Leeds United: Redfearn eyes up new recruits

Neil Redfearn.
Neil Redfearn.
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NEIL REDFEARN is eyeing some incoming business early in the January transfer window – after admitting that Leeds United ‘need a bit of help’ to kick-start their season after an alarming winter run.

The United head coach takes his side to promotion-chasing Derby County for a daunting-looking televised fixture tonight (7.45pm), with the visitors in a worrying 20th place in the Championship table, just above the drop zone.

Leeds head to the iPro Stadium, where they have lost on their last six visits, in the midst of a deflating run of just two wins in their past 15 league fixtures, with their last victory coming in the 2-0 triumph over Derby in the reverse fixture at Elland Road on November 29.

Despite being under a Football League transfer embargo for a breach of Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, regulations allow second-tier sides to sign players on free transfers and for wages of £600,000 a year or less, with striking target Leonardo Pavoletti watching the Boxing Day clash with Wigan Athletic.

The Sassulo forward is likely to join on loan for the rest of the season from the Italian outfit, with a view to a permanent switch in the summer.

On his hope for early progress when the transfer window opens on New Year’s Day, Redfearn said: “I would like to think so because it has got so far here, we have had a resurgence from where it was, but it is faltering a little bit at this time. We need a bit of help.

“I have suggested players and that is where it is at. We have got a recruiter in (sporting director) Nicola Salerno and the president oversees that as well.

“It is a case of recommending people and the names go into the pot.”

Leeds head to the East Midlands with just one away victory to their name in 11 Championship matches on the road this season, with their haul of six points from a possible 33 being the second-worst total in the division behind Blackpool, who have picked up five points.

United, whose sole success came at leaders Bournemouth on September 16, face hosts who have lost just once on home soil this term.

But despite his side’s worrying away sequence this season and four-match winless streak heading into tonight’s game, Redfearn insists that confidence has not been knocked.

On the issue of confidence potentially being dented, he said: “I wouldn’t have said so. If you look at the performance (against Wigan), it didn’t lack confidence.

“It just lacked conviction in front of goal. It lacked that desire and that purpose at the defending end, to do the right things and make good decisions.

“You are always in a fight, but there is half the season to go. Win a few games and you are looking up.

“We have just got to make sure we are tough in this period and start putting results together.”

On paper, tonight’s assignment could not be tougher, with Derby able to jump up to second if they win and Ipswich slip up at home to Charlton.

At the other end of the table, United’s need for points is just as pressing, with fellow strugglers Wigan also in action tonight at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

For Derby, there also is the matter of their 2-0 loss at Elland Road just over a month ago to address, with Redfearn acknowledging that the Rams will have memories of that shock setback in their minds this evening.

He added: “I would have thought they would still be a little bit sore about it. They came here top of the league and they had their pride hurt, so they will want to put that right, but from our point of view, we just need to get a good away performance.

“The last one was a good one, at (Nottingham) Forest, and a deserved result I thought in the end. If we can get a good result at Derby, then it will help to eradicate the disappointment of Wigan.

“It is a big game and a tough game for us. They are doing well, but we said that before we played them the first time and we upset the applecart by getting a result that day. We played well.

“They will know about us now, so it will be even more difficult, but we just have to get the level of performance right. We have to be more diligent all over the pitch.

“We have beaten them already and to be honest, on our day I think we are capable of beating anybody. We have proved that.

“We won at Bournemouth and beat Derby County, so it is not like we cannot reach that level. But it is about consistency.”