By Alex Stevens

Leeds need to spend “big money” on a new striker in the summer, according to Noel Whelan.

The Yorkshire giants have scored just 39 goals in 40 Championship matches this season, which is the third worst record of any side in the division outside of the bottom three.

The team’s top goalscorers are Chris Wood and Mirco Antenucci, who have each struck nine times in the league, but these returns pale in comparison with the most prolific front men in the Championship.

Burnley’s Andre Gray tops the charts this season with 23 goals, followed by Fulham’s Ross McCormack, the former Leeds forward who has scored 21 times.

Ex-Elland Road striker Whelan is convinced that owner Massimo Cellino must sanction some heavy spending for a striker who can add greater potency to the attack.

“I think that Chris Wood should be at Leeds United next season, but we do need to strengthen in that area, without a shadow of a doubt,” wrote Whelan in his Yorkshire Evening Post column on Monday.

“We are talking about key areas where teams are strong and you look at where people have spent their money and it’s in the striker’s department. That is where they have spent their money – Middlesbrough, Derby, everybody – they have been bolstered either by a midfield player or a striker and paid big money for it as well.

“But you do get your rewards back from that, as we see now. The teams that have spent the money are sitting at the top.”

Chris Wood is Leeds' top scorer this season with eight league goals

Yellow peril: Wood needs a potent striker to support him, says Whelan

Whelan believes that a new striker should be signed to partner Wood rather than replace him.

The Leeds number nine had a forgettable day as Leeds lost 1-0 to league leaders Burnley on Saturday, missing two excellent opportunities to level the scores.

“I think we need more strength in depth in that area and I think with a good, fit Chris Wood alongside another quality striker, you have then got a special strike-force,” Whelan added in the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“But I do think we need to get somebody that is going to be costing, that is going to be prolific and who has got a bit of pace as well, as I do like the mix-match that Burnley have got there.”

In other Leeds news, manager Steve Evans has given his backing to misfiring Wood.