LEEDS United will prioritise outgoing loans over new signings in the last week of the emergency window, head coach Neil Redfearn revealed last night.
Redfearn is focusing on moving surplus players on from Thorp Arch and said he had sidelined a number from first-team training sessions in an attempt to “stop my message getting diluted.” The Football League’s loan window closes at 5pm a week tomorrow and Leeds have not negotiated a single move in or out of their squad since the market opened in early September.
The club’s Italian owner, Massimo Cellino, is resistant to the idea of short-term signings but Redfearn admitted before the international break that he was looking for additions to his squad and “a bit of help” for a young group of players.
United’s new head coach hinted that arrivals were possible before next week’s deadline but, he reiterated the importance of finding alternative clubs for players with no prospect of featuring in his line-up this season.
Noel Hunt, David Norris and Luke Murphy are among the names who Leeds are likely to listen to offers for, and forward Nicky Ajose – a summer recruit from Peterborough United – could also be given the chance to move on, despite signing a three-year contract less than four months ago.
Redfearn said: “I’d say that moves out are more likely than moves in.
“I’ve spoken to Massimo and we’ve got a couple of good ideas (for new signings) but whether they’ll happen now or at a later date, I’m not sure. We don’t have too much time.
“I’d like to give the young players here a bit of help and the right support, but at the same time we need to move a few lads on.
“It’s nothing personal and I’m not being difficult with anyone but there are players here who aren’t going to play any football.
“That’s not good for them, it’s not good for anyone and we’ll try to help them if offers come in.
“We’ve had a few enquiries and I’ve already started thinning down the main training group, setting up two different groups – just to stop my message getting diluted.
In fairness to the lads who aren’t playing, it’s hard for them to feel properly involved and it’s easier to get my message through to those who are.
“The core of the squad is good. I’m pretty happy with it. But we do have a lot of bodies at Thorp Arch and it’s been like that for too long now.”
Hunt and Ajose were fielded in an Under-21 game against Sunderland at Thorp Arch yesterday and scored the goals in a 3-2 defeat.
Defenders Scott Wootton and Zac Thompson also started.
United have used in excess of 30 different players in 17 Championship matches this season but Redfearn said new signings would still be welcome before the loan window shuts.
“It’s about getting the squad right,” he said. “It’s not that we don’t have numbers here or that we don’t have experienced players - it’s just that some of those players need a change of scene or a fresh start. I think they realise that themselves.
“The fact that we’ve got a big squad doesn’t mean that we don’t need extra players. In certain areas we’re looking for different ones.”
Leeds are close to confirming a travelling support of 6,900 for Saturday’s game at Blackburn Rovers - the biggest away attendance in the Championship this season.
United set the last season’s record at the same venue, taking 6,716 fans to Ewood Park.