What a waste of money?
Friday, 11th Oct 2013 14:06 by Tim Whelan
During the international break Brian McDermott will be working hard to identify players he can bring to the club, but his record in getting the best out of his signings is going to have to improve.
You can always sympathise with a manager who has inherited a very average squad and who has only limited funds to improve it, but it’s not unfair to judge him on how what he does with whatever cash the board does make available. And that’s one thing that is starting to bother me about Brian McDermott, the poor return we’ve had so far from the four players he has actually signed.
At the start of the summer transfer window McDermott was complaining about the lack of funds available, but the first deal he did manage to get over the line was the signing of the giant Matt Smith. We’ve not seen too much of Smith other than as a late substitute, but he’s useful whenever he manages to head the ball in the right direction. To be fair McDermott probably never saw Smith as a first choice striker, but signed him as a squad member who could unsettle an opposing defence when he came on late in the game.
But if McDermott was looking for other signings to form his first choice strike force, that brings us on to his next acquisition, the non-scoring striker Noel Hunt. You could say he works hard up front, but it’s mid-October and the manager’s old Reading made still hasn’t found the net for Leeds in a competitive game. Hunt has been very vocal in the press lately to back his manager and promise that things will turn round soon, but I guess he’s got to. There can’t be many other managers who would keep picking him in his current form.
Luke Murphy joined us from Crewe, but although he has shown some nice touches he has never really stamped his authority on any game we’ve played so far. You might think that he’s only lost his place because of the emergence of young Alex Mowatt, but there might be more to it than that. Last week I was talking to a leading member of a Crewe supporters organisation, who told me that Murphy had been spotted back in Crewe and wasn’t happy in Leeds. He thinks our tactics are too long ball, as he’s been told just to give the ball to the full-backs for them to lump forward!
And finally there is Scott Wooton, who replaced Tom Lees in central defence, but then proved to be even more unreliable in the defeat at Millwall. For the next away game at Derby he didn’t even make the bench, apparently for “footballing reasons” even though he was fully fit. McDermott put in a lot of work to sign Wooton, but has he fallen out with him already?
It must be very frustrating for the board to make the money available only for the new signings to fall by the wayside as they fail to make an impact. McDermott says he want to get another striker and a winger in on loan before the Birmingham game at the end of next week, but unless his track record with signings improves I can’t see him getting that much more cash out of GFH. Don’t get me wrong, I like McDermott and I want him to succeed, but in this respect he will have to do better.
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