Leeds United confirmed its appeal to the FA over Matt Smith’s quick-fire red card in the debacle against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend.
Should that appeal fail - and recent form in such appeals suggests Leeds fans shouldn’t be too optimistic - the side will be without his services for 3 games, including the visit of high flying Leicester this weekend.
Prior to Christmas, of course, Leeds had developed something of a fearless streak, but now our team looks fearful, listless and appears to have forgotten how to win matches. In short, we've become a soft touch – the team opposition sides are all desperate to play: 3 easy points.
The loss of Smith means that effectively our only 'target’ men are the diminutive McCormack and Poleon, the ineffective (so far) Hunt, Varney and the mercurial Diouf – who seems destined for the exit door. In short, Leeds have strikers of a completely different type to Smith, the archetypal English centre forward.
Leeds manager Brian McDermott has stated there will be no signings prior to the Leicester game, but has been known to 'surprise' the media and fans in this respect previously. Adam Le Fondre has more or less issued a 'come and get me plea' to McDermott – which has left Leeds as favourites to land him ahead of both big spending Forest, and SPL giants Celtic.
Le Fondre would surely favour a move back north now, bizarrely featuring only as a bit part player at Reading under Nigel Adkins. He’s a player who would be the perfect foil to McCormack – a target man with bags of guile, and pace. This is a front two that would surely rip Championship defences to pieces.
One name that seems to have faded into the background is that of Luciano Becchio, another who is frustrated at current club Norwich, and who has been heavily linked with Leeds since November. Playing primarily as a lone striker, and lethal in the air, Becchio returning to Leeds on a loan deal would bolster our front line. In fact, he’s exactly what McDermott needs right now - a passioniate player with a point to prove.
Leeds supporters want bravery from their players, not the kind of anaemic displays witnessed at Rochdale and Wednesday. I, for one, wouldn't be surprised to see McDermott do an about-face this week, and bring back Leeds’ prodigal son. The manager has exuded calm since arriving at Leeds, but these last few dyas have been tough. He's watched his side not only lose badly, but simply give up the ghost.
The Leeds team needs a leader now - someone to set an example. So perhaps the time is right for Becchio to come back and show his worth ?
One final option which Leeds should seriously consider is Billy Sharp. His spell at Reading has not been his most prolific, but he's a proven scorer at Championship level.
Over to you Brian.
image: © superleeds1992