Tom Cairney no small fry on return to Leeds United

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Matt Smith was on target for Leeds but it proved to be in vain as Rovers triumphed Matt Smith was on target for Leeds but it proved to be in vain as Rovers triumphed

Leeds 1 Blackburn 2

Tom Cairney made Leeds rue the day they released him for being too small as the midfielder plotted their downfall at Elland Road.

Cairney joined Leeds’ academy aged seven and stayed until 16 when he was told he was not big enough but, now 22, he showed size does not matter with a masterful display in the middle of the park.

On loan with Rovers from Hull – who he joined straight after leaving Leeds – Cairney laid on first-half goals for Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede before the home side woke up and pulled one back through Matt Smith early in the second half.

Blackburn’s first win at Elland Road since 2003 left Leeds reflecting on a horror show of a festive period.

United were starting to shape up as genuine promotion contenders prior to the start of the glut of fixtures but two points from 12 have left them out of form and now looking towards the transfer window.

Boss Brian McDermott has been trying to secure some new faces but, as is often the case at the West Yorkshire club, boardroom uncertainty means it is not known if the funds are in place.

“We have to improve the squad; I have to,” McDermott said.

“We have to try and bring in two, three, four players who can come in and play. That is really important.

“We need players who know the level and have played in this league before. We know that and we have to try and find them.

“But if we reflect we are eighth in the league, so let’s try and do something. January can be important for us.

“He’s a talented footballer that’s for sure. The deal is work in progress and we will speak to Hull in the next couple of days.”

McDermott is trying to make the best of his current lot but accepts they have little more to give him.

“We are looking a bit leg weary but we are squeezing all we can out of the players and they are doing all they can,” he added.

“We need to bring players in but everyone is in the same boat.

“I have already spoken to someone and it would be good if we could do something.

“I have had a good conversation with (managing director) David Haigh and they are doing their best. I will get support.”

Meanwhile, Rovers boss Gary Bowyer is hoping to keep Cairney at the club, even though his loan from Hull is now up.

“Steve Bruce must be sick of my number coming up on his phone,” Bowyer said.

“Tom is a Hull player and we must be respectful of that but Steve has been great to allow Tom to come here with us.

“We have to see where it goes from there.”

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