Leeds FanZoner Leah Waller believes manager Brian McDermott is right to be cautious when looking for loan signings.
The atmosphere in and around Leeds United has changed for the better in recent months and it's certainly been reflected with the team's performances on the pitch, however it's not a secret that the squad severely lacks width and pace, a problem that can easily be solved with the addition of a winger, a position that's needed to be filled since the departure of Robert Snodgrass.
Brian McDermott has been open about his hunt for a wide man, listing it as a priority during the summer transfer market, but when Big Ben struck 11pm and the transfer window slammed shut Leeds were still without their illusive winger after last minute enquiries over Birmingham City's Chris Burke failed to progress. It was then suggested that McDermott would turn to the emergency loan window, despite his obvious reservations about the method, but recent interviews with the United manager suggest loaning a player is not in his immediate plans.
McDermott has always said his philosophy on the loan market is not to recruit players on loan 'for the sake of it' and any player he does manage to bring in on a loan deal will be with a look to buy in the future, however in interviews after the team's win away to Bolton he urged the media to focus on the players currently at the club and not players that we don't have, the manager also told local media not to expect any recruitment before the Burnley game on the 21st.
When speaking about the imminent return of player-of-the-year Sam Byram, McDermott said "Sam Byram has played ninety minutes - imagine trying to sign Sam Byram for Leeds, that would cost a lot of money" although I agree with him regarding Sam Byram's worth, and having him back will be a huge boost for the side as he does offer pace and athleticism - something we are lacking at the moment - I don't necessarily think we can use his return as an answer to the lack of new signings, because he isn't one. Hopefully Byram's return will solve our agility and width problems, we've seen before he has no problem going forwards and helping out with attacks and he's able to whip great balls into the box from the wide areas, but I'd still like to see a left winger added to the squad.
It is probably still the case that our wage bill needs to be lessened, in which case it's unlikely we can bring in anyone new until we've offloaded some of our own players. McDermott has said several times that Aidy White is the nearest thing we have to a winger at the club, which suggests winger Ryan Hall is low down the pecking order, however a lot of clubs are rumoured to be interested in taking Hall on loan, which I think is a win/win situation for Leeds. If we manage to offload him he'll be getting regular first team football at another club, building his experience and confidence while we'll potentially have a gap on our wage bill that could be filled by a winger.
Despite the lack of width that everyone has noticed, we're not doing too badly at the minute. We're comfortably nestled in the play-off places, have only lost one game so far and have been picking up points left, right and centre. As a fan I have a lot more faith in the side under McDermott, even if there are areas that could be improved, and although I think a winger would give us that extra bit of quality that's undoubtedly needed I would still be content without any loan signings because Brian McDermott is a calming and trust worthy manager, and I definitely think the club is in good hands with him in charge.
You can find Leah on Twitter @leahwallerx - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too for links to all the latest blogs!