Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Leeds - up or down?

Will Leeds survive in the Championship or are they destined for the drop?

Dennis Wise has made five signings in the transfer window so far and the squad is now on a winter training camp in Cyprus ahead of next Tuesdays critical game away to Hull.

The five signings (so far) are :

Tresor Kandol (£0.2m) Striker
Tore Andre Flo (free) - Striker
Robbie Elliott (free) Defender
Miguel Armando Sa (loan) Defender
Alan Thompson (loan) Central Midfield

of which I would say at least three (Flo, Elliott and Thompson) are known quantities who ought to be capable of delivering the goods.

Dennis was quoted as saying "this camp is to sort things out for the rest of the season. We are getting the players together to concentrate on the task ahead.
We knew we were signing new players - and we knew we needed the new players to get to know the rest of the squad as soon as possible. This was the last opportunity to get all the lads together and make sure we know what is coming.
Given that comment one might think that no more players will be arriving during the final week of the transfer window but rumour has it that Wise is still looking for a central defender, a goal keeper and a right sided midfielder!

The sixty four billion dollar question is will this squad be good enough to survive given their current position in the league?

Three of the new signings at least should be good additions to the squad. Time will tell whether or not Wise can add further quality. In any case the critical thing will be whether or not the new players can bed in well with their team mates and if so how quickly can they do that. On the basis of the performance against West Brom there are some positive signs with both Flo and Thompson getting on the score sheet. With or without further additions this squad will be stronger going into the final 18 games of the season.

So how many points do we need to survive?

According to assistant manager Gus Poyet we need nine wins. Those wins would give us 27 points to add to the current 24 giving 51 points. I went back over the last ten seasons and the highest points required to be assured of safety was 52 so that is the figure I am going to work with for now and this averages out at 1.55 points per game.

To achieve that hit rate Leeds would need to perform at about the same rate as Cardiff or Sunderland have so far and they lie in seventh and sixth respectively. On that basis alone it looks a big ask. However, there is one small glimmer of hope. Six of those games are against teams in the bottom eight - win all of those and we are in with a shout. Realistically it is that or hope that this is one of those seasons where 41 or 42 points is enough.

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