Snoddy's injury raises questions about squad depth

TSS welcomes James to the team for a new feature called ‘United we stand?’ where James will be analysing the different view points from Leeds fans across the web.

As Leeds fans, we all have strong opinions on our club. The same passion that drives the atmosphere at Elland Road makes for lively and interesting debates across the internet, from message boards to Twitter and beyond. Although we all love the club, our views can often be poles apart despite the fact we watch the same team and read the same reports.

This week, we’re taking a look at the varying views about our squad. Do we have enough depth? Is it balanced? Will we be able to cope with the inevitable injuries and suspensions that build up over a long season? Predictably enough, the debate on this question is wildly varied, ranging from the scarily optimistic to the depressingly negative. Injuries appear to have highlighted some areas of potential weakness, and suspensions from last season may leave us thin for a few games – but what are the fans on forums, Twitter and Facebook thinking?

We’ll start with a positive view. Trickysns on the BBC’s 606 forum feels that the ‘age, height, experience and quality’ of the team will stand us in good stead this season. Indeed, the new signings appear to be of a decent age (mid twenties), decent height and with, on the whole, decent Championship experience. Unfortunately for Trickysns, he has used the player stats on the official website to find out the player’s heights. This lists Max Gradel as 5 feet 9 and a half. This would make the diminutive Neil Kilkenny a strapping six footer, although to give him credit he was head and shoulders above the Wolves midfield yesterday.

This conflicts with fears from many fans across the boards that a central midfield of Howson and Kilkenny may be a little lightweight. @Cossacklufc, a #twitterwhite, feels we are light in midfield, although he could mean numbers not physicality! Mojoluafc on TSS agrees that a holding midfielder would be a bonus. Many contributors also pointed out the possible lack of pace in midfield and defence. There were hopes from some, however, that the ‘different style’ of play in this league will suit players like Kilkenny more than League One. Time will tell.

@Knowlesm on twitter is of the opinion that we need more midfielders and is ‘v worried about the lack of depth there’. To counter this, many fans have pointed out that we have a degree of flexibility in the squad. Alex Bruce, it is pointed out, can play as a defensive midfielder as well as a defender. Side Before Self, on this esteemed website, feels that this makes our squad of 30 closer to 40, when you count the various positions players like Snodgrass, Bromby and White can play in – although he states ‘My problem is quality not quantity’. Let’s hope he is talking about the squad there.

One very interesting point, which I will credit mojoluafc with even though I have stumbled across it elsewhere, is that three of our transfer listed players are sat on fat wage packets, and nobody wants to buy them. Sheehan, Lubo and Robinson are probably draining quite a lot of the wage bill, and are definitely surplus requirements. Most fans are in agreement that we need to cut the excess weight from the squad, and getting rid of these three would be a good start. Losing these non-players, especially Robbo, would cut pounds from the squad, and maybe allow us to start spending a little money… we can dream can’t we?

A brilliantly paranoid piece of Leeds fan thinking comes from James on Facebook. He sees a conspiracy, where the selling club ‘just use our name to generate a sale to another club, like Hooper going to Celtic, were we ever in for him? there has to be money to spend, think its a case of getting rid of some players’. Seeing as everybody hates us, I can well believe this thinking. However, the assumption that there is money to spend is probably a dangerous one!

Attack wise, we seem pretty happy with our new wide man Lloyd Sam who has been a stand out signing according to @VicPetit on twitter, with @kennedy_no8 plagiarising a song sung by some team we beat one nil last January about an old bloke with the line ‘Lloyd Sam will tear you apart again’. The supporters in N3 yesterday certainly would agree with this, as every time Sam or Gradel got running at the shaky Wolves defence they were on their feet. Somma didn’t appear particularly popular amongst these fans, as one teenage girl rapidly pointed out ‘that one’s s**t!’ Perhaps this was a little unkind after he had only been on the pitch for 5 minutes in a game which was losing its shape.

This relative optimism is tempered by the comment below from Simon on TSS, who said ‘again, it seems like a case of 11 defensive players, try and beat them! have becc’s who can sneak a goal. Feasible, but feckin boring lol Squad is unbalanced.’ He appears to be classing our lone striker Becchio as a defensive player here, and hoping he can sneak a goal too – it will be a very long season for the Argentine front man in that case.

The final word from the fans goes to TSS Facebook fans Ashley and Keith who are in direct opposition – Ashley feels that the two signings hinted at by Ken Bates on Yorkshire radio mean we will be ‘just dandy’ which is rather lovely. Keith disagrees, feeling that we have ‘2 many players that will struggle 2 step up a division’ and lack a 20 goals a season man and a holding midfielder – funnily enough, he expects a hard season!

So – who knows what will happen? Not us it seems. A vague consensus appears to exist around the defence – we have a lot of defenders. Some worry we will lack midfielders, whereas the versatility in the squad reassures others. As ever, watching the same team and reading the same reports leads to a wonderful variety of thoughts on our beloved team.

With another week of speculation before the season begins in earnest, keep your views flowing through the usual online routes – but keep Marching On Together!

You can send your opinions to The Scratching Shed by commenting on the site, becoming a fan on Facebook or by following ScratchingShed1 on Twitter.