NEIL WARNOCK admits fresh investment in Leeds United cannot come soon enough as he eyes “two or three” new arrivals.
The Elland Road club have been in talks with GFH Capital for more than five months over a possible takeover but a breakthrough finally appeared to be made last week when the Dubai-based investment bank provided confirmation that the funds are in place to complete the deal.
Further discussions are believed to be planned this week with a view to concluding a saga that has dominated the United news agenda since news of the potential change of ownership emerged in May.
For Warnock, agreement on a deal reported to be worth £52m cannot come soon enough as he looks to bolster a side who slipped to a first defeat in seven Championship outings as Birmingham City marked manager Lee Clark’s 40th birthday with a 1-0 win.
The Leeds chief, who has been linked with moves for Kenwyne Jones and Cameron Jerome in recent days, admitted: “We need a bit of help now, a couple of players to come into the squad.
“Hopefully, the takeover will come to the fore soon and we will be able to bring another couple in because the squad needs a bit of help and a couple of faces now.
“We have got to wait and see what develops on the takeover side. I have been looking for weeks and we have got to help the lads out.
“There are two or three players I would like to get but I don’t think we will manage it until the club sorts everything out.
“There is not a lot wrong if we could get the two or three in. I just think we’re lacking a little bit of class and a little bit of quality. We are working hard to get them over the line but it is not easy.”
Representatives of GFH Capital were again in the Elland Road crowd on Saturday as a spectacular strike by Leroy Lita, a loan target for Warnock earlier in the season, settled a dour game in Birmingham’s favour.
Warnock added: “That is football. I don’t think we deserved to lose. The lads gave a much better performance (than in the midweek draw with Charlton) and we were very positive.
“We have lost one in eight (league and cup games) so I don’t think we are in a trough. Are we in a trough? Absolutely not. I hope we keep getting these troughs because that’s one defeat in eight.
“I think we were unlucky. If we deserved to get beaten then I would say so but we didn’t deserve to lose to Birmingham.
“I thought we tried hard, worked hard, and the problem was that we didn’t have enough creativity. We had a lot of the ball and got into the right areas. We just didn’t do enough with it.”
United have an early chance to bounce back with tomorrow bringing a chance to progress to the Capital One Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 1996 when they reached the final.
Premier League Southampton stand in the way and Warnock, missing the cup-tied Ryan Hall, is determined to progress.
He said: “There is no pressure (tomorrow) so we can enjoy it. It will be a good night and a decent crowd, I am sure. We will see what develops.
“We would like to go as far as we can. There is always a Championship club that isn’t far away, so why not us? It is at our place and we will give it a big crack.
“I am not going to be resting people or putting out a weak team. I will put out the best side to win the game.”
United’s defeat came on a day of mixed fortunes for the county’s sides in the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday beating Ipswich Town to claim a first win in 10 Championship outings.
Hull City also returned to the play-off places with a 2-1 triumph at Bristol City but Huddersfield Town (at Millwall) and Barnsley both crashed to defeats, conceding four goals each.
Barnsley chief Keith Hill has pledged to intensify his search for new loan signings in time for Saturday’s derby at Hull City after watching his side gift-wrap three points to Nottingham Forest in a 4-1 home defeat.
After an encouraging start, confirmed by Marlon Harewood’s first strike for 18 months, against his former club, the Reds imploded, conceding three quick-fire goals 10 minutes before the break.
While a commanding central defender may be high on the priority list of many of the Oakwell faithful, Hill – mindful he will be without injured top-scorer Craig Davies for several weeks – says he is targeting a new forward.
Hill said: “We need reinforcements and need to go into the loan market. I had a few knock-backs in the week and I am going to have to be recruiting Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday – or even up to Friday.
“I need alternatives and I need them quick. I need pace and power up front and I need goal-scorers. We scored a goal on Saturday, but it is all about performance levels as well.
“You cannot give good sides bad goals and that is what we did. One or two of the players’ performances are just falling below certain standards that have been set by us.
“We have had a timely reminder against an excellent side. We should not be conceding the three goals that we did just before half-time as they are unforgivable when you want to be winning football matches.”