The final word on Leeds United v Preston North End

Preston North End take the lead at Elland Road.
Preston North End take the lead at Elland Road.
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What were the key talking points from Leeds United's 2-0 defeat to Preston North End in the Carabao Cup? Joe Urquhart takes a look.

Strength in depth - is it an issue?

Marcelo Bielsa's mantra of having two or three players for each position is one that makes complete sense and he took the chance on Tuesday to evaluate those further down the depth chart.

It has to be said that there is plenty of quality within the squad but maybe one of the key reasons for the defeat against North End was match sharpness. Tom Pearce, Conor Shaugnessy, Tyler Roberts and Stuart Dallas are among those that have seen their first-team minutes limited this season for one reason or another.

Alex Neil's side were at it from the start and looked sharper in every department for the opening 30 minutes before Ryan Ledson's red card but the lack of match action for some of those in the starting eleven was evident.

Stray passes, heavy touches, overhit crosses and a general lack of decision making meant that Preston were able to close down from the front with relative joy. Is strength in depth an issue? Despite the defeat it doesn't feel like it's the whole issue.

The bigger question remains of how to keep those who aren't seeing Championship action game ready? Dallas' heavy touch and a stray leg from Shaughnessy led to the opening goal from the spot after just 45 seconds and Leeds never fully recovered despite knocking at the door.

It is a difficult task and one that the Argentine will have to overcome should those be called upon in the coming months.

Do Leeds need additions before the loan deadline?

One or two wouldn't hurt... but Bielsa is happy.

The YEP understands that Leeds are closing in on a loan deal for an attacking midfielder from a Premier League side which is seen as cover for Samuel Saiz but, and many Whites fans would agree, the central defence remains a slight area of concern that could probably do with an extra body.

Middlesbrough up next

The real one... or so Leeds fans would say following the Carabao Cup exit.

The top two in the Championship come to blows on Friday night under the lights at Elland Road in the final game before the first international break of the season. A clash of styles is expected as Tony Pulis brings his team to West Yorkshire with both sides unbeaten in the league this season sitting top of the table together on 13 points from five games.

Leeds put on a fine display at Norwich City on Saturday and a return to action for those who featured at Carrow Road is expected following the nine changes made by the Argentine for the Preston defeat.