Final roll of the dice for Simon Grayson TSS March 26, 2010 Leeds United 78 Comments With the closure of the loan transfer market came Simon Grayson’s last throw of the dice for our promotion dreams. With injuries to key players Jermaine Beckford and Patrick Kisnorbo, Larry had one final chance to get things right to save Leeds United’s promotions dreams, and most probably his job. However much I like Larry, the one thing he has to do this season is secure promotion. An incredible start meant it was ours to lose, and of course, we’re doing our best to make sure things aren’t easy. If he fails at the final hurdle, no matter how close he comes, it simply isn’t close enough. Tough as that may be, he’s in charge of one of the countries biggest clubs and with such a big job, comes big expectations. The first area Larry addressed was the most obvious one. When Kis went off injured against Millwall, our defence fell to pieces. With Rui still injured, a replacement seemed the best way forward and for that, he turned to Preston North End and their out-of-favour centre-back Neill Collins. Already, an unhappy and disillusioned Leeds United faithful have been quick to criticise this move due to his lack of success at Preston. I must admit, I have my own reservations too, but if you take a closer look at his history, you’ll see he’s been quite successful elsewhere; most notably, Wolves. This could be an absolutely disastrous signing, as many of Simon Grayson’s loan signings have been. It’s a signing forged in desperation and adversity, so it’d be no major shock if Collins wasn’t the answer to our prayers. However, I’m feeling quite optimistic about his arrival. He’s a player with an established career at a higher level, desperate to prove his worth and undoubtedly looking to secure a future away from Preston. Only time will tell, but he’s definitely got a lot to play for so shouldn’t need much motivation. Sticking with the defence, Shane Lowry returns from Aston Villa to fill the troublesome left-back vacancy that has been a constant weakness since Ben Parker was sidelined through injury. I’ll probably take heavy criticism for this, but I was actually quite impressed with Lowry. He didn’t make the brightest of starts admittedly, but before he returned to Villa injured, he looked like he’d started to gel with the rest of the team and was certainly more successful than Andrew Hughes. Won’t be the most celebrated of signings, but he’s here to fill a void and it was a necessary move on Grayson’s part. Finally we come to Sanchez Watt who joins us on loan from Arsenal. The Gunners are expecting great things from this youngster who Wenger brought in as a 15-year-old. When it comes to youngsters, no one has a better eye than Arsene Wenger so the young winger may be the one to watch as our season draws to a close. Coming from Arsenal, he may be just what we need in that he’ll be familiar with passing the ball on the floor (something the rest of the team have clearly forgotten). Watt is also said to have electrifying pace and likes to run at players. Just the attacking threat we needed on the wing then? A few months ago, the above three signings would have had my mouth watering, but after such incredible flops as Cardiff’s Capaldi, seeing will most definitely be believing as far as I’m concerned. It’s a shame the depth of the squad wasn’t used more when it should have been as a team of Leeds United’s size really shouldn’t have to resort to desperate last minute loan deals. Going in the other direction is Liam Darville to Rotherham United and Andy Robinson leaves for Tranmere. I guess it was only a matter of time with Robbo, but his move highlights the kind of players we have available to us that have gone unused since Simon Grayson’s arrival. If the loan signings pay-off and we get automatic promotion then you can’t really question Larry’s judgement. However, if the season ends with Leeds United still in League One, the departure of Andy Robinson and David Prutton will be brought under intense scrutiny. So, the dice are rolled, jobs are on the line and tens of thousands of supporters expect. No pressure.