Brian McDermott showed his transfer savvy when he signed Lithuanian international Marius Zaliukas on a free but is he the reason behind Leeds United's promotion push?
Brian McDermott made a terrific judgement call on the 26th October by signing former Hearts of Midlothian captain Marius Zaliukas on a free transfer.
The player had been training with Queens Park Rangers for several months, along with Harry Redknapp and now Derby County manager Steve McClaren. Neither party moved on the defender and yet, it looks to be one of the best signings in the Championship this season.
When he signed, Leeds United sat in 10th position, six points off 6th place Nottingham Forest and eight points off 22nd placed Yeovil. The nature of the Championship is that it only takes five or six games to go really wrong, or go really good and fortunately for Leeds they decided to go really good.
The first two games, Zaliukas was used as a substitute despite the fact he played half a game or more on both occasions.
He has only conceded six goals in 544 minutes of action, so impeccably he concedes once every 90 minutes, which is a fantastic record in the Championship. Aside from that, he averages 2.3 interceptions per game, and even more impressively 10.6 clearances per game.
Leeds have picked up an impressive 13 points out of a possible 21 which has seen them rise from 10th to 6th in the league, due to the defenders influence. The player is fast-becoming a huge favourite on the terrace of Elland road and between his defending and McCormacks attacking threat, Leeds look good for their 6th placed finish.
image: © Paul Dantanus