Leeds United 1 Blackburn Rovers 2: Funding promise for McDermott

Rodolph Austin fires in a shot. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Rodolph Austin fires in a shot. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Brian McDermott is confident of receiving adequate support from Leeds United’s board with the pressure for transfers intensifying after a New Year’s Day defeat to Blackburn Rovers.

McDermott called again for an urgent injection of fresh blood at Elland Road as he reflected on another display which questioned his squad’s ability to stay in the fight for the Championship play-offs.

The United manager met yesterday with managing director David Haigh – the man fronting a takeover of Leeds which as yet remains incomplete – and received a fresh promise of funding for a crucial January transfer window.

McDermott had voiced concern about the depth of his resources after Leeds’ 2-1 loss to Nottingham Forest on Sunday and a limp first-half against Blackburn condemned his side to defeat by the same scoreline yesterday afternoon.

The 52-year-old has already made contact with two of his targets, one of them thought to be Hull City’s Cameron Stewart. One prospective signing has turned Leeds down, indicating that he will be joining a Premier League side this month.

McDermott said: “We’re squeezing everything out of the players here and they’re doing what they can but it’s time now to bring in some new players to freshen the squad and help those who are here.

“I’ve spoken to someone already and it would be good if we can do that. I’ve had another good conversation with David Haigh. The board are doing their best and the club are in the best position we’ve been in for a few years.”

The transfer window opened yesterday morning and McDermott warned against delays in the market which force him to complete his business close to the FIFA deadline on January 31.

United have four league games before that date and an FA Cup third-round tie scheduled away at Rochdale on Saturday.

“It’s difficult to nail teams down to sell players,” McDermott said. “Not too many teams want to sell so it’s a difficult window, absolutely. We just need someone who makes that difference.

“You don’t want to be leaving things right to the death and I’m not one who does that. We’re at the stage where we’re eighth in the league and we need to kick on by bringing one or two others in.”

Blackburn controlled a one-sided first half at Elland Road and scored twice through Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede.

A Matt Smith tap-in early in the second half threatened a fightback from Leeds but United were unable to force a second goal amid a competitive performance from Rovers and a display from referee Anthony Taylor which incensed the crowd.

McDermott, whose side took two points from four games either side of Christmas, said: “We didn’t get out the blocks at all. It could have been 2-2 in the end but it’s fair to say that the last couple of games have been disappointing. Disappointing results.

“The players looked a bit leg weary and we’ve given them (today) off. We were going to bring them in but I think it’s right to let them have a day off.

“It was a funny performance from the referee, a strange one, but (the result) had nothing to do with the referee. I’m looking at Leeds United and what we need to do to improve.

“We’re in a little rut, I’ll say it’s that. But previous to Christmas we were the form team in the league apart from Derby. Things change fast.”

Felix Wiedwald and Rob Green.

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