Leeds United: Top 10 finish would be good result for Evans – Ritchie

Steve Evans and Paul Raynor.

Steve Evans and Paul Raynor.

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FAIR play to Leeds United, they are having a great little run at the minute and fair play to Steve Evans as well, he is obviously getting something out of the players.

They have a chance of getting into the top 10 of the Championship all of a sudden for the first time since Simon Grayson was manager in 2010-11 and while it remains to be seen what happens with his future, Steve is certainly doing something right. Doing that would represent a good achievement in the circumstances.

This season, let’s face it, Leeds have been consistently inconsistent. But you have to look at where they were when Steve came and what he has done. Okay, he’s had a little bit of money, but only a little and he’s done well with what he has got really, you’ve got to say.

Steve has spoken about believing that Leeds have a chance of doing something next season if they bring in three or four quality players and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

But the main thing, as I keep reiterating, is having that stability behind at the football club.

Considering what has been happening behind the scenes, Steve has probably done as well as anyone, to be honest.

Leeds are probably in as decent form as they have been all season. I know Steve has said that if they had shown this form at the start of the new year, they might have had a chance of getting in the top six and I know where he is coming from.

If they had done that, you never know what could have happened.

Looking at things, they could have done with Chris Wood being fit earlier in that respect to have had a chance. But they had a number of weeks without him at a time when they needed someone of his presence up front. Obviously at the minute, Wood is now playing and leading the line up front, with Leeds without Souleymane Doukara due to eight-game ban for biting an opponent.

I don’t know what was going on there. The furthest thing from a players mind is to bite somebody and I can’t even think how a player can get close enough to do it!

Lewis Cook had another strong game against Wolves in the week and if Leeds could keep him next season, he would be a massive asset.

He is an exceptional talent and for a young lad, he is playing consistently well and has still got a lot of time ahead of him and playing and improving in front of him.

Sometimes, young players do need that bit of a break and Alex Mowatt has had a bit of that this season, but he’s a talent also. Him and Cook are two players with genuine ability. If they could keep hold of the likes of Lewis and Alex, it would be a real coup for the football club.

Lewis was named the Football League’s Young Player of the Year this week and he will obviously be on the radar of clubs in the Premier League. But is it worth him going to a top-flight side and maybe having to play in the under-21s?

I notice that Sam Byram has not been playing much for West Ham at the minute and as a young player, you have to look at where you go and if you are going to have a chance of playing straightaway and regularly.

I think nowadays as a young player, you have to think like a snooker player and maybe think of a few moves ahead. If you make the wrong move, things can break down.

Obviously, Bournemouth have an interest in Cook and if he went to a club like them – no disrespect to them, they have done well and will stay up, no problem about that – he would be more likely to play there than at a more established and slightly bigger club like a Swansea.

But moving for a young player like him would be a big decision and something you have to think about a lot. Sometimes, agents want the big bucks and you can’t blame them too. But the main thing is the lads’ future. Let’s hope it is at Leeds.

Ben Mansford, centre, with Massimo Cellino and Andrea Radrizzani.

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