by Phil Hay
Brian McDermott admitted last night that Leeds United were in need of a lucky break in the loan market after hitting a wall of refusals with their approaches for players during the international break.
McDermott told the YEP that “five or six” enquiries had come to nothing in the past week with the clubs concerned unwilling to discussing the release of targets wanted by Leeds.
United’s manager has taken in a number of games since his squad’s last fixture – a 3-1 defeat at Derby County on October 5 –but his search for a new striker and winger remains up in the air with Sunday’s game against Birmingham City rapidly approaching.
The need for new players at Elland Road has been underlineded by Leeds’ recent flurry of Championship losses and McDermott was given permission to look for emergency loanees ahead of a disappointing performance at Millwall on September 28.
But the United boss said: “We need something to happen for us on that front. I’ve been watching games, I’ve spoken to five or six managers and all of them have told me that the players I’m interested in aren’t available.
“I’m trying to find what we need and that’s my frustration at the moment. When it comes to loans you’re in the hands of other people and I’m really just waiting for something to give.
“You can see what we’re missing and it doesn’t take a genius to work that out. But I still maintain that the squad here can improve. We’re working hard on addressing the things that went wrong before the break.”
McDermott travelled to Carrington last Thursday to watch an Under-21 match between Manchester United and Manchester City. He has been heavily linked with Will Keane, the 20-year-old Manchester United striker who made his one and only senior appearance for the Premier League side in 2011.
Keane was the victim of a serious knee injury last season but is fit again and likely to move out of Old Trafford on a temporary basis before the end of the emergency loan window.
McDermott said: “I’m finding that clubs are extremely reluctant to send out their recognised players, the ones who are in their 25-man squads.
“There are plenty of very young, inexperienced Premier League players out there but many of them have never been tested and it’s a hell of a risk to bring them to a club like Leeds on a whim.
“More than ever, you’ve got to be very sure not just about their ability but their character, too. I’ll keep on saying this – we need the right players, not just players. I won’t compromise on that.
“We’ll keep trying before Birmingham and I’m not going to say that I’m optimistic or pessimistic. All that does is affect expectation and you never know when someone might give you the answer you’re looking for.”
Leeds staged a behind-closed-doors game against Rotherham United yesterday as McDermott began finalising his plans for the visit of Birmingham to Elland Road.
The United boss expects to have a fully-fit squad available for the weekend provided Rodolph Austin, Paul Green and Ross McCormack return from international duty without injuries.
McDermott’s side lost five of seven matches between the international break at the start of September and the current interlude and he said: “It’s been good for us to have a bit of time.
“We’ve been taking stock quite a lot recently and I don’t want to be reflecting on defeats but I’ve said a few times that we’re a work in progress.
“That means we’ll have ups and downs as the season goes on but it doesn’t mean we can play like we did at Millwall or Derby or excuse that. I’m well aware that we need to address those performances.”