With no imminent arrivals expected at Leeds United, Neil Redfearn has revealed he is keen to streamline his first team squad.
The Football League emergency loan window will close next Thursday, and the Elland Road faithful would love to see a couple of new faces to improve a squad which is now working under its third new manager of the season having already seen Darko Milanic and, before him, Dave Hockaday sacked. Indeed, Redfearn himself would certainly welcome some added quality.
However, Leeds have already used 26 players in their 17 Championship matches to date, and exits are more likely than arrivals in the coming days. Noel Hunt, David Norris, Luke Murphy and even Nicky Ajose – who signed a three-year contract when he joined from Peterborough United in the summer – have all been mentioned as possible departures should interest be registered.
Redfearn admits he is keen to streamline his squad so he has a core of players he can call upon, rather than involving those who have no realistic chance of forcing their way into his plans. And doing so would also enable his younger players to make an impact on the first team, something that, as the former Academy manager at the club, he is naturally willing to do.
“I’d say that moves out are more likely than moves in,” he told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “I’ve spoken to Massimo (Cellino) and we’ve got a couple of good ideas (for new signings) but whether they’ll happen now or at a later date, I’m not sure. We don’t have too much time. I’d like to give the young players here a bit of help and the right support, but at the same time we need to move a few lads on.
“It’s nothing personal and I’m not being difficult with anyone but there are players here who aren’t going to play any football. That’s not good for them, it’s not good for anyone and we’ll try to help them if offers come in. We’ve had a few enquiries and I’ve already started thinning down the main training group, setting up two different groups – just to stop my message getting diluted.
“In fairness to the lads who aren’t playing, it’s hard for them to feel properly involved and it’s easier to get my message through to those who are. The core of the squad is good. I’m pretty happy with it. But we do have a lot of bodies at Thorp Arch and it’s been like that for too long now. It’s about getting the squad right. In certain areas we’re looking for different players.”
After a run of seven games without a win, Leeds have picked up four points from their past two league matches including a 3-1 triumph over Blackpool before the international break. They return to action this weekend when they head to Lancashire to take on a Blackburn Rovers side who are on the fringes of the playoff positions, yet the visitors will be backed by almost 7,000 travelling fans.
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