COMMENT By Ian Hunt
Fourth in the table and with promotion hopes high, it is time for Leeds chiefs to dig deep and ensure Garry Monk has the weapons to steer the club back to the big time.
The A1 priority is the capture of a forward who can provide cover for main man Chris Wood and, at the same time, ease some of the goalscoring burden on him.
The 25-year-old is in the form of his life and scoring for fun at the moment, including five from the last three games.
Wood’s total haul of 19 goals from 30 matches this season, including 16 from 26 league encounters, makes him one of the Championship’s most reliable front men, while also providing an emphatic answer to those critics – many of them Leeds fans – who dismissed his credentials during a slow start to the campaign.
He is on fire, but strikers don’t stay hot forever. And Leeds need a plan B when Wood goes cold.
The current senior back-up options don’t cut the mustard.
Souleymane Doukara has revived his Leeds career over the last two months but he is more effective out wide, while Marcus Antonsson has showed little sign he can consistently trouble Championship defenders.
It is clear that the Leeds team need reinforcements. Garry Monk has worked wonders with a squad that few expected to challenge so strongly for promotion.
But the forward area is particularly weak and Leeds’s strategy needs to extend beyond wrapping main Wood in cotton wool outside of match days and crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.
Step forward new co-owner Andrea Radrizzani, who must show he can make a difference to a board that has become renowned for its penny pinching in recent times.
If Ashley Fletcher is the player Monk and his staff believe can score the goals when Wood inevitably stops scoring, then Radrizzani and Massimo Cellino must provide them with the funds to ensure the deal gets done.
Money talks and the new ownership must speak up.
It would be a dereliction of duty if Radrizzani and Cellino do not make sure there is some forward cover – and top calibre cover at that.