Leeds United: New frontman Billy will be a real handful in and around box - Ritchie

Billy Sharp.
Billy Sharp.
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Ex-striker Andy Ritchie has his say on all things Leeds United.

It was good to see Leeds get a little bit of a boost in the mid-week Capital One Cup game with Accrington.

But I know that Gaetano Berardi getting sent off wasn’t the best thing that could have happened and I’ve got to say it was like kung fu football wasn’t it?

I didn’t actually see it in live time as I was just looking at my notes and we were all saying ‘was he sent off for a challenge’ or ‘did he throw a punch’ because there was a lot of pushing around.

But when I saw the replay I thought flipping heck – it was like Jackie Chan.

He’s obviously going to get a ban – a three match ban – and that’s fair enough.

But this week has been all about the club’s transfer activity and it’s great that the club are getting new faces in.

It looks as though Massimo Cellino is splashing the cash a bit and there was talk of one player costing about £600,000 or something.

But one player I know a lot about is Billy Sharp who has joined the club from Southampton.

Billy is a goalscorer – he’ll score goals at any level and that’s his major role.

We were actually debating off air the other day who will play against Middlesbrough?

If David Hockaday is going to play three up front then does that mean that Matty Smith won’t get a game because he has brought in Nicky Ajose from Peterborough and Souleymane Doukara from Catania who obviously played very, very well the other night with his two goals in the 2-1 victory.

It’s looking as though it might be a little bit of a battle for Matt Smith to play because it looks as though Hockaday might want to play a bit more around trying to keep the ball on the ground and what have you.

It’s going to be interesting but Sharp is a goalscorer and he comes alive in the box.

If you can get balls into that box and into that danger area then he’ll get on the end of it.

He’ll also be wanting to prove himself a little bit in terms of getting himself back into a run of scoring goals.

But I’ve always rated him and I tried to get him when I was manager at Barnsley.

He was at Doncaster Rovers then but we couldn’t manage to do the deal.

I do rate him highly.

I think he’s similar to Ross McCormack but I wouldn’t say that he has got maybe the same build up skills as Ross McCormack and that’s not trying to do him a disservice.

He’s not that type of player that can maybe drop off and play that number ten role in terms of spraying the ball around and bringing people into play.

What he wants to do is get the ball and get in the box and that’s his bread and butter.

He’s prolific and I think that if he can get into the team and hit the ground running and maybe get a couple of goals early doors just to settle him down, then all the better.

And it’s all about the service you get as a striker – you can score individual goals and you can make your own luck and your own goals but it’s all about the service that you get into Sharp.

If you get the right deliveries into the box then there will be goals definitely and Leeds have now got a bit of pace up front as well now from all areas.

Pardon the pun but Billy is sharp and you’ve got both Ajose and Doukara who can stretch teams the other way as well. I know we have also been linked with Rotherham United forward Kieran Agard and then there’s the centre-back Liam Cooper who has come in as well from Chesterfield.

Bellusci, another centre-back, has also arrived from Catania and it’s what they needed.

The president has put his hand in his pocket and he’s making moves in the transfer market.

The squad was drastically down at the back in terms of what they had with Tom Lees going to Sheffield Wednesday.

They had only Scott Wootton and Jason Pearce really as recognised centre- halves that have played at a decent level and Cooper coming in I think is a really good signing.

And let’s just hope that they can gel quickly because I’m sure they would have loved to have got this business done earlier on – two or three weeks into pre-season or a week into the season so that the coach could have worked with them a little bit more.

That’s the only downside that I can see to it at the moment – that they probably would have liked to have had them in a little bit earlier. With three games in eight days coming up against Middlesbrough, Brighton and Watford, it will be interesting to see how they do.

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