Three key ingredients Leeds United are missing as promotion push slows down

Just eight games of the Championship season remain and Leeds United’s promotion push is in danger of slipping away following two defeats in their last five outings.

A 1-0 loss at home to automatic promotion rivals Sheffield United on March 16 saw Leeds slip out of the top two and they are now five points behind league-leaders Norwich City.

Ahead of their crucial clash at home to Millwall on Saturday, we assess what Leeds have been missing as their dream return to the Premier League lies in the balance.

Reinforcements at centre-half

Despite vastly improved performances this season, the defensive capabilities of club captain Liam Cooper remain the subject of debate among the Elland Road faithful.

The former Chesterfield man was arguably at fault for Chris Basham’s goal in the Blades defeat and occasional slip-ups like this could prove crucial to Leeds’s position in the final standings.

Gaetano Berardi, Luke Ayling and Kalvin Phillips have also filled in at the heart of the defence this season, but a dependable, full-time central defender would surely add steel to the Whites line-up.

More clinical attack

Leeds are the league’s fifth highest goalscorers this season, but they should have scored more goals having dominated large parts of many of their games.

Goals have been largely spread throughout the team and Kemar Roofe tops the list on 14 despite being sidelined with a knee injury since February 13.

With Patrick Bamford the only other recognised striker, added competition up front could have provided the firepower to turn around some of the draws and defeats.

With United recording 17 shots at goal but not one on target against the Blades, could a clinical goalscorer have made the difference?

Greater Depth

Injuries have severely hampered Marcelo Bielsa’s options throughout the season and members of the under-23 squad have made up the majority of the subs bench on several occasions.

While this has paved the way for exciting talents such as Jack Clarke and Jamie Shackleton to stake their claim in the team, at times experience off the bench, along with options in different positions, may have helped the Whites take more points from games.

With Pontus Jansson and Adam Forshaw battling to return for the Millwall clash, Bielsa should have a near fully-fit squad for the Championship run-in, which could prove vital to their promotion hopes.