David Prutton: New boy Tyler Roberts could be key to Leeds United’s play-off bid

Tyler Roberts.
Tyler Roberts.
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LEEDS UNITED’S deadline-day striker signing, Tyler Roberts, has obviously scored goals at League One level and he scored a few for Walsall.

Leeds want players that can hit the ground running and Tyler might be someone that can do it in the sense that he doesn’t feel the pressure that there is to perform at Leeds.

Pierre-Michel Lasogga.

Pierre-Michel Lasogga.

But it will certainly be an eye opener for him. He has obviously been at West Brom but coming into a club such as this with the expectation levels, I just hope that he hits the ground running.

I don’t think it’s too much of a big ask for him to come in and be first-choice striker.

He’s young, he’ll be hungry and when you have paid the type of money that Leeds have, you’ve got to think that he won’t just be sitting around on the bench.

We have talked about Pierre-Michel Lasogga and what he offers in a game and he obviously scores goals, but all round maybe Tyler will bring a bit of a bigger contribution.

Kamil Grosiicki avoids a challenge from Stuart Dallas.

Kamil Grosiicki avoids a challenge from Stuart Dallas.

But Tyler is another in a long line of players that will be trying to answer the striker conundrum at Leeds.

With any young player, you have got to give them a bit of space and you have got to give them a bit of time.

But we know at Leeds that time constraints are slightly tighter, shall we say, than at other clubs. It’s now two points out of 15 for Leeds but the club are still only four points off the play-offs.

Looking at that, it depends if you are pessimist or an optimistic. But quite obviously the run of form needs to be addressed.

Stuart Dallas is quite right to say that Leeds are only four points off the play-offs, but on the flip side of it you can look at how close it was last season with them missing out on the play-offs.

Four points could be absolutely vital and the quicker they make that up the better.

You look at the Millwall result and the way that the game went against Hull, who are a team who are really struggling. Maybe the dynamics of the fact that Hull are fighting for their lives put an extra spring in their step, but if the season is going to take any real shape or have any substance to it then games like that have got to be won. Discipline has got to be maintained and belief more than anything has got to be held on to.

There was a bit of talk about a centre-back coming in too, and Pontus Jansson is obviously now one yellow card away from getting a two-game ban.

We have seen Leeds be consistent and good but we have also seen them be inconsistent and let goals in and they have been ill-disciplined at times too.

We saw last season that picking up yellow cards was obviously to Jansson’s detriment but at the start of the season easing off a little bit changed him as a player.

From that point of view it’s a really tough proposition.

Leeds obviously wanted to address the situation from a striker point of view but you could go across the whole team and say we need him, him and him. But at some stage a manager has got to work with what he has got.

Leeds have obviously also signed a lot of players for the under-23s and any building for the future has got to be applauded. But I think as much as Leeds fans understand that, the other side of it is the frustration at what the present is with regards to where they are.

Leeds have seen teams come up and go past them into the Premier League and stay in the Premier League and that will be the most galling part of it.

Relatively speaking, the money will be different signing players for the under-23s and business-wise it makes sound sense to make the under-23s as strong as possible, but it’s also the ‘now’ which is important.

I think it was an intriguing window and we saw Jordan Hugill go from Preston to West Ham. I thought it might have been a bit of a stretch for Leeds to go for Hugill and, as soon as a Premier League team comes knocking, I can say from experience it’s a very hard thing to turn down.

We saw other players move around and saw Gary Madine move from one end of the table to the other from Bolton to Cardiff, and I think that’s testament to Madine to the way he has been able to get his head screwed on to perform as well as he possibly can do.

It just goes to show that this window will still be as competitive and as interesting to watch as we like to build it up to be. Leeds will come up against Madine and Cardiff this weekend and Madine strikes me as the type of player who has really got the bit between his teeth.

He will relish playing against Leeds, he will relish the physical battle of playing against them and I think it’s going to be a really, really tough game for Leeds. You can’t get away from the narrative of Neil Warnock coming back as he loves to push opposition teams as much as possible and he also loves to get one over former employers and his track record shows that he tends to do quite well at that.

I think Leeds have got to still have a sniff of a chance of finishing in the play-offs but in this season’s Championship, the run of games they have got coming up is as tough a run of fixtures as you could possibly wish for. But it’s nothing away from what we know that the Championship is.

It’s a constant physical, emotional and mental test, not just for the players but the fans also. We thought we would have a better picture of things after Christmas, but I still can’t tell you where they are going to be after this run because of the inconsistencies we have seen across the board.

But if Tyler is getting the nod then that really is a baptism of fire that you hope he steps up to.

Upcoming Sky-televised Championship fixtures:

Tonight: Bolton Wanderers v Bristol City, 8pm.

Tomorrow: Wolverhampton Wanderers v Sheffield United, 5.30pm.

Rob Green denies Sheffield Wednesday striker Jordan Rhodes from the penalty spot during the corresponding fixture last season.

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