Leeds United: Christiansen happy with his striking options

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HEAD COACH Thomas Christiansen has full confidence in the strength of Leeds United’s squad six days into the January transfer window, insisting the Whites have enough firepower upfront and declaring that he is “satisfied with what I have”.

Christiansen’s side have a break from league matters this weekend with the Whites travelling down to south Wales for Sunday lunch-time’s third round clash at League Two hosts Newport County.

Thomas Christiansen.

Thomas Christiansen.

United will then return to Championship action the following Saturday at Ipswich Town as Leeds bid to finally return to the Premier League after a 14-year absence.

The Whites sit sixth in the table following last weekend’s goalless draw at home to Nottingham Forest in which United squandered several fine opportunities in front of goal, raising further questions of whether the club need to bolster their strike-force in the January transfer window.

But head coach Christiansen insists United are capable of scoring the goals required through their four main strikers in Kemar Roofe, Hamburg loanee Pierre-Michel Lasogga, the currently injured Caleb Ekuban and teenage Dutch striker Jay-Roy Grot. Christiansen is set to make changes for Sunday’s clash in Newport and Grot will be given his third start for Leeds up front.

Asked if United had enough firepower within their ranks, Christiansen said: “We have. We have enough strikers upfront. We have Jay, we have Pierre, we have Roofey, we have Ekuban when he comes back from the injury. We have four strikers there that we can choose.”

Pierre-MicheLasogga - Two misses early on but finishing came good. Replacing him left Leeds with no outlet 8/10

Pierre-MicheLasogga - Two misses early on but finishing came good. Replacing him left Leeds with no outlet 8/10

Leeds have already made one signing in the January window with Finland’s under-19s centre-back Aapo Halme joining the Whites from HJK Helsinki on a four-year deal.

The Whites have also agreed a fee with J1 League side Gamba Osaka to sign 21-year-old Japanese international midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi who is set to fly into England next week to undergo a medical before signing for Leeds.

But longer term prospect Halme is set to initially link up with the club’s under-23s while Ideguchi is set to be loaned out to United’s partner club Cultural Leonesa in the Spanish Segunda Division ahead of Japan’s bid for glory in the World Cup this summer. Ideguchi is then set to challenge for a first team place next season.

Commenting on the possibility of United making further signings in the January transfer window, Christiansen said: “We are going to talk about that of course but the players that I have, I have always mentioned that they are very good and I am satisfied with what I have.

Jay-Roy Grot.

Jay-Roy Grot.

“Players who didn’t have the possibility to play so much, it’s a moment also for them now to get the possibility to show their worth.”

Teenage striker Grot will be one such player to be handed his chance with the summer recruit from NEC Nijmegan yet to score for Leeds in two starts in the EFL Cup and 13 outings in the Championship from the bench.

Christiansen was unhappy when Grot was jeered by some fans after enduring a frustrating time of things when brought on as an 81st-minute substitute in last month’s 1-0 win at home to Norwich City.

“He’s a young player with quality,” said Christiansen.

“Like all the strikers, he needs confidence.

“If you have the confidence, it doesn’t matter how you shoot or from which distance you shoot, the ball goes in.

“So we have to work on that, that everyone gets the confidence in himself in the team and for sure we are going to recover several players.”

Giving his view on United’s current league position and progress as a whole, Christiansen reasoned: “If we finish in that position in the league then we have achieved our target.

“If I am satisfied with that then I will also be satisfied with the position right now.”

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