Pressure on Leeds United to make the right call

Leeds United

The festive period for football fans is a stressful time, with supporters around the country trying to simultaneously please their loved ones.

With January diets and work-out plans now on the horizon, fans can look forward to some January additions as the transfer window reopens.

Leeds United fans can still say they have enjoyed the festive period, even with just one win in four matches.

There was no Christmas cheer on December 21 as they lost to promotion rivals Fulham, but draws with Cardiff City and Preston North End kept up the momentum.

Then came Sunday’s thriller at St Andrew’s, with Leeds winning 5-4 against Birmingham City to remain nine points clear of third-placed Fulham.

Leeds fans can be a fickle bunch but they can be forgiven for their sense of deja vu at present.

Twelve months ago they sat pretty at the top of the Championship table on 51 points, the same amount they have now as they prepare to take on joint-leaders West Bromwich Albion.

Promotion was in sight but the rest, as they say, is history. Leeds became the first team to lead at Christmas to not get promoted, meaning their Amazon Prime documentary was painful viewing unless your allegiance is away from Elland Road.

The inside story showed just how close Leeds were to signing Daniel James, only for Swansea City to pull the plug at the 11th hour and 59th minute.

Leeds now have a big decision to make, with reports emerging on Monday that on-loan striker Eddie Nketiah is on his way back to Arsenal.

Nketiah has enjoyed himself at Elland Road but limited game time means he has scored just three goals in 16 games.

Jack Clarke has already returned to Tottenham after making just one appearance and Nketiah is said to be unhappy with his minutes.

Patrick Bamford spearheads Leeds United’s attack and that does not look like changing barring injury.

Leeds may have a healthy cushion at the top of the table but they cannot afford to not replace Clarke and Nketiah. Every team will say it but this really is Leeds’ big chance.

If they choke from here, Marcelo Bielsa, Kalvin Phillips and more first-team stars could be on their way. Last season, Leeds stumbled and tripped their way into the play-offs and the same mistakes cannot be made.

With their rivals playing catch-up, Leeds needs to act quickly and make a big statement as they try to return to the promised land after over 15 years in the wilderness.