Leeds United: Central defence a priority for Dave Hockaday

Leeds United manager Dave Hockaday has admitted increasing his central defensive options is a priority as the new season approaches.

They have sold Tom Lees to Sheffield Wednesday and backed out of a possible deal for Chesterfield's Liam Cooper because of the asking price.

Hockaday told BBC Radio Leeds: "We have two senior centre-backs at the moment, so we're looking to strengthen.

"Tom is Leeds through and through, but he needed a fresh start."

Chesterfield are understood to be looking for about £1m for Cooper, whom they bought from Hull City for an undisclosed fee last year. with Leeds having offered just under £500,000.

Leeds United manager Dave Hockaday

"There are lots of areas we need to improve, but I feel we're making strides forward every day."

"Every player has his price, but they want too much for him, so we've walked away from it," said Hockaday.

Jason Pearce and Scott Wootton are currently the only central defenders in Hockaday's squad.

However, the former Forest Green Rovers manager believes pre-season performances have been encouraging.

"We're playing as a team, that's apparent, and the boys are getting more and more comfortable with the ball," he said.

"There are lots of areas we need to improve, but I feel we're making strides forward every day."

Hockaday promised younger players, including 19-year-old Chris Dawson, who scored a hat-trick in the friendly against Glenavon, would get their chance to impress this season.

He added: "Chris is good enough. He's got a little bit lost in the system, like a lot of young players do, but now he's going to be given an opportunity, like all the young players."

Dawson may find himself competing against AC Milan attacking midfielder Zan Benedicic, whose season-long loan from the Serie A club  is likely to be confirmed next week.