By Wayne Veysey

13th Mar, 2017 | 11:51am

Noel Whelan identifies four Leeds players who must be more brave

By Alex Stevens

Noel Whelan has urged Leeds’ central midfielders to be “braver” and get into the penalty box more often.

Garry Monk’s side extended their unbeaten run to six matches with a goalless draw against QPR in the Championship on Saturday to maintain their promotion push.

But Leeds have been over-reliant on the division’s 22-goal leading scorer Chris Wood to finish off opponents, with the striker netting more than four times more often than any of his teammates in the league this season.

Wood has scored nearly half of the Yorkshire giants’ 50 goals from 37 Championship matches, a cumulative figure that is bettered by three teams in the second half of the table, including 19th-placed Nottingham Forest.

BBC pundit and ex-Elland Road striker Whelan is convinced the promotion hopefuls have become over-reliant on Wood for goals and need their midfielders to take up some of the slack.

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The next top scorer is Souleymane Doukara, who has scored five times in the league and was axed from the starting XI for Saturday’s draw against QPR.

Whelan believes the answer to the goals problem is for the central midfielders, namely Liam Bridcutt, Eunan O’Kane, Ronaldo Vieira and Kalvin Phillips, to provide a far greater threat to the opposition goal.

“O’Kane does get forward more than Vieira but we just need more bravery from one of the midfield players – you don’t see enough of them in the box,” said Whelan to BBC Radio Leeds, as quoted by their matchday blog (Saturday, 5.47pm)

“Unless they start doing that, they won’t get goals. Alternatively, get yourself set, find the space and have a go.”

O’Kane and Bridcutt have yet to score for Leeds since joining on permanent deals from Premier League clubs last summer, while academy products Vieira and Phillips have netted just one apiece this season.

Leeds remain on course for a place in the play-offs after consolidating their place at fourth in the Championship table with a haul of 66 points from 37 matches.

They are six points clear of seventh-placed Fulham, who secured a sensational 3-1 win at leaders Newcastle on Saturday.

In other Leeds team news, the club are to pounce and re-sign a 23-year-old after a £10million transfer is all but sealed.

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