Andy Ritchie: Keeping hold of Bartley would be huge boost for Leeds United

Kyle Bartley.
Kyle Bartley.
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I’D LIKE to say don’t shoot the columnist because three weeks ago I was predicting that Leeds United would win all four of their remaining games.

I truly believed they would do but a strange thing called pressure comes into play and I think Garry Monk intimated himself that maybe some of his squad couldn’t take it.

Kyle Bartley and Rob Green applaud the United fans.

Kyle Bartley and Rob Green applaud the United fans.

So does that mean a wholesale change in the summer? I don’t know.

But I think they have got some very good players at Leeds and I think the biggest thing will be keeping hold of some of them. There’s going to be bids for Chris Wood, surely, and probably for some of the other players as well.

And I don’t think Leeds should be getting too much stick for missing out on the play-offs. They fell at the last hurdle and how many do you see falling at the last hurdle at Aintree? It’s a long hard season and they just couldn’t manage to keep it together which was disappointing and it will have been very disappointing to them. But they have got some excellent players and the two lads at centre-back – Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley – are a great partnership.

And I think it’s a big thing for them that they try to sign Bartley on a permanent deal from Swansea City.

Pontus Jansson.

Pontus Jansson.

He’s been an absolute stalwart for them, he’s chipped in with a few goals and the two lads are good footballers.

Pontus likes to play and so does Kyle who is a good player.

And while I am not going to get too out of the woods here, he reminds me a little bit of Rio Ferdinand with the way he plays in terms of he wants to play out from the back but he knows what to do and when to do it. He’s a clever footballer.

But when you have had such a good season at Leeds, will Swansea want him back and will they think about using him because they are not out of the woods yet in terms of staying up in the Premier League?

Swansea have got a survival battle on their hands and with Bartley I think it will depend on where they finish up, so there has to be a big question mark as to whether he stays at Leeds or whether he goes back.

I’m sure that Leeds will make all the possible moves to try and keep him or I would expect them to. But if Swansea come down to the Championship then he might be back there permanently for them because there might be a few outgoings at the Liberty Stadium.

And obviously Leeds have got to make sure that they do keep Garry Monk.

If they want any continuity, they will have looked at the season and seen what he has done.

And I just hope that the person that Garry is going to speak to – Andrea Radrizzani – isn’t influenced too much by the other co-owner – Massimo Cellino! There is talk that Cellino is going and he has done all he can for the football club.

He has done some good things but I think for continuity you need to get somebody in charge who is going to stick with somebody for the long term to get things right.

Because I think that is the way that you will get it right. You can’t do that if you keep chopping and changing managers and coaches and changing the systems and the people. If you do that, you are not going to get anywhere and I think it’s shown that by getting Monk in and keeping him there, it’s shown that theory of mine might just be right!

But there’s still one game left and of course it is very important that Leeds end with a final day win at Wigan tomorrow. The fans will still be there, they will be going and they will be making a last game party of it.

And they deserve to have something to cheer about because obviously there will have been a bit of doom and gloom with the fans who will have been upset and disappointed at missing out on the play-offs.

I think the majority of the fans will feel for the players and the players will want to go out with a win.

I’ve always said that you have got to give your fans something to look forward to at the end of the season for the season to come.