January is here and everyone is talking about the need to sign a new striker but if I was head coach of Leeds United I’d have two different priorities.
I’d be looking first of all at the struggle we’re having in stopping the opposition scoring.
There’s no shame in conceding good goals – classy finishes which you have to hold your hands up to – but all too often we’re guilty of doing other teams a favour at the back.
It’s a costly habit because the team are in a groove at the minute and we’re finding a way to dominate other sides.
Derby were given a tough time at Elland Road on Tuesday but their first goal was a bit of a gift and it gave them an advantage they hadn’t earned.
Far better was the strike towards the end from the lad Tom Ince, a neat strike Marco Silvestri couldn’t do much about.
Personally, I feel we need something more defensively; a bit more height and a bit more pace.
Quick players tend to beat us and it’s a weakness in a side which is definitely starting to tick.
It has to be said that the pleasing thing about this window is that we’re going into it thinking about how we can be better, rather than trying to avoid getting worse.
Secondly, it seems to me that keeping Liam Bridcutt is essential.
It’s been fascinating to watch him play and watch him make a difference, partly because of the quality he’s showing but also because of the fact that he’s the only player Steve Evans has signed so far.
If that’s Steve’s sort of player, the calibre of football and transfer he’s after, then I’m looking forward to seeing who else he can get.
What Bridcutt does is give you control. He’s a natural in that defensive midfield role and it’s been great to see a loan player come into the club and look 100 per cent committed.
That’s quite rare and it says a lot about his personality.
I very much doubt that his performances have gone unnoticed elsewhere so it’s difficult to know what will happen in January. It might be that Leeds are able to keep him or it might be that someone else comes up with a big offer.
Sunderland probably need the cash.
I sincerely hope he stays on after tomorrow’s game against MK Dons, but if he doesn’t then we need to find someone just like him because I don’t think anyone else in the current squad is suited to doing the job he does. And then there’s the striking situation.
As much as I’d think about other positions first, I don’t doubt that the arrival of another forward this month would help us.
We’re not clinical enough with our chances and that’s cost us a few precious points recently.
I’ve got no problem with Chris Wood’s effort, but he doesn’t look to me like a truly natural finisher.
There’s a call for a bit more potency up front and it’s seems pretty obvious that Steve is looking for that. On the flip side, you do wonder who – if anyone – will be leaving the club.
There are rumours about Sam Byram and we’ve had some about Lewis Cook.
With Sam in particular, the club are going to have to be sensible about knowing what represents a good offer for him.
But I’m excited about the window because we’re going into it in a positive position.
I don’t think the Championship is loaded with outstanding teams and I don’t think a nine-point gap from the play-offs is a problem at this stage.
The players are showing more spirit than I’ve seen at Leeds in quite a long time and if this form we’re in is a sign of things to come then we might just be close by the end of the season.
It’s refreshing to be thinking like that.