Leeds United can spring surprise at West Ham but must ensure decision does not haunt them - David Prutton

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Having nine, 10 or 11 players out injured is definitely an extreme injury crisis.

There are so many different things to be dealing with at this stage of the season anyway, even without having all that type of stuff thrown in.

But whilst it would have been nice to have had a meander through the FA Cup, this Sunday’s ‘rematch’ against West Ham is undoubtedly a more important game and Marcelo Bielsa will be facing another tough selection for West Ham and what they can offer.

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Unfortunately, the injuries are just a week-on-week discussion at the moment with regards to Leeds not being able to field their strongest side which is just staggering really.

HANDFUL: West Ham's Jarrod Bowen, left, battles it out with Leeds United's Adam Forshaw during last weekend's FA Cup clash at the London Stadium. Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images.HANDFUL: West Ham's Jarrod Bowen, left, battles it out with Leeds United's Adam Forshaw during last weekend's FA Cup clash at the London Stadium. Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images.
HANDFUL: West Ham's Jarrod Bowen, left, battles it out with Leeds United's Adam Forshaw during last weekend's FA Cup clash at the London Stadium. Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images.

It makes a season which is already tough at the very beginning even tougher.

VAR contributions aside, last weekend’s cup clash was a fairly even game but one which West Ham obviously shaded.

Their quality just told and Jarrod Bowen has turned into a fine footballer that caused Leeds problems in the Championship at Hull and has gone on to do the same in the Premier League.

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It was a tough game and a cup run would have been nice but Leeds have to chalk that off and get stuck into the next one which is obviously against exactly the same team again.

Leeds will be big underdogs given the injuries but they would have been anyway because West Ham are an established team in the Premier League under a manager in David Moyes who is extremely adept and useful at this level.

He is showing it once again with that side.

They haven’t quite maintained the pace that they started the season with but they are a team to be feared and will rightly be going into this thinking they should be coming away with all three points given the players they have got.

Leeds, though, have been able to upset the odds and the predictions before and will be hoping to do so again.

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The Whites allowed Cody Drameh to join Cardiff City on loan this week which almost feels like it’s tempting fate at right-back.

It’s hopefully not something that comes back and bites them on the bum and they need to make sure they are in a position where that does not become the case if other injuries and suspensions kick in.

It is a strange one but Cardiff, under coach Steve Morison, is a decent place to go. I’m just surprised that keeping strength in numbers is not at the forefront of the mind.

There are lots of calls for Leeds to strengthen the squad and in particular in midfield and you can see why given the position they are in now and given the injuries at unprecedented levels.

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Going into different transfer windows, if there is something out there that is going to better the squad then great.

But I am not just advocating numbers for the sake of numbers. It’s all about what type of player they can attract and the team that they are going to attract them from.

We know that Marcelo likes to get players bedded in before he chucks them in.

If Leeds are just doing numbers just to make sure they are not light then it’s a slightly different thing.

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But I can absolutely understand the calls for signings because you are looking around thinking ‘if he goes we are in trouble and if he drops out we are in trouble too’.

You can look at the youngsters but, if it is down to them purely having no-one else, then that’s when they have got to really look around.

When you are looking at how these injuries are coming about and what the genesis of them all is then that’s a longer-term discussion because that doesn’t help you win Premier League matches that are coming up in a matter of days.

Looking at the spine of the Leeds team, Adam Forshaw has come in and done fantastically well.

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The make-up of the back-three/back-four always seems to be ever changing and, going forward, they will be hoping to get Patrick Bamford back.

Marcelo often puts returning players through their paces for the under-23s first and you might well want to do that.

But they might have to get fit on the job and, as much as we laud Leeds for the way that they go about football matches, there are not many teams in the Premier League that don’t play at a high intensity.

I am not saying Marcelo has reinvented the wheel but he plays in a very intense way which asks a lot of his players.

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At this moment in time, just right now, the squad doesn’t feel broken but it definitely feels like there is a creakiness to it.

If you are a Leeds fan, you are just hoping that creakiness isn’t the build-up to it actually giving way and then being in a position where they really are just trying to fill holes and plug gaps.

It will be intriguing to see what the rest of January brings and the calls for signings are made on the assumption that you can get what you want for the money that you want and exactly in the way that you want.

But this can be a notoriously hard window to work in and I would say the club’s recent track record of recruitment has broadly been a success with the way they have approached it.

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There have been one or two stinkers but that’s sometimes the lottery-based sense of what it is to bring a player in.

I think fresh faces and fresh legs are something they should definitely be looking at but not by just steaming out and buying any old player in any old position.

That can have the opposite effect to what you want.

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Thank you Laura Collins

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