AFTER seeing Leeds United draw a blank at Hull City, the YEP’s Lee Sobot looks at a few key talking points from Tuesday night’s goalless draw at the KCOM.
Missing centre backs
United went into Tuesday night’s trip to Hull already missing six players through suspension or injury and six very quickly became seven when news emerged that Everton loanee centre-back Matthew Pennington would also miss the Tigers clash through injury.
Pennington was all set to take the place of suspended captain Liam Cooper but six absentees became seven before seven then became eight when Shaughnessy himself was stretchered off with an ankle injury after just six minutes.
Shaughnessy’s prospects of making an immediate return did not look good and Pennington is also looking like a doubt for this weekend’s clash with Cardiff City having been sent for as scan on a problem suffered in training.
Thankfully for a Leeds side very short on centre backs, Gaetano Berardi looks more than capable of filing in but Berardi is definitely not a natural centre-back and his new partner-in-crime in that position Pontus Jansson is now just one yellow card away from landing a two-game ban himself for picking up ten cautions.
Cooper, meanwhile, is still banned for another three games and United’s lack of available options in the position is worrying and obvious.
Whether United look to make a late move for another centre-back option on transfer deadline day remains to be seen.
It seems unlikely.
Roberts as first choice striker
Pierre-Michel Lasogga was again given the nod to lead the Whites line at Hull over Kemar Roofe and Lasogga came very close to scoring the likely winner when curling a fine effort narrowly over the bar midway through the second half.
But that aside, Lasogga’s impact on the game was pretty minimal and Leeds are set to pay an initial £2.5m to land 19-year-old striker Tyler Roberts from West Brom on transfer deadline day.
That fee could rise to £4m including add-ons and it’s not difficult to envisage Roberts quickly becoming first choice striker, even at his relative young age though Leeds will also have Caleb Ekuban back from injury within the next two weeks.
Whoever becomes first choice striker, an increase in United’s goal tally and goal threat for that matter is needed fast with Leeds failing to muster a single shot on target at Hull.
The Whites have now failed to score in four of their last six games.
Adam Forshaw and Laurens De Bock
With last weekend’s madcap clash against Millwall turning into something of a free for all, Tuesday night’s clash at the KCOM provided a better chance to analyse United’s recent left back recruit Laurens De Bock and a first opportunity to look at fellow new arrival Adam Forshaw in centre midfield on his Whites debut.
Based on their displays at Hull, both look like being valuable additions with De Bock appearing a natural left back with plenty to offer and Forshaw having a solid debut alongside Ronaldo Vieira in centre midfield.
Especially with Samu Saiz suspended, it is flair and creativity that United are now lacking with Pablo Hernandez having a rare off day at Hull and with Gjanni Alioski and Kemar Roofe both proving disappointing on the wings.
Pawel Cibicki was then brought on too late to make an impact and Hadi Sacko blew a fine chance to lead a three-on-two counter attack in the final minute of stoppage time.
Stuart Dallas is the other obvious shout out wide but at this rate the Northern Ireland international could be looking at more shifts at right back in the games ahead.