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

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Photo: Getty Images.

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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Leeds United

Leeds United round-up: Pouraliganji linked, Lonergan on exit and Wilks on fire

A selection of the latest news and gossip from Leeds United.

Mathew Nash

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World Cup defender linked

Leeds United are being linked with a move for Iranian international centre-back Morteza Pouraliganji.

The defender, who can also play in central midfield, impressed at the World Cup for his nation this summer. It was supposed to lead to a move to Trabzonspor. However, after cancelling his contract with Qatar-based Al Sadd a move to Trabzonspor fell through.

The Tasnim News Agency is now suggesting Leeds could sign the free agent before the end of the month.

Leeds were linked with his former Al Sadd team-mate Baghdad Bounedjah earlier in the summer.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Lonergan not bitter

Andy Lonergan has been discussing his exit from Leeds United this summer. The 34-year-old was speaking to the Hartlepool Mail after starring in Middlesbrough’s penalty shootout win against Notts County in the League Cup last night.

He said he cancelled his contract at Leeds as it was ‘not working’ at the club and that there were ‘no hard feelings’.

Lonergan came in as back-up to Felix Wiedwald last season but ended up behind Bailey Peacock-Farrell in the pecking order.

Wilks at it again

Leeds loanee Mallik Wilks continued his hot streak at Doncaster Rovers last night. The Yorkshire side knocked Scunthorpe United out of the League Cup last night at Glanford Park with a 2-1 win.

Wilks opened the scoring. It is his third goal in as many games for Donny as Leeds fans continue to get excited about his potential first-team future.

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Leeds United’s Massimo Cellino flop Lee Erwin to embark on Iranian adventure

The Scottish striker has joined Tractor Sazi in Iran.

Mathew Nash

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Back in the summer of 2015, Leeds United snapped up promising young Scottish forward Lee Erwin on a free transfer from Motherwell. It was a move spearheaded by then Leeds chairman Massimo Cellino, who worked hard to bring the Scot to Elland Road.

However, it did not work out for the attacker. He played just 12 times for Leeds and failed to score a single goal. Loan spells at Bury and Oldham Athletic were mixed and last summer he was told he could leave by Thomas Christiansen.

Erwin headed back to Scotland with Kilmarnock, scoring seven times in 40 games for the club. However, one year after being given the boot by Leeds, the 23-year-old is now treading a much lesser known path.

As confirmed yesterday, he has joined Iranian side Tractor Sazi. The club are managed by Welsh legend John Toshack. He is also not alone in having British football experience. Former Nottingham Forest midfielder Ashkan Dejagah, Celtic striker Anthony Stokes and Rangers winger Harry Forrester joined the club this summer.

Leeds United fans will not have many fond memories of Erwin. He barely made any noticeable impact at Elland Road.

But fans will no doubt wish him all the best in his brave new adventure.

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Some Leeds United fans are raving over Samuel Saiz’s League Cup display

Mathew Nash

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Leeds United have won a third game in a row under the management of Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentine made plenty of changes to his starting XI for the clash with Bolton Wanderers, but they still proved too strong for the Trotters.

There were some excellent performances on the night for Leeds fans to get excited about. Patrick Bamford scored his first goal for the club. Jamie Shackleton had an excellent evening in only his second senior appearance. Lewis Baker also had a good game in the centre of midfield. But it was perhaps Samuel Saiz who caught the eye the most.

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

The Spanish wizard was sensational, as always, throughout the game and fully deserved his goal. His trickery left Bolton’s defence bamboozled before a low drive beat Remi Matthews in the opposing goal.

Leeds fans were, of course, delighted with yet another display of excellence from Saiz, who was linked with La Liga sides this summer.

It was perhaps a testament to his excellent display and the esteem he is held in that Leeds fans are so concerned that he briefly clutched his hamstring whilst leaving the field of play.

Fans will hope he is fighting fit for the all-Yorkshire clash with Rotherham United at the weekend.

Here is some of the best reaction to his performance on Twitter…

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