Leeds United: Draw underlines shortcomings in Whites’ squad – Whelan

Leeds 'United's Souleymane Doukara battles with MK Dons' Darren Potter.
Leeds 'United's Souleymane Doukara battles with MK Dons' Darren Potter.
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SATURDAY’s DRAW with MK Dons was disappointing.

The two points that they got against Forest and Derby that they worked so hard for and put a lot of graft and effort in for, counted for nothing as we didn’t get the three points on Saturday.

We started off very sloppily, the passing was sloppy and we didn’t look like we were going to score any goals which was quite worrying. And the only goal we did get was an own goal. With Souleymane Doukara up front, it just proved how much we actually did miss Chris Wood and how important he is to that formation.

I think it’s also very important that we try and keep Liam Bridcutt because he’s a class act and he just gets better and better. It was very difficult on Saturday as everybody bar Charlie Taylor was having a bit of an off-day but the worrying thing is that even when we do get into those final thirds we are not creating any chances. We are not having shots at goal, we are not testing the goalkeeper and we certainly didn’t look like scoring on Saturday which is very worrying because only goals win you games.

We got a glimpse of Lee Erwin and it’s difficult to say too much about him because it’s very hard coming on as a substitute and getting into the pace of the game and the tempo of it all.

But it was nice to see a bit more of him and he has got a bit more height about him than Doukara and a bit more presence I guess as a forward man. For me, Doukara spent a lot of time out wide and when you do that you don’t have anybody in the middle. We are lacking in that area of somebody who is going to be disciplined to stay within the 18-yard box and work the goal from crosses. Nobody actually did that, but saying that, we are not creating enough from midfield either because we can control possession but we don’t create any chances or have that creativity when we get into those final thirds to open up the defence.

In terms of what we need from the January transfer window, I definitely still think we need a centre-half alongside Liam Cooper. I think Sol Bamba has not got back to his best yet and it was a very sloppy display from him on Saturday, passing-wise, distribution, and he looked a little bit off the pace.

I still think we need another centre-forward, maybe a like-for-like with Chris Wood, somebody who has got a bit more height about them and that is going to work the 18-yard box from crosses. And possibly we maybe need another winger because when we get into the opposition’s area our delivery is still not what it should be. We have seen that when the delivery is right, Chris Wood will score goals. He did just that against Derby and Huddersfield but we have not had that consistently enough with that sort of quality of a cross for a striker to attack.

But I do think we saw on Saturday just how important Chris Wood is to that formation of play as that focal striker. He has that presence about him that Doukara and Erwin just can’t offer. We keep getting linked with Kyle Lafferty and, obviously, we have seen that he scores goals internationally for Northern Ireland. But whether he is going to do that for Leeds, who knows? If he did that regularly then he’d be playing for Norwich.

But Steve Evans knows what he wants and if we all could we’d be going out and buying Premier League strikers, but unfortunately we are not in a position right now to be able to do that. We’ve got to try and find someone at the right price that is going to give us the best possible chance to improve the squad and the quality, to give us a bit more strength in depth in certain areas.

I think it’s always worth a look at the leagues below and let’s put it right as Jermaine Beckford and Tresor Kandol came from non-league. If you have got the right scouting network out there then these players are available but you’ve got to be bothered to get your bums to certain games and you’ve got to watch players constantly.

Beckford, without being watched and scouted by Gwyn Williams, wouldn’t have probably got a chance. Look at Beckford now.

These players are there but are they willing to take that sort of risk and have they got the scouting network that’s available?

Chris Wood scoresa late in the first half to make reduce the deficit to 3-1 at home to Norwich last season. Picture: Varley.

Haven’t we met before? Previous Elland Road meetings between Leeds United and Norwich City