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Three things learnt from Leeds’ pre-season draw with Southend: Depth needed

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Leeds United

Three things learnt from Leeds’ pre-season draw with Southend: Depth needed

It was a glorious Sunday afternoon pre-season action at Roots Hall as Leeds United traveled to face Southend United in a game which ended with the spoils shared after Luke Ayling cancelled out Harry Lennon’s header.

The Shrimpers took the lead at a corner but Leeds were on top throughout the first half of action, though they struggled to turn possession into goals until Ayling equalised.

Find out what we can take from the game below…

Signings are needed sooner rather than later

Pre-season friendlies are known for rafts of substitutions and changes, but not with Leeds United. A grand total of one substitution across two friendlies, against Forest Green Rovers and Southend United, shows just how shallow Marcelo Bielsa’s squad is.

Only four players made the bench for the trip to Essex given that the under 23’s were in action on Saturday and the fresh legs were evident late on as Southend began to dominate more of the game.

If Bielsa isn’t giving reserve players a chance in pre-season, he clearly doesn’t feel that they have something to offer for the league campaign either. Signings are needed desperately.

Set pieces need major improvement

Southend did not pose a huge threat in open play for much of the tie, but every time they forced a corner out of Leeds it looked like the ball could end up in the back of the net.

Harry Lennon had it easy as he headed into the net in the first half under little pressure and there were plenty of other opportunities too, with John White among those to go close for the Shrimpers.

Such organisational matters need to be resolved before the season gets started otherwise Championship opposition could really harm Leeds without having a foothold in play.

Leeds can’t always rely on Luke Ayling for goals

Having scored against Forest Green Rovers last time out, Ayling added another with a superb run and one-two on the edge of the box before finishing beyond Mark Oxley.

What may be concerning for Leeds fans is that their right-wing-back is their most prolific player, especially as he also went close late on with an effort cleared off the line.

Leeds were dominant in possession and did have the ball in dangerous areas, but time and time again the attacking options failed to produce any kind of end product.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

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