Steve Evans has warned the Leeds squad over their futures and insists the club will be in the promotion race next season if he gets the players he wants.
Leeds’ season appears set to fizzle out again, with the Whites knocked out of the FA Cup at Watford on Saturday while they sit 17th in the Championship.
But Evans has warned his squad that every player should be using the 15 remaining games to prove they are worthy of a place in his squad next season, when he insists the Whites will mount a push for promotion – as long as is allowed to recruit as he wishes.
Evans said: “It’s not all about next season now because people are playing to be part of next season. People have to produce performances.
“I’ve got no respect for them having contracts that go beyond the summer. They’ll either be a part of it come the end of the season or not, and they’ll be told to their faces.”
Evans has added three players to his ranks since taking over in October, with the £575,000 purchase of Toumani Diagouraga adding to loan deals for Liam Bridcutt and Mustaph Carayol. The manager says he is already making moves for the summer window, but warned that he will be competing with rivals who have had far longer to build a side capable of challenging at the top of the division.
“We know the type of players we want to bring in and sometimes the exact players,” Evans said. “Some of those conversations are happening.
“I look at managers at the top end of the league and they get about 10 transfer windows to build a team. We’ve had two – the last one and the one that’s coming in the summer.
“I’ve always said it – if I get the players I want, put the kettle on. We’ll be in the promotion race next season. Whether that’s good enough to get up, who knows, but we have to be ready with a group assembled. We need to be in a promotion chase.
“I think there’s no doubt that 60 per cent of the squad are very good players and good enough to be part of something here. I looked at Diagouraga in the first half [at Watford] and Bridcutt, and they looked like Premier League players.”