A year is a long time as Leeds travel back to the Valley

Leeds United Crest

Leeds won 4-2 at Charlton in November 2013 but only three players who started that day remain at the club in a sign of how quickly things change at Elland Road.

As Leeds prepare to head back to the Valley for Saturday's Sky Bet Championship encounter, a reflective glance at last season's line-up and how the game panned out tells its own story. Brian McDermott's starting XI that day was Kenny, Pugh, Pearce, Peltier, Lees, Wootton, Brown, Austin, Murphy, Blackstock, McCormack.

Only Scott Wootton, Rodolph Austin and Luke Murphy are still at the club 17 months later, and Wootton only featured for 45 minutes in the rain-soaked delayed kick-off at the Valley, as he was replaced at half-time by Marius Zaliukas.

It highlights the revolving door policy at Elland Road over the last three years that has seen new managers bring in fresh faces and short term-loanees at a startling rate, with limited success. At least the huge turnover of players appears to have subsided slightly, with Leeds having the core of a decent starting eleven and a squad that needs a sprinkling of new faces rather than a fundamental overhaul. Nonetheless, the new signings that are required are expected to impact directly on the first team and this is where Leeds have continually fallen short in recent years.

Another telling factor from the 4-2 win at the Valley is that all four goals were scored that day by Ross McCormack, in his standout moment in a Leeds shirt. McCormack contributed 29 goals in an otherwise turgid season at Elland Road, and many cite his goal return as the major factor in staving off relegation last season. At the Valley, McCormack single-handedly took the game by the scruff of the neck with the full range of goals, including a free-kick and penalty, in his quartet of strikes.

On the bench against Charlton at the Valley last season was Matt Smith, a striker who split opinion at Elland Road, but scored 12 goals for Leeds and proved he could handle wearing the white shirt, where so many others have crumbled in it. Smith was sold to Fulham in August just a week after signing a new contract.

McCormack and Smith's goals followed on from those of Luciano Becchio and before him Jermaine Beckford, but now it appears Leeds are finally bereft of a natural goal-scorer.

The life of a Leeds United supporter over the last decade has steeled them to expect the unexpected, but you would struggle to find a Leeds fan who would put money on a four-goal haul from any striker in a white shirt on Saturday.

Just 47 league goals this season - only 20 of which have been contributed by strikers Mirco Antenucci (10), Billy Sharp (5) and Souleymane Doukara (5) - highlights a major failing in the Leeds squad's potential to challenge in the top half of the table, and is a clear indication of where money has to be spent in the summer.

Games at the Valley have proved a happy hunting ground for Leeds strikers in recent visits, with Mark Viduka also scoring a hat-trick in the 6-1 win in April 2003, but few fans are expecting the same on Saturday, and more likely is another goal-scoring contribution from midfield.

In the opposite fixture at Elland Road earlier this season, midfielder Alex Mowatt scored two spectacular strikes to twice give Leeds the lead, only to be pegged back on each occasion by Charlton, and the resulting 2-2 draw was perhaps a microcosm of Leeds' entire season and the last year in general; promise, excitement, but ultimately little progress made.

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