Leeds United struggle for form after a whirlwind two months

By Vikki Stathers. There’s no getting away from the fact that Leeds United have had a rather frantic start to 2014. Brian McDermott’s ‘sacking’ and an on-edge Ross McCormack stole the show during Transfer Deadline Day’s final hours – they even had a tweet of condolence from Gary Neville. So after what was a promising start to the season, the Whites have stumbled and are now grasping at the distant premise of stealing a playoff spot come May.

The seemingly imminent takeover by the Italian Cellino can’t come quick enough, regardless of whether you trust his infamous past dealings or not. Rumours of administration are enough to make any Leeds fan cower in fear as Ken Bates still hangs over their shoulder, but even grey clouds have a silver lining.

Brian McDermott's long-term future at Leeds is uncertain in light of the imminent takeover by Massimo Cellino.

Brian McDermott’s long-term future at Leeds is uncertain in light of the imminent takeover by Massimo Cellino.

With the ever-popular Brian McDermott at the helm, Leeds have managed to attract some reasonably big players to the club over the past couple of weeks – something of a rarity, most fans will admit over the past few years. After the introduction of Jimmy Kebe and Cameron Stewart in the January transfer window, promising English keeper, Jack Butland and Sunderland’s Connor Wickham on loan have also joined the squad.

None of us are naïve enough to expect that past form will automatically transfer to a new club, and unfortunately that just hasn’t happened yet for Kebe and Stewart. After months of calling for wingers, the Leeds boss finally delivered and hope was restored. But, after what seems a lifetime of ‘hoof ball’ and a lack of width, the squads’ mentality isn’t built to accommodate wingers, and it’s going to be a steep learning curve for them to reach their full potential.

After the drama of January and four away games on the bounce, momentum and form are not on Leeds United’s side. So, this weekend’s trip to QPR could have been a rout, had it not been for two other new faces in the camp. With Paddy Kenny injured, Jack Butland came in for his debut, as did Wickham partnering the prolific Ross McCormack up front.

The 20-year-old England international has already been on loan at Barnsley this season.

The 20-year-old England international has already been on loan at Barnsley this season.

At full time, neither side will have been satisfied with a point – the weekend’s draw makes it no win in five for promotion hopefuls QPR, and Leeds trail the top six by eight points.

For Leeds fans though, there is hope the duo of Butland and Wickham will breathe new life into a squad that’s suffered nothing but instability and false promises since the departure of Mr Bates. As things calm between McDermott, Cellino and Haigh, maybe Leeds do still stand a chance of that elusive play-off place.

Do you believe the Butland and Wickham signings can spark a change in fortunes at Elland Road? How long has Brian McDermott got left in the Leeds hot seat? And after 10 years away from the top flight, can the Yorkshire club secure promotion back to the Premier League?

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