By Andrew Butterwick
After the excitement of the transfer comings and goings and the magical FA Cup victory at the Theatre of Hope Leeds return to league action against top of the league Cardiff. Activity on transfer deadline day at Leeds was unusually busy with Morison, Warnock and Habibou all arriving in LS11 looking to further their careers in a white shirt. News that Becchio was travelling that well worn track down the A17 to the Leeds Utd retirement home for half decent players, otherwise known as Carrow Road, was disappointing though if not unsurprising.
Opinion was varied amongst the mighty whites fans as to the success or otherwise of our transfer dealings. In the white heat of excitement of the takeover the January transfer window was held up as a fantastic opportunity for the new owners to ring in the new era with some quality signings that would bolster our promotion hopes. The reality was a little more sobering though but in the end at least this year we have replaced the star player we sold with arguably a better player in Morison. Sad as it was to see Becchio go Morison should bring a different dimension to the Leeds attack with his pace and strength. The need for a left back has been on Leeds' transfer shopping list for the last dozen transfer windows at least so all eyes will be on the latest player to try and fill that fateful position, Stephen Warnock. Probably not what you would call a stellar signing especially coming with the dubious reputation of not been needed at Aston Villa, a team in serious free fall. Time will tell though and hopefully he can make the position his own and add some solidity to the back four. The third signing on deadline day was the gloriously named Mouhamadou Habib Habibou who was plucked from the Belgian League on loan until the end of the season. His penchant for throwing ducks from the field of play seems to have overshadowed his qualities as a footballer. The Central African Drogba lookalike has certainly caused a stir at Elland Road already before he's made his debut. Will Habibou be more Nunez than Jimmy Floyd though? Add the signings made earlier in the window, Tonge, Hall and Barkley in on loan NW has shuffled his pack whilst clearing out a lot of the fringe players. Will his dealings improve Leeds? The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. February is the month of death for Leeds United.
If the FA Cup magic and the fresh faces in the squad can lift Leeds then the February fixture list will be the proving ground that defines Leeds' season starting with Cardiff at home. With games against Wolves, Boro, Blackburn and Blackpool to follow plus a trip to Man City in the cup the opportunity to push on and flirt with the play off spots is there for the taking. Cardiff will be a tough nut to crack though. They are top of the league by ten points but with Leeds on a run of six league wins on the bounce at Elland Road behind them I'm backing Leeds to cause another upset and send the lamb lovers back to Wales pointless. That would be mint!
In the end we didn't spend any money in the transfer window but we still managed to bring a few fresh faces in. Alright we couldn't capture a Chris Wood but Steve Morison is not a bad addition. There is a hint of optimism at Elland Road after all the recent negativity. Can Leeds feed on this optimism and go unbeaten through February? If they do then the memories of woeful defeats to Forest, Hull and Barnsley will be replaced by dreams of the play offs and Wembley for the mighty whites. Live is never dull on Planet Leeds. Let the month of death begin. Bring it on. Get your money on a 2.1 win for Leeds against Cardiff with Ross Mac bagging at least one goal against his old club.