Leeds United's best XI post-loan deadline: Byram, Bridcutt included

Lewis Cook

What does Leeds United's strongest XI look like after the loan window deadline?

Although speculation throughout the day was rife at Leeds United, with Middlesbrough forward Kike and Swansea City's Marvin Emnes both getting linked, as previously mentioned in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Steve Evans ended up with just the one signing - Sunderland's Liam Bridcutt.

In truth, it was perhaps the most important deal of the day and arguably the most impressive capture of the loan window altogether. However, where does that now leave Leeds' strongest XI against their Championship rivals? 

We take a look at who can be considered in Leeds' strongest team and where that compares to the Championship's promotion favourites: 

 Marco Silvestri

Sam Byram, Sol Bamba, Liam Cooper, Charlie Taylor

Liam Bridcutt, Lewis Cook

Stuart Dallas, Mirco Antenucci, Alex Mowatt

Chris Wood

Analysis: 

It is arguably the strongest squad Leeds have had since their seventh placed finish in 2011-12 under Simon Grayson. 

Although Byram has struggled for form recently, his inclusion is a no-brainer alongside the other stalwarts of the Leeds' backline. Taylor and Cooper have improved exponentially over the course of the past 12 months, whilst Bamba and Byram add Premier League-esque pedigree to the defence. 

Silvestri, although not completely without his faults, has continued to impress at Championship level and remains undisputedly the Yorkshire side's number one. 

In midfield, following the Bridcutt capture, the dynamic needs to be changed. Bridcutt and Cook are excellent defensive minded players at Championship level, although the latter likes to get forward more. This frees up the likes of Mowatt and Dallas to get at the opposition defence and do what they do best. 

The Antenucci and Wood partnership has looked promising more often than not this season, and it's no surprise that both have been among the goals. If Evans looks to move away from a 4-4-2 formation, he could try Antenucci behind Wood and allow that partnership to keep on developing further. 

With regards to the rest of the Championship, it is definitely a squad that could finish inside the top six, but on paper there are still a number of sides that are stronger. 

The likes of Derby, Hull, Middlesbrough and Burnley will all claim to have the best squad in the division. However, as long as Evans can get this Leeds side performing week-in, week-out then it shouldn't be too far away come May. 

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch