Leeds United: Wood can bring out the best in Carayol – Whelan

Chris Wood.

Chris Wood.

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Saturday’s game against Bristol City was a tough slog, but Chris Wood was the difference maker in the end.

The main point you can take out of the game is that it just shows how important Wood is to Leeds United – not only offensively but defensively as well.

When he came on he held the ball up, he led the line, he was winning headers which throughout most of the game the Bristol City defenders were just eating up – it had been far too easy.

He gave them a different challenge. He sparked other people in the team into life. I don’t think we have another striker that can actually lead the line like Wood.

People may talk about him not scoring enough goals, but then let’s be honest, we have not really created enough chances for him.

We struggle to score at home, we struggle to create more than five or six chances in certain games.

When Wood came on he was pivotal to Souleymane Doukara’s goal.

It was a fantastic finish from him. It was like Ipswich and the way he finished his goal there, it was a striker’s finish which was calm, decisive and he didn’t rush it.

Once again on Saturday, when the ball fell to him in the box he was very calm and precise with his finishing. That’s the sign of a striker that is getting back into form and is confident.

There is a player there. He is being given a little bit more trust and a little bit more game time by Steve Evans.

He needed that, I think he needed to feel wanted and given not just one game, but two or three games in the side to feel settled and get into a rhythm. Now he has been given that, he has three goals in four games. I don’t think Doukara is an answer to playing a formation that needs a lone striker.

I’m not sure he can do it as well as Wood.

When Wood came on, it showed the formation works with him in the side.

If Wood is fully fit for Brentford tomorrow I think it’s a problem, a good problem to have for Steve Evans. With Doukara on his current form it’s difficult to say who you would leave out. I’m not sure that Doukara and Chris Wood can play together – I think they are too similar in their movement.

I think it has to be either Mirco Antenucci and Wood or Doukara and Antenucci. I could be wrong there, but I think it is a problem Steve has to figure out because you have to change formation to fit the two together.

Honestly, it’s sad to see Sam Byram go because he is young, he is a very talented boy, he is a character you would love to have in the dressing room, he gets on with his job and is very professional.

I think he will be an England player in three or four years time if not before. What it does mean is that we have wingers who can outright play that role, because Sam was being used too often out of position on the wing rather than at right-back.

I don’t think we saw the best of Mustapha Carayol on Saturday, but Wood will have been looking at the quality of Carayol’s delivery in the games he has missed and thrive off it.

For the rest of the transfer window, my list would be another striker and another central defender.

We are not creating enough chances and that is a worry for me, because you have to score goals to win games.

We do need someone who is a game changer, someone who can come up with that moment of brilliance. Those sorts of players are wanted by a lot of clubs and they cost a lot of money.

It’s no coincidence that you look at the likes of Middlesbrough and Derby, teams who have spent money, are up there challenging and are the strongest sides in the division.

If you are really going to be serious about getting back into the Premier League you have to spend a little bit of money.