Leeds United manager Steve Evans is targeting four further signings in the remaining two-and-a-half weeks of the January transfer window after persuading owner Massimo Cellino to support his efforts to improve the squad. The success of Liam Bridcutt since the extension of his loan from Sunderland until the end of the season has convinced the Italian owner to relinquish the purse strings.
Evans has completed two signings in the winter window so far, in the form of Bridcutt and Mustapha Carayol, and has made no secret of his desire to add a striker to his artillery. With Sam Byram expected to leave the club, the Whites boss wants a new spine to his side to support the impressive display of Marco Silvestri.
Upon Evans' arrival at Elland Road much was made of his relationship with Cellino, who has made five managerial changes in the last 18 months at Leeds. The manager admits there were teething problems to attaining funds to recruit new players, but claims he now has the full support of Cellino.
"When I first came to Leeds, I said to the president that the first person I wanted to sign if there were any funds available was Liam Bridcutt," Evans told Sky Sports. "The chairman was counting the number of midfielder players and perhaps not seeing a need for it, but he backed me, bought him in and the kid has made it easier for me to go to the president in the future because Liam has been stunning.
"We're looking to strengthen in a number of areas, but probably the spine of the team is essential, in central defence and central midfield and we're perhaps looking at one or two strikers. We're delighted with the goalkeeper and if he continues to progress the way he has in the last few months, he'll be another one who'll go and play in the Premier League."
The former Crawley Town and Rotherham United coach was seen to have taken on a poisoned chalice when he became the latest man to be given the reins at Leeds, given Cellino's record as owner. Evans has revealed upon his arrival in West Yorkshire he discovered cliques within the squad and worked hard to make the club united.
"When we turned up, we found that there were perhaps little divides and that can happen in dressing rooms, but we've always been a management team that prides itself on being as one. We win as one and we lose as one," Evans said.
"We made it clear to the group in the first day and the first meeting that these little fractions and groups weren't going to be tolerated but the credit really is at the feet of the players. The boys have had a couple of team nights out that they've never had before. It's work hard, play hard but at the same time, remembering we have a big job to do for what is an oil tanker of a football club. It's absolutely huge."