The January transfer window was an awkward one for Leeds United. I’d have been concerned if the club had done nothing at all because we’re well off the pace in the Championship but I’d have worried more if they’d tried to throw big money at this season.
You never say never but, personally, I feel we’re passed the point of talking about the play-offs.
We could get fairly close to them and we can influence the make-up of them but we’ve got far too much ground to make up with 17 games left.
It’s as much to do with the number of clubs above us as it is to do with the points gap.
The fact that I’m saying that in early February tells you that the squad at Elland Road needs to be better and as limited as the transfers in January were, I like the players we’ve signed.
Liam Bridcutt made a big impact during his previous loan and the big lad, Toumani Diagouraga, had a good game at Bolton last weekend. Mustapha Carayol’s come up with a couple of cracking goals too.
We lost Sam Byram, there’s no disguising that, but I think we all knew last month that Sam would be going. It wasn’t a surprise once talks about his contract ended and it doesn’t change the fact that our midfield is better off now, stronger than it was before.
What we don’t have is enough strength in the centre of defence or up front. If you ask 100 Leeds fans where they think we need to improve, 100 of them will give you the same answer – up front and at the back. I’m sure that if Steve Evans had made one more signing before the deadline, he’d have wanted it to be another forward.
There’s clearly a bit of a niggle with Chris Wood’s hamstring and that leaves us short in attack. But Souleymane Doukara has come right into form – from absolutely nowhere, it has to be said – and Mirco Antenucci always looks decent when he plays well.
It’s not enough but at the same time, there was no need to sign players for signing’s sake.
That always sounds like an excuse for doing nothing but, really, you have to think about it logically. We’re mid-table, a long way clear of relegation and a long way away from the play-offs. So if the right players aren’t available – because of money, circumstances, whatever else – then taking on others doesn’t make sense.
This isn’t an argument the club can afford to make in the summer because, quite frankly, we can’t go into next season with the lack of strikers or the defensive problems we’ve got now. You can’t ever afford to be in a situation where you’re three months into a campaign and trying to fight back from 17th or 18th position, like we’ve been doing.
But I’m quite happy for the club to keep their powder dry until the summer.
I’m not one of these people who thinks that because you’ve got money for Sam Byram you’ve got to spend it straight away or spend at least as much as you’ve earned. That’s a daft way to operate and it focuses attention on value, rather than on ability.
This season, for me, has been another season to forget so far. For three or four years now we’ve been trying to progress but getting nowhere.
It’s hard to say that as we stand the team are significantly better or stronger, although I definitely think there’s been an improvement under Steve. An extra striker in January wouldn’t really have changed that. Come the summer I suspect we’ll witness much bigger changes. I can see five or six players moving on and I hope they’ll be replaced with a better calibre of footballer.
I have to say that Steve’s signings so far look decent. More of that standard would move us up a level, closer to the play-offs and able to compete.
If he’d been able to get more of those in January then I’m sure he would have done. Because it’s quality we need, not more padding.