Three Leeds United performances vs Cardiff City make Daniel Farke's transfer priority clear

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Leeds United were comfortable in taking all three points from the Welsh capital and Daniel Farke may have a clearer picture of where to improve this month.

Save for the width of a post and a missed Crysencio Summerville penalty, Sunday was just about perfect from Leeds United - and at Cardiff City, of all places.

Many a Leeds team have headed to the Welsh capital and come away with nothing, not least the promotion-winning Marcelo Bielsa side of 2019/2020. But Sunday was biggest league win over the Bluebirds since 1963 and their most commanding away-day of the season.

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Cardiff were insipid on the day - their booing supporters all too aware - and not one starter in a white shirt was below a 7/10, but three stood out for reasons that will impress Daniel Farke more than most.

After scoring his contender for the Puskas Award at Peterborough United the prior weekend, Patrick Bamford insisted it counted the same as a tap-in and he got said tap-in at Cardiff, stumbling backwards to poke a scruffy goal into an empty net. He has three in as many games now but as pleasing for Farke will be his relationship with Georginio Rutter and the freedom of the latter to roam as a No.10.

Rutter started the season at No.9 and despite early signs of promise and continued moments of brilliance, his partnership with Joel Piroe had not been as effective in recent weeks. The availability of Fabio Carvalho on loan reminded supporters that they wanted a new creative force in the summer and it quickly became a priority for this month, but Bamford's form and the knock-on effect of pushing Rutter into the space has put it on the back burner just as swiftly.

Central defence may become an area for consideration if Charlie Cresswell agitates to leave this month amid reported interest from Blackburn and Millwall. He has been dropped by Farke, who insisted the 21-year-old was not 'mentally ready' to play, and so when Leeds went to Cardiff on Sunday they did so with one centre-back. Ethan Ampadu slotted alongside compatriot Joe Rodon and looked as comfortable as he has all season, albeit against a team who offered little going forward. Ampadu seems to have it sussed at Leeds: rarely flustered, always in control.

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The only issue with having Ampadu at centre-back is that you can't have him in central midfield but Ilia Gruev filled the void with aplomb. He is a regular international with Hungary and played in the Bundesliga last season, so it should come as no surprise. But a poor game at Stoke in October and the lack of minutes that followed fuelled concern. Worry not. Leeds will certainly be open to reinforcements at centre-back if Cresswell leaves but if the worst-case scenario is to have Ampadu at the back and Gruev in midfield, they are in a good place.

Full-back remains the absolute priority at Elland Road, particularly given they have lost two already this month in Djed Spence and Luke Ayling. Archie Gray put pen to paper on a new long-term deal on Tuesday and has been outstanding at right-back, while Sam Byram is battling Ampadu for signing of the season.

But the former is still only 17-years-old - he is also not a right-back - and the latter's injury issues have started to resurface. Jamie Shackleton and Junior Firpo are both limited and have fitness concerns of their own.

Such areas are where Leeds are most likely to strengthen and there is interest in West Ham's Ben Johnson, Burnley's Conor Roberts and Neco Williams of Nottingham Forest. None will be an easy get and those in charge at Elland Road are hoping for a domino effect to kick into gear shortly. When that time comes, it is imperative that focus is on recruiting at full-back. Fortunately for Farke and Leeds, performances at Cardiff mean other positions can take a back seat.

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