One Cup. VERDICT: Release
To replace Varney I would plump for the energetic Craig Mackail-Smith. The striker has an eye for goal and the tenacity of a Yorkshire Terrier.
El Hadji-Diouf has won over his critics and I think it is safe to say that we would be in an incredibly worse position if it wasn’t for his skill and ability to read the game. A contract for him is a must for GFHC. VERDICT: Retain.
Davide Somma is still struggling with injury but has finally started training again. Has yet to feature for Warnock’s Leeds but his reputation as a ‘Super-Sub’ will give him an edge. VERDICT: Retain.
Andy Gray should never have been allowed to come back to the club. It was a sign of how desperate Warnock had become with the Bates regime when he signed the ageing striker for a second spell at the club. VERDICT: Release.
To replace Gray would have to be a second spell for one Jermaine Beckford, a man who needs no introduction to Leeds fans.
Well there you have it, a wish list of five players that may stretch the proposed transfer budget at Warnock’s disposal but if made reality then surely would see Leeds United safely into The Premier League.
Marching on Together.