It was on the eve of an away trip to Tuesday nights opponents Hull City last season that Neil Warnock signalled a change of direction, declaring that he didn’t believe in loanees.
In all fairness to Warnock, he did say that an injury crisis can force your hand and that the loan market can be a life-saver in such a situation.
But, let’s not pretend Neil Warnock’s desire to strengthen his squad using loanees is a reaction to the injuries of Paul Green, David Norris and Ross McCormack, the Leeds United manager was considering signing players on loan almost a month ago – long before the club were experiencing any kind of an injury crisis.
The simple fact is, Neil Warnock has been unable to build the squad he wanted due to a lack of financial support from those above.
Warnock expected to be able to bring in more players, he expected a team with greater quality and more depth, but he’s found out the hard way how limited funding is and his growing frustration has been evident in every interview since the start of the summer transfer window.
Most alarming of all is that injury to just three first team players constitutes an injury crisis. We’re missing Davide Somma and Leigh Bromby as well, but we knew before the season kicked off that they wouldn’t be available. There’s also Ramon Nunez, but Warnock had no intention of playing him – he was on the transfer list prior to his season-ending injury. None of those three featured in our plan for promotion and can’t be used as an excuse.
That won’t stop Ken Bates though, he’ll no doubt point to the wages of these players as justification for not spending, but every team has unwanted individuals on the books and every team has to deal with injuries. At no other promotion-chasing club would the absence of three first team players have everyone panicking, it’s a regular occurrence that such clubs should be equipped to deal with.
And those with genuine promotion potential are. They wouldn’t bat an eyelid at three injuries, most of them have probably reached that number already. You only had to look at Cardiff City’s bench on Saturday to see the vast gulf in depth and quality, there wasn’t a single outfield player who wouldn’t make Leeds United’s starting XI.
Whilst Cardiff City rest easily knowing that they’re equipped to deal with even the most severe injury crisis, Leeds United are three players down and Neil Warnock is desperately trying to secure funding to build a team of loanees.
Not only will Warnock be trying to patch Leeds United up by using a loan system he doesn’t particularly like, but he admits he’ll be doing so at such a late stage that all the best players have been snapped up already.
The effort and determination of Neil Warnock and everyone in the squad can’t be faulted, but without the funding to provide us with some much needed depth, our chances of securing promotion this season are incredibly slim. It all feels a little too much like the final two seasons under Simon Grayson. I guess it’s true that ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’. I only hope Neil Warnock isn’t setting himself up to become Ken Bates next scapegoat.