AFTER seeing Leeds United book their place in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday, Lee Sobot looks at five issues highlighted by the 2-0 defeat of Rotherham United.
Lewie Coyle is a natural
After brief substitute’s appearances against Nottingham Forest and MK Dons, young Academy graduate Coyle was handed his full debut on Saturday and managed to look like he had been a Whites first team full back for years.
The 20-year-old looks a real athlete and grew in confidence as the game progressed by adding more of an attacking prowess to the natural defending abilities that we know we possesses. Gaetano Berardi is United’s first choice right back as things stand - when he returns from injury - but Coyle looks more than capable of being a regular weekly starter and could be a similar player to Charlie Taylor but on the opposite flank. It will be interesting to see if Coyle keeps his place for Tuesday night’s trip to Ipswich Town or if Scott Wootton is recalled. Either way, Coyle could be exciting.
Mustapha Carayol looks a good signing
A few eyebrows were raised when Whites head coach Steve Evans snapped up winger Carayol on loan from Middlesbrough on Friday. The 27-year-old had previously been on loan at Huddersfield Town but was not one of the more obvious names linked with the Whites such as Kyle Lafferty perhaps. But Carayol made an immediate impression on Saturday, capped by his 45th-minute block-buster, and the wide man often provided good deliveries into the box. He could be just the tonic for Chris Wood when the striker returns to the side.
Massimo Cellino is back in town
It was suggested at the end of 2015 that an imminent appearance from United’s Italian chairman Massimo Cellino at Elland Road would surprise, and the 59-year-old was said to be present for Saturday’s FA Cup tie. Cellino had stated after October’s 2-0 loss at home to Blackburn that he would no longer attend any Whites games as the United fans clearly did not want him. But after making a few ‘surprise’ appearances at away games, just over two months later the Italian is back with his side now on an eight-game unbeaten run under Evans.
There are serious offers for United’s star players
Steve Evans revealed after Saturday’s FA Cup tie that there was apparently £30m worth of bids for United’s players currently on the table. How that £30m is made up is not clear but there’s no denying that certain Whites players are very much in vogue with definite bids on the table for Lewis Cook, Sam Byram and Giuseppe Bellusci it seems. Crucially, both Evans and Cellino are maintaining the line that Leeds will not sell their best players. It would be a surprise were that also strong interest in Charlie Taylor who many believe to be United’s best player, even allowing for the talents of Byram and Cook. January is a massive month for Leeds both in terms of potential ins and, God forbid, outs.
Two strikers may be coming in - even without Kyle Lafferty
The chances of Leeds signing Lafferty from Norwich City are looking less and less likely as each day passes with Canaries boss Alex Neil wanting a permanent deal and not a loan move - something United are not interested in. But Evans said after Saturday’s victory that “this club doesn’t wait on Alex Neil” after which he revealed the club were in talks about two other strikers who “if we got them there would be no room for Lafferty.”
Evans had been interested in Stoke City’s Peter Crouch but he is not available for loan and the identity of the two ‘other’ strikers remains unclear but it would be no surprise if one or both of them was Middlesbrough striker Kike and/or Swansea City forward Marvin Emnes, two players who Evans initially tried to loan back in November. Celtic’s Anthony Stokes is another name suggested. Or we could be talking at another bolt from the blue, another Carayol. Watch this space.