January deals help Warnock revamp United

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SIX new arrivals and 11 departures meant Leeds United were not a side who lay idle during the January transfer window.

And the upshot is Neil Warnock believing the Elland Road club have a squad tight enough to launch a belated charge for the play-offs.

“I think what we did in the window has given us a lot more balance to the team,” said the United chief ahead of today’s clash with Championship leaders Cardiff City.

“I think we have come out of it very, very well. With the swap deal in particular (that saw Steve Morison come to Leeds as Luciano Becchio headed in the opposite direction), we lacked a bit of pace up front and Steve has got that. We have got a bit more pace and power now.

“He is a player I have always rated very highly so I am delighted about that.”

Warnock’s deadline day wheeling and dealing saw two new faces arrive at Elland Road as Mouhamadou Habib Habibou join on loan until the end of the season and Stephen Warnock chose Leeds over West Ham United to sign a two-and-a-half year deal.

The Leeds manager added: “With Stephen, it is not long ago that he played for his country so I am not going to get a better player than that.

“It is nice to see lads who want to come and want to play for you. Both of them made it clear how keen they were and that does help.

“Habib’s just come in until the end of the season. He came for a week (on trial) and we liked what we saw and it is not financially a lot of money.

“It is a no-lose situation. He is a big target man type and I liked the look of him. It gives us another option. We wanted two strikers before the window started. Morison was top of my list as my main man.

“I didn’t expect Becchio to go there (to Norwich). I threw that carrot in when they lost to Luton (in the FA Cup). That situation sorted itself out and I don’t want players here who don’t want to be here.

“To get Morison in like we did and then bring another lad in as back-up only helps the squad. We also lost 11 players over the period, we have cleaned a lot of players out who possibly weren’t going to be involved, and we have brought in players who are going to be involved. It’s a lot tighter squad now. It gives us options.”

The only negative of deadline day was Birmingham City blocking a move for Chris Burke.

He added: “We missed out on Chris Burke because we wouldn’t pay what they wanted.

“We offered a substantial amount and it wasn’t enough for them to accept so we’re still on the look-out for a wide player.”

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