Leeds United: Mac’s happy to bide his time

Dexter Blackstock in action against Huddersfield Town.
Dexter Blackstock in action against Huddersfield Town.
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Brian McDermott has hinted that he will allow next week’s loan deadline to pass without further signings, saying Leeds United are in a “pretty good place” ahead of the run-in to Christmas.

Leeds have until 5pm on Thursday to make temporary additions to their squad and McDermott will take a last look at the options available to him after today’s clash with Middlesbrough at Elland Road.

The United manager has used the Football League’s emergency loan market only once, signing striker Dexter Blackstock from Nottingham Forest on a 93-day deal last month, and he has cover in most areas of his squad following the recent capture of centre-back Marius Zaliukas on a free transfer.

His choice of central defenders was weakened by the loss of Scott Wootton to an ankle injury – a set-back which will keep the 22-year-old out for a number of weeks – but McDermott approached today’s game against Middlesbrough on the back of three wins from four games and with Leeds eighth in the Championship.

“We’re winning games and we’re scoring goals so we’re in a pretty good place,” McDermott said.

“Obviously we’ll look at what’s out there once the weekend’s gone because it’s wrong to be unaware of your options. But if nothing happens we’ll go through to January with this squad and I’ll be quite happy about that.”

Blackstock joined Leeds from Forest on October 24 and under Football League rules his parent club now have the right to recall him at 24 hours’ notice but the forward is a fringe player at the City Ground and was allowed to leave Nottingham until January 25.

He made his first start for Leeds before the international break, appearing at Charlton Athletic on a day when McDermott’s squad was missing Sam Byram, Alex Mowatt, Stephen Warnock, El-Hadji Diouf and Luke Varney.

Blackstock’s move was set up by a tip-off from Luke Dowling, United’s soon-to-be chief scout, and McDermott – linked in the past few days with young Arsenal attacker Thomas Eisfeld – will speak with Dowling again next week to discuss possible targets.

“We always talk and he’s looking at players constantly,” McDermott said.

“We’ll see how we go this weekend and take it from there.

“But we’ve got some really good players not in the team, some good players not playing, and that’s the strength of the squad.”

Liam Cooper

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