Leeds United: Evans planning to shake up squad

Steve Evans
Steve Evans
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STEVE EVANS is targeting the addition of ‘two or three’ signings before the closure of the emergency loan window on November 25 – to desperately try and reinvigorate Leeds United’s increasingly troubled campaign.

Crisis-hit United are doing it tough on all counts and slumped to their fourth successive defeat at Elland Road in Thursday night’s limp 2-0 Roses loss to Blackburn Rovers, extending the club’s winless streak to a worrying six matches.

Eighteenth-placed Leeds – just three points above the drop zone ahead of today’s Championship programme – return to action at home to Cardiff City on Tuesday, when they will be without suspended captain Sol Bamba and midfielder Tom Adeyemi, ineligible under the terms of his season-long loan from the Bluebirds.

Picking up the pieces from United’s latest Elland Road defeat, Evans acknowledged that the club requires five or six new players, adding that a ‘massive’ January transfer window of surgery was required to seriously turn the club’s fortunes around.

In the short term, the Scot is focusing his attentions on bringing some loan recruits before the deadline in 26 days – as he aims to emulate the mini-renaissance that some key signings afforded him at Rotherham just over 12 months ago.

Just prior to last year’s window closure, Evans brought in Tom Lawrence, Reece James, Emmanuel Ledesma and current United defender Scott Wootton, with the Millers subsequently

embarking on a six-match unbeaten run to the turn of the year to steady the ship after a poor run. Evans is now striving for another quick fix to prevent the on-pitch crisis deepening further after a meagre return of just two wins in 13 league matches in 2015-16 thus far.

He said: “I don’t think it’s five or six (signings) by Tuesday or five or six in this window. The window in January will be a massive one.

“But before then there’s lot of points at stake. Maybe two or three before the (loan) window (closes) and that might take you from where we are to suddenly being a very good side.

“But to go where we want to go, we have to be much better in a lot of areas.

“If two or three can get us to where we want to be, then it’ll be two or three. I can certainly bring in two or three.”

Evans, who turned 53 yesterday, will attempt to make headway on the transfer front this weekend, with a new goalkeeper, a fresh centre-half and striking option likely to be high on his list. Off the pitch, United irate supporters made their feelings known in no uncertain terms in calling on owner Massimo Cellino to quit the club on Thursday with the situation becoming increasingly toxic.

Evans, whose birthday ‘celebrations’ are likely to have been considerably muted yesterday, given Thursday’s events, said: “One hundred per cent, I’ve not allowed myself to get involved in the off the field situation.

“I’ve kept myself away from it and I’ll continue to do so, whatever decisions the board or the owner make. That’s their remit.

“All I can do is report up the line that we need to do certain things. I’m not one of those to drive home, say ‘it’s my birthday’ and forget about Leeds United. It’s my job to be working to on bringing players in to add to what we have.

“Conversations with the owner will continue. It has to be done in as very measured way. We’ve got some good players in there, but I said to them, the minimum we demand is that we have 11 or 14 players who come into the dressing room and they’ve given absolutely everything for the cause.

“I didn’t really see that in the first half if I’m being honest. I saw people shy away from the ball, people shy away from making positive runs, from defensively doing a job. That’s when people talk about being brave and playing for Leeds United.”