Leeds favourite Tony Dorigo urges Marcelo Bielsa to sign some players in January so squad size is not ‘exposed’

If Newcastle need specialists in January to battle the drop, Leeds may just need some extra bodies.

Sunday’s clash at whipping boys Norwich is already being billed as a must-win for the stuttering Whites.

Leeds legend Tony Dorigo believes Marcelo Bielsa must add to his squad in January

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Leeds legend Tony Dorigo believes Marcelo Bielsa must add to his squad in JanuaryCredit: EPA

Following three successful years under Marcelo Bielsa, the Argentine’s insistence on a small squad is now under the microscope.

Run into the ground daily by the Leeds boss, fitness and form has papered over the lack of depth.

Injuries have taken their toll this term though, with their bench packed full of inexperienced kids in recent weeks.

One, Joe Gelhardt, helped rescue a late point last weekend against Wolves.

But former Leeds and England defender Tony Dorigo, who commentates on every game home and away, reckons they will have to splash the cash in January if still in the mire.

With value hard to come by, Bielsa is no fan of the January window – his only two permanent signings during it, Kiko Casilla and Ian Poveda, are both out on loan.

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But when asked if he sees issues with keeping a trim squad, Dorigo told SunSport: “I do, absolutely.

“If we are still in trouble come January, one or two players certainly wouldn’t go amiss.

“I understand why Marcelo sticks to a small squad with a few utility players like Stuart Dallas to fill the gaps.

“There are good youngsters but you don’t want to expose too many at the same time.

“So I still think we could do with a couple. When all these injuries happen then the squad size becomes exposed.

“We can’t afford to lose two full-backs in Luke Ayling and Junior Firpo, and our three best players in Kalvin Phillips, Raphinha and Patrick Bamford.

“If they are all out, it’s always going to be difficult for us.

“Against Southampton two weeks ago it was one of the most inexperienced benches I’ve seen.”

Leeds have missed the injured Patrick Bamford in recent games

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Leeds have missed the injured Patrick Bamford in recent gamesCredit: Reuters

Phillips returned in the Carabao Cup defeat to Arsenal on Tuesday having missed the last two, with Raphinha also in line to start at Carrow Road after hobbling off last weekend against Wolves.

Bamford has missed the last four and is a doubt on Sunday, but the striker was hardly pulling up trees before with one goal in five.

Only Burnley and Norwich have mustered fewer than their eight goals from nine games.

But Dorigo remains confident they can turn it around, starting with the “gigantic” clash against the Canaries.

Their Achilles heel so far has been a failure to see off clubs around them like Southampton, Burnley and Newcastle.

Nine points from those away fixtures last season has been replaced by two this time.

Kalvin Phillips returned against Arsenal and his presence will be a boost against Norwich

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Kalvin Phillips returned against Arsenal and his presence will be a boost against NorwichCredit: Getty

And Dorigo added: “It does feel like a must-win.

“I wasn’t picking out this game as overly important at the start of the season, but the way things have turned out, it really is.

“You can’t keep giving other teams around you a leg up. This is gigantic.

“It’s congested down there so just a little bit of form helps, but you can’t keep saying that.

“However, once we get our better players back and start playing to even 90 per cent of what we can, we’ll be fine.

“Yet as it goes on it just becomes that much harder, and this season was never going to be a cakewalk.

“Everyone around the club might have thought, OK, we finished ninth last season so now we’re going to push for the tailcoats of the European places.

“I never saw it that way. It’s all about consolidating and becoming a Premier League side – one season doesn’t make you that.”

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