Ross McCormack: Leeds United on a festive mission

Ross McCormack. PIC: Steve Riding
Ross McCormack. PIC: Steve Riding
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Championship top gun Ross McCormack is calling on Leeds United to maintain their upward momentum over the festive season – to strengthen boss Brian McDermott’s transfer hand in January.

The Scot has been in the form of his life for the Whites this term and tops the division’s goalscoring charts at Christmas with 16 league goals, three more than nearest rival Danny Ings.

That haul represents exactly half of United’s league goals tally so far in 2013-14, with the in-form striker having fired in 11 of Leeds’ last 16 goals.

His exploits have helped United rise to fifth place in the Championship, with McDermott’s side currently joint-second in the form table for the past six games.

Only Derby County have taken more points, with United having tasted defeat just once in their last eight league outings.

Despite those impressive vital statistics, neither can the recent reliance on McCormack’s goals be ignored, although the 27-year-old’s sole concern is on United being firmly established in the play-off positions by January 1 – in time for the opening of the winter transfer window.

A consortium led by United managing director David Haigh – backed by Andrew Flowers, managing director of United shirt sponsor Enterprise Insurance – are hoping to take control of the club by then.

United have already opened discussions about a deal to re-sign one-time crowd favourite Max Gradel from St Etienne and the sight of the club cementing their top-six credentials would also add to its allure for other potential signings if the purse-strings are loosened.

Setting out United’s yuletide mission, which sees them call in at Blackpool on Boxing Day ahead of visiting Nottingham Forest on Sunday, McCormack said: “We want to be in the top six (in January), as high up as we can be as that will maybe give the manager more power with the owners to get a few more players because we need it.

“It’s going to be a long season and we need all the quality players we can get.

“If you got the choice of going into the top six or mid-table or the relegation zone, it’s obvious where you’re going to go.

“The manager will have his targets. Hopefully he can get them.”

McDermott has already revealed his hopes to bring in at least two new players next month to supplement his squad, although McCormack has stopped short of suggesting that the addition of some perspective new acquisitions has served as an extra incentive to United players in their current good run.

With the Leeds boss having utilised his squad members throughout the first half of the campaign, the players’ sole focus has been staying in the team and the squad, with it being competition which is bringing out the best in United, according to McCormack.

He said: “I don’t know if that (promise of January signings) is maybe bringing the best out of the boys because everyone knows that we’ve got to keep playing well not only to stay in the team, but the squad.

“Every week there are players who are missing out on the matchday squad as it is.

“If we bring another two or three in, then there will be even more missing out. We all know how important it is to play well.”

Paul Heckingbottom (Picture: Jack Lancelott/Sportimage)

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