David Prutton: It’s time to back Leeds United chief in the transfer market

Paul Heckingbottom.
Paul Heckingbottom.
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THERE are fine margins in football and if you don’t take your chances then you are going to be struggling really.

That was obviously the case for Leeds United in Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss at Fulham.

Fulham's Newcastle United loanee striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, alongside Sheffield United's Richard Stearman, is the quality of player Leeds United have been unable to attract to Elland Road during yet another frustrating season for the fans in the Championship.

Fulham's Newcastle United loanee striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, alongside Sheffield United's Richard Stearman, is the quality of player Leeds United have been unable to attract to Elland Road during yet another frustrating season for the fans in the Championship.

You could use Fulham as an example of where Leeds perhaps want to be next season with regards to the players they have got and the way they are playing football.

But after the positivity of Good Friday’s win against Bolton, the defeat to Fulham was just another result that lent itself to frustration across the board when Leeds are in the position they are in.

When you look at the examples of who is doing well in the Championship, then money does come into it and you just have to look at what leaders Wolves have spent.

While Cardiff are playing the plucky contender role, they still spent £6m on Gary Madine and they push the boat out as and when they can.

Hopefully, Paul will be backed by Andrea Radrizzani and Victor Orta in the summer to bring in the players that he thinks he needs.

David Prutton

But the teams at the top seem to have the players who can manage a crisis during the season such as the likes of Derby and Aston Villa.

For Leeds, I don’t know if the result and performance against Fulham really clarifies anything though I’m sure it clarified things for the fans.

Yes, Leeds can compete in areas of a match but, basically, they should be doing better.

Leeds have been unable to attract anyone of the ilk of Aleksandar Mitrovic, who is on loan at Fulham.

Whether that was a case of him having a good relationship with Slavisa Jokanovic I’m not sure but the Fulham chief seems to have brought the best out of the Newcastle loanee.

Tom Cairney has also been one of the best midfielders in the Championship for the past few seasons and they have got a ‘wonder-kid’ in Ryan Sessegnon and powerful full-backs such as Ryan Fredericks.

They have managed to get in other Premier League quality on loan such as Southampton defender Matt Targett though that could be a geographical thing with them being in London.

But from Leeds’ point of view, you can look at someone like Kevin McDonald, who had a very solid promotion season in League One with Wolves a few years back. He has come to Fulham and pushed them up and, from a talent identifying point of view, you can look at someone like that.

Leeds also need to give a coach like Paul Heckingbottom the time to work with the players to get them up to the next level. Just because players perform a certain way for one season, that doesn’t mean to say they are that type of player or that quality of player.

We have all seen squads elevate and look at Cardiff, for example. Neil Warnock has got consistent output from them over the course of the season and would Leeds fans have envisaged Sol Bamba in a promotion-chasing team going for the Premier League?

Things can change, of course they can, and Leeds need a common goal.

Ideally, Paul should get the chance to bring in the players that he wants and be able to do what he wants with the squad, within reason, and have total control.

So, hopefully, Paul will be backed by Andrea Radrizzani and Victor Orta in the summer to bring in the players that he thinks he needs.

Caleb Ekuban has obviously been guilty of missing chances during United’s last two games but every player has a dip be that for one game or two.

If that carries on towards the end of the season then perhaps you need to look at different aspects but Ekuban gives Leeds something different to Pierre-Michel Lasogga and something different to the strikers they have got.

He’s still only played 16 games for Leeds and it’s his first season in the Championship, which is tough.

Ekuban was on loan at Partizani Tirana in the Albanian league last season and you have got to mitigate the circumstances. With the greatest respect to Albanian football, did we think he was going to come and jump in straight away? Possibly not. Should we give him time to settle? Yes. Afford him some patience. If he becomes a success at Leeds then great and if not then you address that and move on. But look at Chris Wood when he came in. Was he the prolific front man that everyone thought was going to cause teams problems? Probably not. But now he is playing in the Premier League.

Players can change and improve but this season has just been frustrating for Leeds when they look at the teams in and around the top six and what they have managed to do.

Bristol City have got Bobby Reid up front and he has never played there. Now he is one of the top scorers on the Championship. Just because a player has been playing in a certain way for a certain amount of his career, it doesn’t mean that he can’t improve or evolve.

Paul Heckingbottom.

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