Hapless Leeds Set To Blow Promotion

Piet BairdContributor IJanuary 26, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23:  Jermaine Beckford of Leeds reacts after a missed chance on the Tottenham goal during the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON 4th round match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United at White Hart Lane on January 23, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

It would seem to appear that Leeds United have got their priorities horribly wrong, as the crest fallen giants struggle to find any form where it matters in the League in 2010.


The Leeds boss, Simon Grayson, has consistently stated that he has the players in his squad at Elland Road to push for promotion, a viewpoint that is now being brought under intense scrutiny. Recent results, a home draw with struggling Wycombe, defeat at Exeter followed by a dreadful, hopeless, mauling at Swindon have left Leeds promotion hopes in tatters.


Further to this, an exit in the Johnstones Paint Trophy, at the semifinal stage, seems increasingly likely having lost the first leg, 1-2, at home to Carlisle.


Since the turn of the year Leeds most prominent performances have been a famous 1-0 victory secured over Manchester United and a gutsy performance gained a fortuitous 2-2 draw at Tottenham. Sadly, both were in the FA Cup and totally meaningless to Leeds who now have a three point deficit behind Norwich City who look certain to gain promotion, sadly for their beleaguered fans, Leeds do not. Leeds seem simply incapable of producing their cup form in the League.


Charlton, the most obvious challengers to Leeds, may have suffered a blip at home to Orient but their recent form and performances are vastly superior to those produced by Leeds in the League since the turn of the year. Leeds have one game in hand over Charlton but you would still fancy the "Addicks" to overhaul Leeds at this time based on recent form and results.


As Leeds fans will painfully know, the playoffs offer Leeds no real hope or expectation and with the likes of Huddersfield, Colchester and, ominously,an improving Southampton likely to join them it would take a very brave man to bet on Leeds to come through in this format.


With six days of the transfer window left open and Leeds defence starting to leak goals on an alarmingly regular basis, Simon Grayson needs to seriously assess his squad. Leeds may look to reconsider the decision not to sell star striker Jermaine Beckford so that funds can be raised to close the obvious weaknesses at fullback and a lack of pace and creativity out wide.


The Leeds Manager has experimented by playing Jonny Howson on the right hand side in recent times. This is tantamount to trying to fit the proverbial square peg into a round hole. Howson is a committed central midfielder with an eye for a killer pass, not a right sided winger, since he has neither the pace, guile nor final delivery to play wide.


To suggest the squad is good enough as it currently stands, even with the addition of the lively Max Gradel, would seem to be a highly questionable and maybe costly judgement at this time.


With a critical home game against Colchester on Saturday, it is starting to look increasingly grim for Leeds who are losing the plot just when they least needed to lose focus. They need to find their way to something approaching 95 points to secure promotion but judging by recent performances they may struggle to reach the 72 to secure a playoff berth.


It is simply not good enough for a set of fans who have continued to support the club in force, despite all manner of traumas in recent years. These fans deserve better, but I fear they may have to wait until next season when League One may not be so strong should the likes of Norwich, Charlton, and Southampton secure their return to the Championship, as seems likely.