GARRY Monk has hinted at prominent roles for new wingers Alfonso Pedraza and Mo Barrow in spite of minimal game time since the duo’s arrival at Leeds United in the January transfer window.
Pedraza arrived with impressive credentials when signing on loan from Villarreal with the 20-year-old capped by Spain’s under-21s having helped the country’s under-19s to win the UEFA European Under-19s Championship.
United have the option to sign Pedraza for a fee in the region of 10 million euros should the Whites be promoted this summer but the Spaniard has so far made only two appearances since relocating to Elland Road, with one of those as a second-half substitute.
Barrow, who joined on loan from Swansea City on January transfer deadline day, has featured slightly more regularly with three outings as a second-half substitute but both January recruits were still awaiting their first start ahead of today’s Championship showdown with Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road.
United are now blessed with at least five first-team wingers with head coach Monk opting to start the recalled Stuart Dallas and Hadi Sacko in the club’s most recent fixture at Ipswich Town last weekend.
Both Kemar Roofe and Souleymane Doukara had to make do with places on the bench – along with Pedraza and Barrow – but Monk says the new duo have added much-needed strength in depth to the Whites squad as a whole.
“They weren’t coming into a team that was in trouble,” said Monk, asked about the duo’s impact and opportunities so far.
“They were coming into a team and a group of players that were doing very well and competing extremely well.
“Our aim in that window was to help strengthen that group that was already doing very well and those two have come in and added quality and that strength that we need. They are working incredibly well, they have already played minutes on the pitch and I am sure in the future games they are going to continue like the others.
“They are very much doing well and improving and settling in extremely well so no problems from that side of it.”
Despite the arrival of two more wide men, Dallas in particular is enjoying arguably his finest spell of the season for Leeds.
After scoring his first league goal of the season in the 2-1 triumph at Blackburn Rovers on February 1, the Northern Ireland international was then left out of United’s side for the recent win at home to Bristol City after starting in back to back losses at Huddersfield Town and at home to Cardiff City.
Dallas was then recalled for last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Ipswich Town and returned with a bang by bagging his second goal in four games.
“It’s great to see,” said Monk, asked about Dallas’ contribution.
“But my concern isn’t who scores the goals, my concern is the way the team play and that we can create chances and be able to be in positions to win games. The whole group know that, they know their responsibility when they are on the pitch, they know whoever is on the pitch what is asked of them and what they have to try and deliver and how we want it to be delivered.
“Whoever steps on to the pitch, it’s their job to do that but the whole squad know that and we are lucky that we have different personnel with different attributes that can contribute to different situations or circumstances.
“We must maximise our time on the pitch and win as many games as possible.”