Leeds United: Monk would still like a fourth striker

Chris Wood
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P Garry Monk says he is confident that Leeds United’s attacking options will produce enough goals in the Championship this season, despite admitting that the signing of another striker would have given him the “perfect situation”.

Garry Monk says he is confident that Leeds United’s attacking options will produce enough goals in the Championship this season, despite admitting that the signing of another striker would have given him the “perfect situation”.

United’s head coach tried and failed to land a forward before last month’s transfer deadline, making approaches for West Ham United’s Ashley Fletcher and Arsenal’s Yaya Sanogo, but he backed Chris Wood, Marcus Antonsson and Souleymane Doukara to deliver for Leeds up front.

The club’s six league games have yielded only five goals and Monk’s decision to send on Doukara during Saturday’s defeat to Huddersfield Town - introducing a player who has figured sporadically at Leeds over the past two years - led to jeers from the crowd.

Monk is currently sticking with a front two of Wood and Antonsson and asked if he had enough choice, he said: “I think one (more) striker would have been the perfect situation in terms of competition and the size of that department. I talked about that before the window closed.

“But the guys who are here, Souley, Woody and Marcus, they’re good players. They’re going to get better and they’re more than capable of getting goals in this league. You’ve seen in games what they’re able to do and how dangerous they can be.”

Speaking ahead of tonight’s meeting with Blackburn Rovers, Monk implied that Northern Ireland international Stuart Dallas was poised to return to the fray having again been absent from United’s 18-man squad for the derby with Huddersfield.

Dallas has been sidelined recently due to Monk’s belief that the winger returned from a busy summer and an appearance at Euro 2016 below his best.

Dallas travelled away with Northern Ireland during the international break and Monk said: “He’s back to his normal self. I had a good chat with Stuart when he came back. He’s an important player for us.

“It’s very normal after big international tournaments. The players come back with the right intentions. Stuart’s a very good lad, a hard trainer, but it’s for me to help him. He’s closing in on getting back to his best.”

Monk, however, warned Matt Grimes that he was likely to have to wait for another opportunity after overlooking the on-loan Swansea City midfielder during the early stages of the season.

Grimes, who signed on a season-long deal in July, started Leeds’ first game away at Queens Park Rangers but that fixture ended in an unflattering 3-0 defeat and he has featured only once more since, in a League Cup tie at Luton Town.

Monk, who has a glut of central midfielders available to him and brought in Eunan O’Kane from Bournemouth on deadline day, said: “What’s happening at this stage with Matty is that there’s a good group of midfielders competing very well. Difficult decisions have to be made and when you pick teams, 11 can start, there’s only seven you can put on the bench and some have to miss out.

“Some of the ones who’ve missed out have been very unfortunate. Your job as a footballer is to be ready when the chance comes and knowing Matty as I do, he’ll be ready when he’s called upon.”

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