Jean-Kevin Augustin and Ian Poveda tick right boxes for Leeds United's Premier League promotion push - David Prutton
THE proof will be in the pudding regards Leeds United’s two main signings in the January transfer window.
If you look at striker Jean-Kevin Augustin’s pedigree and CV there is plenty to get Leeds fans excited.
From the point of view of what he provides, he is certainly talking a great game and it certainly endears you to Leeds fans admitting there was interest from Manchester United too.
He’s a player that we quite obviously know can score goals but as ever with the debate about new signings coming into Leeds, it’s about how quickly they bed in, how quickly head coach
Marcelo Bielsa plays them and the players coming in at this stage have come in purely for one thing which is to get this team promoted. No pressure then!
But after his brace in Tuesday night’s win against Millwall, Patrick Bamford absolutely keeps his place in the lone striker role.
Sometimes when we look at signings it’s quite obvious what they bring tactically and technically to a football pitch but having been in squads where signings have come in, it can give everyone a lift – a nice little gentle kick up the backside.
Perhaps the performance and the goals that they scored on Tuesday against Millwall were a reflection of that.
Yes, they got themselves into a bit of a hole after 20- odd minutes but they got themselves back into it.
Having spoken to many a Leeds fan not only up north but also down in London, hopefully there is that renewed sense of optimism when it felt like they were in a really tricky period.
Hopefully this is the first step for them in the right direction.
United’s other main signing has been winger Ian Poveda from Manchester City and the glowing reference that came from Pep Guardiola was great, as is the fact that the player has come to Leeds.
That shows the respect that Guardiola feels for Marcelo and Poveda is another young, attacking option and now it’s about getting minutes.
You would normally say you could not imagine him coming here and not playing too much but Eddie Nketiah and Jack Clarke did the same thing.
But I think Leeds fans need to see what these players can do sooner rather than later but it’s to supplement what they have done so far.
It’s funny, as fans can sometimes get frustrated with what is in front of them when really the way that Bielsa has been able to elevate Leeds’ collective form has been phenomenal.
These players hopefully supplement that and take Leeds over the finish line.
If Poveda is going to start then either Jack Harrison or Helder Costa will have to drop out but then you look at how they played on Tuesday. Jack had a real zip about him, he linked up really well with Gjanni Alioski.
With Costa, we have debated before that for the price tag I personally think he needs to bring more to the table but we know exactly what he is capable of.
We also know that when the team collectively swaggers as it did on Tuesday then everything in the garden is rosy.
But it’s not always going to be like that over the course of a season and Leeds are going to have to really dig deep and find massive reserves of strength and character to make sure that the lovely position that they are in now leads to promotion.
There is still a four-point gap back to third but we also know that an 11-point gap evaporated pretty quickly in the middle of December.
But coming off the back of frustrating form and results suddenly you see a result and a performance full of character, passion, desire and swagger which maybe, just maybe, allays a few fears that perhaps things were going to hit the rocks.
Today’s hosting of Wigan Athletic is next and we all know what happened when Wigan came to Elland Road last Good Friday.
Horrendous Friday it was.
Wigan have not been very good away from home but they are still capable and stubborn enough to be able to cause a problem.
They won’t want the gap between themselves in 22nd and Charlton in 21st to get any bigger, it’s currently four points but Wigan will take great comfort from the fact that they know they can beat Leeds.
Obviously different players were involved last season but if Leeds are going to show any form of growth then it’s a game they need to be winning.
Everything Leeds had been working on over these last few weeks was put to bed against Millwall and now they have got to back that up by making sure Wigan know they are in a game and they come away with all three points.
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