NEIL REDFEARN admits Leeds United need to add to their squad “sooner, rather than later” after admitting an interest in the club’s former striker Luciano Becchio.
The Elland Road club head to Bolton Wanderers tomorrow knowing that an extension of the current poor run could bring a slide into the Championship relegation zone due to Blackpool and Millwall, two of the four clubs below Leeds in the table, meeting at Bloomfield Road.
Such a precarious position has focused minds at United, who were yesterday boosted by Sam Byram insisting he is going nowhere this month amid reported interest from the Premier League.
President Massimo Cellino is due to fly back into England today after a break in Miami as United, who, despite operating under a transfer embargo this month, can make signings providing they do not contravene Football League rules, continue to be linked with Becchio and Italian striker Leonardo Pavoletti.
Ivory Coast defender Sol Bamba, once of Leicester City and now with Palermo in Serie A, is also understood to be on the radar of a club where all in-comings are the responsibility of Cellino and sporting director Nicola Salerno.
As part of the process, Redfearn has made a number of suggestions to the pair and is awaiting a response.
“Sooner rather than later, hopefully,” said the United head coach when asked when any new faces may start to arrive.
“We have a president and a recruiter in Nicola Salerno. I am a head coach, but I am in conversations with the owner and Nicola. They have mentioned players, I have put a list of players to them, who I think will benefit us, through my experience.
“Hopefully, sooner rather than later, we will get those players through.”
Becchio’s potential return to Elland Road has understandably excited supporters.
The Argentinian spent four and a half years at Elland Road before moving to Norwich City in January, 2013.
His time in East Anglia has been a major disappointment and, earlier this season, he moved on loan to Rotherham United.
Becchio netted once in five appearances for the Millers before a heel injury forced his return to Carrow Road.
“He is someone I fancy,” said Redfearn when asked about a striker who has returned to full training with Norwich, but remains well down the pecking order.
“Luciano is well known at Leeds United, he has scored a lot of goals for Leeds United and he knows the division. He knows the level, he has played in the Championship and, for me, he would definitely give us good competition.
“It is understanding the magnitude of what Leeds United are about and what we stand for. It gets tremendous support.
“There is a pressure that goes with playing for Leeds United. You’ve got to succeed and players have got to understand that when they come in.”
As desperate as Leeds are to get new faces in, the need to hold on to the club’s better players is also paramount.
So, with Sunderland and Everton believed to be watching Byram, the Academy graduate’s insistence on staying put is welcome.
Asked about a possible move away from United, Byram said: “I have not heard anything.
“I am looking to buy a house in the area. I live round here, I am from here and all my friends are here. I am back in the team and enjoying my football, and that’s the main part of it.”
As for possible incoming transfers amid speculation about a move for Leeds old boy Jermaine Beckford, Redfearn declined to comment on any other specific individuals
The United head coach did, though, admit fresh faces were needed.
He said: “The ideal scenario is that we get two or three signings in that freshen things up and give us some competition. It just needs some impetus at this point in the season.
“I said that as far back as when we beat Derby at home (on November 29), even after a good result. We just lacked a bit of balance with regards to experience at this level. That hasn’t changed.
“I don’t want to talk about certain players, but the fact of the matter is that we need experience or two or three in to stiffen things up.
“In that respect, we have got to look at everything.”
United beat tomorrow’s opponents in the first game of Redfearn’s caretaker spell in charge this season, but since then Bolton have rallied under new manager Neil Lennon.
Wanderers have taken 19 points from a possible 21 at home under Lennon and another win tomorrow would hand Millwall and Brighton, both a point behind, with a chance to leapfrog Leeds.
Alex Mowatt, Byram and Lewis Cook are expected to return to the side after being rested at Sunderland, but Stephen Warnock is out with an ankle injury.