MARCH 2012

Sat March 29th. Strong Results . Let’s put some money into the side not the bloody East stand.

RossMac

Snods

Clayton

Friday March 30th 2012. Warnock – a man in a hurry – YEP (PhilHay) – I have to say I really liked this article. A man on a mission so to speak. I just hope he gets the backing he deserves because his enthusiasm is infectious. Neil Warnock will ask Leeds United to offer new or permanent contracts to some of their most prominent players after opening negotiations with five members of the squad at Elland Road. Warnock confirmed that he had spoken with Robert Snodgrass, Ross McCormack, Aidan White, Adam Clayton and on-loan defender Darren O’Dea with a view to keeping them at Leeds next season. United’s manager met with the players and their representatives earlier this week and plans to discuss their respective futures with club chairman Ken Bates and chief executive Shaun Harvey around the Easter weekend. Warnock said a meeting between him, Bates and Harvey was likely to take place during the coming fortnight, with the subject of player contracts high on the agenda, and the 63-year-old has reiterated the need to see the matter clarified before the end of the Championship season. “They’re provisional talks and I’m going to put together certain things,” Warnock said. “When the chairman comes over at Easter I hope to have a meeting with him and tell him my views on all five players, including Darren O’Dea. “I’ve talked to them all and explained my situation, about what I feel about their contribution. If we can’t agree anything then I accept that in certain cases they might have to go but at the moment we haven’t talked about that. I just want them all to stay. “We’ve got to be positive this year and we’ve got to sign players at the end of the season, not in August. We’ve got to get planning now and this needs to be a massive summer. There’s no way I can put up with inconsistency or mid-table next season. That’s not my scene at my age. “It’s a great pull having a club like LeedsUnited. If you can agree terms I don’t there’s another club in the Championship I’d want to go to if I was a player.” Snodgrass is the most high-profile professional involved in talks with Warnock, who named the Scotland international as club captain within days of taking charge as manager last month. The four-year deal signed by Snodgrass in 2009 is due to expire next summer and he is seen as the player most likely to attract interest from Premier League clubs during the close season. Norwich City made an unsuccessful attempt to sign him following their promotion from the Championship last summer and could return with another bid when the current season ends, but contract negotiations between Leeds and Snodgrass were on hold for the best part of a year before Warnock initiated a meeting this week. McCormack, United’s leading goalscorer, and midfielder Adam Clayton are also about to enter the last year of their deals, and White will be out of contract if Leeds fail to agree improved terms with him before the end of the term. White, who came through Leeds’ academy and signed his first professional deal more than four years ago, is under the age of 24 and would earn Leeds a sizeable sum of compensation by moving to another English club, but Warnock is intent on retaining the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international. Confirmation of discussions with O’Dea, meanwhile, is a firm vote of confidence in a centre-back who has been on loan at Leeds from Celtic since August. O’Dea, inset, is weeks away from becoming a free agent and appears to have no future at Celtic Park. Warnock could now move to sign him on a permanent basis having using him in every minute of his seven games as manager. “He’s got a lot to learn,” Warnock said, “and in my mind getting the right partnership at centre-back is vital. “Who might I bring in and who do I think they might play well with? Everything’s going through your mind. We’ll be trying to get players in straight away when the summer comes.” Contract negotiations have been a regular source of angst at Elland Road for several years. Jermaine Beckford, Max Gradel and Jonathan Howson are three of the more high-profile players lost through free transfers or sales agreed in part because of their dwindling deals. Midfielders Neil Kilkenny and Bradley Johnson also parted company with United as free agents having failed to agree extensions prior to their promotion from League One in 2010, and Warnock said: “In the past we’ve let things drift a little too much. You realise that you’ve got to plan ahead. We’ve got to plan ahead. “There are lads who I’ve asked to pledge their futures to the club and I’ll be putting that to Shaun and the chairman at Easter.” O’Dea recently admitted that he is aiming to secure a full-time transfer to Elland Road, saying: “At the end of the season I’ll be looking to move on from Celtic. Obviously I’d like to stay at a club like Leeds.” The Republic of Ireland international will be forced to step out of Warnock’s line-up for tomorrow’s game against Watford after earning a two-match suspension at Millwall last weekend. Having survived on nine yellow cards for five consecutive matches, O’Dea finally crossed the threshold of 10 bookings after a first-half confrontation with Millwall’s Andy Keogh. Warnock criticised O’Dea for inviting the booking, claiming referee Lee Probert had cautioned the defender for walking away from the official, rather than for his off-the-ball scuffle with Keogh. “It’s a soft suspension,” Warnock said. “If he’d gone to the referee instead of walking away, (Probert) wouldn’t have booked him. What’s the point in that? It’s bloody stupid and now it affects us. “He’s sat at home with a lollipop and not a care in the world while we’re fighting fights. It’s irresponsible and I don’t like that.”

Friday 30th of March 2012. Leedsv Watford Preview. Leeds will be without suspended defender Darren O’Dea for their home game with Watford, while winger Aidy White hopes to shake off injury. Centre-half O’Dea starts a two-game ban after receiving his 10th booking of the season in last week’s win at Millwall, while White, who started at left-back earlier in the season, is nursing an ankle problem. Manager Neil Warnock could be tempted to switch Tom Lees back to central defence alongside Alex Bruce and recall Paul Connolly at right-back. Danny Pugh could return to contention after missing out altogether last week if White fails to make it. Neither Leigh Bromby nor Andy O’Brien are ready for a return to first-team action despite completing 45 minutes for the reserves in midweek. Otherwise, Warnock will select from an unchanged squad. Ross McCormack is likely to resume his partnership with Luciano Becchio up front, with Michael Brown and Adam Clayton in central midfield as Leeds bid to make up ground on the top six. Watford are monitoring Adrian Mariappa ahead of their trip to west Yorkshire. The centre-half has missed the last two games with an ankle injury and will be assessed ahead of the Elland Road clash, with Martin Taylor and Nyron Nosworthy ready to continue their solid partnership should he not make it. Manager Sean Dyche will be forced into at least one change after winger Alex Kacaniklic was this week recalled by parent club Fulham. Powerful striker Chris Iwelumo is also firmly in the reckoning for a starting berth having come off the bench to change the game around in last weekend’s 2-1 triumph over Ipswich. Stephen McGinn (knee) continue to make progress with his long-term knee injury but is not ready for first-team action.

Fri 30th of March 2012. Lorimer – YEP Given the choice, you’d prefer to lead the way in the race for promotion. f you’ve got a chance of going up automatically then, like Southampton, it pays to be five points clear with seven games left. And if you’re aiming for the play-offs, I’d normally say that now is the time to be in the top six and sprinting for the line. But in some ways it helps Leeds United to be coming up on the rails, the proverbial dark horse if you like. We’re a club which was written off a couple of weeks ago and in that respect there is little expectation on our players.  Pressure, yes, because the crowd at tomorrow’s game against Watford want to see them seize their chance of promotion but it’s hard to know if the majority of supporters really expect that to happen. The movement in the Championship in the last week or so hasn’t changed my mind about the task in front of Neil Warnock’s squad. We’re still outside contenders, but, at the same time, we are contenders – realistic contenders if we can find some form and consistency for perhaps the first time this season. I don’t share the view that results have been going for Leeds specifically. Teams have been picking up points here and there, like Middlesbrough and Leicester City on Tuesday night. But as we found out last season, draws at this stage are two points dropped. I remember coming away from our goalless match against Reading last Good Friday and thinking “that’s a decent result.” They’d won eight games on the spin and were running riot in the league. In reality, we dropped to seventh that night and never recovered. It was a costly result, all things considered and draws don’t take you over the line.  That’s why Neil has been honest in admitting that his team need to win all their remaining home games and possibly six of the last seven. Momentum isn’t about feeling optimistic – it’s about how good your results are. From now on there is no point in describing any of Leeds’ games as must-win. That applies to every single match. It’s an exciting scenario and somewhat unexpected because it was hard to believe that there was anything left in this season after that awful defeat to Nottingham Forest. Do I think Leeds are going to make it? My heart says yes but my head says it’s extremely difficult to call. I don’t think anyone can say for certain what’s in store and you get the feeling that the league is going to see-saw until the last weekend. Leeds’ first priority is to stay in contention. At some stage, they’ll need that twist which takes them into the top six and puts them in a position of strength. Will it happen? I honestly can’t be sure – that’s the beauty of football.  

Bates and Leeds Pre-season.  Leeds United chairman Ken Bates has revealed that plans are in place for an “extended” pre-season programme involving friendlies at home and abroad. Football League clubs who fail to reach the play-offs this season are facing a lengthy summer with the regular term due to end on April 28 and the new campaign scheduled to begin on August 18. The opening day of the 2012-13 term is later than usual due to the staging of the Olympic Games in London. Leeds are still in contention for a Championship play-off place but their close season will span more than three months if they finish outside the top six. Bates said: “What we’re planning is extended pre-season friendlies both at home and overseas. There’s a tournament on the horizon.” The Football League announced this week that its fixtures for the 2012-13 season will be published on Monday, June 18. Looks like we’re off to Mosney then or will Ken call it something exotic like Butlins !

Thurs March 29th 2012. Matteo on why Bates should back Warnock – YEP. I’m past the point of guessing how Leeds United’s season will end. Talk about ups and downs. No sooner do you think they’re dead and buried than the Championship turns on its head again. If nothing else the next five weeks will be fascinating, and that’s a bonus in itself. Before the appointment of Neil Warnock, I feared Leeds would have nothing to play for at the sharp end of the season. It’s an unacceptable scenario for a club who stated time and again that promotion was a realistic aim. From here on I’ll sit back and enjoy the ride. I’ve absolutely no idea how this is all going to finish. But it won’t worry me if promotion gets away from Leeds. Not with Warnock on board. Regardless of what happens now, he’s done what was required in this period by reviving the club, lifting the mood and restoring some unity. He’s given Leeds United purpose again. And in seven games as manager, he’s done enough in my view to deserve the financial support he wants during the summer.  It should be clear to the board at Elland Road that this a manager they must back to the hilt. Give Warnock what he wants and he’ll make things happen. We’re talking about a safe bet. I read his comments about wage bills and transfer pots last week with great interest. It was classic Warnock and exactly what I like about him – never afraid to speak his mind or tackle delicate subjects. Never afraid to spell it out and say it like it is. He didn’t sound to me like a manager complaining about his budget. It sounded to me like a manager with a clear idea of what he wants to do, how he wants to do it and how much cash he needs to make the job work. Warnock’s plan will cost money, no doubt about that, but his CV shows he is good with money. When he starts to invest, I doubt you’ll see the same scatter-gun approach we saw at Leicester City last summer. And the fact remains that if Leeds are a Championship club next season, their squad needs a major revamp. Warnock has made the best of the players available to him, particularly defensively, but I don’t think the league table can disguise the reality of the season as a whole. I’ll be as delighted as anyone if the club win promotion but I’ll still be wondering how on earth it happened. This has been a very ordinary campaign filled with ordinary performances, and Warnock needs better than that. As much as he’ll respect the lads who are grafting for him at present, he’ll also know that some of them aren’t good enough. It’s often said that good players don’t become bad players overnight. Well average teams don’t become world-beaters overnight either.  We all realised long ago that changes were needed and Warnock seems to realise it too. Money is always a thorny issue at Leeds United. You can never have a conversation about the club without someone arguing that more should be spent on the team. understand both sides of the coin here. Leeds, as a club, don’t want to overspend or risk getting into debt. That’s completely sensible. But supporters look at the squad as it stands and feel deep down that they’re fortunate to be in the running for the play-offs.They want to see a better, more talented side and it’s the way of the world that better, more talented teams set you back a few quid. But if Leeds are heading back into the Championship next season then it’s in the club’s interests to give Warnock every penny he can afford. The job he did at Queens Park Rangers is the best example of why he ought to be backed. Warnock had a very decent budget at Loftus Road – not outrageous but very decent – and he used it brilliantly. That to me is absolutely key.  You judge a manager’s ability in the transfer market not by how much he spends but by how much he wastes. I look at Warnock’s signings in the Championship and see very few mistakes. There are countless success stories – Shaun Derry, Paddy Kenny, Adel Taarabt etc. The list goes on and on. In these situations, it all comes down to the wisdom of the gamble. Throwing a pot of gold at a rookie manager is a risk you could quite easily regret. Give someone like Warnock the necessary finance and his track record proves he’ll do the job you’ve asked of him. He’s more than earned that support.

Thurs 28th of March 2012.  Thanks to our friends in “The Square Ball” . This is taken from Yorkshire Radio’s interview with Leeds United owner Ken Bates today…‘Mr Chairman’ speaks to Ben Fry about the 7-3 defeat to Nottingham Forest and Saturday’s 1-0 win over Millwall. He talks about the play-offs and our chances of promotion this season. He looks ahead to the Watford match and the Derby game when Under-16s will get a free junior shirt with their ticket. He makes the claim that season ticket renewals are neck-and-neck with last season’s sales… they’re not, as explained here. He looks ahead to the summer and a possible pre-season tournament abroad. He makes a pitch for why all English football clubs’ academies should be for just English players, not Welsh, Irish, Scottish or foreign ones… maybe they should only have blond hair and blue eyes too? Finally, he talks about contenders for the England job, including Glenn Hoddle who he reckons applied for the Leeds job. Ben Fry: Chairman, first up, big result at the New Den and the team showed some real character bouncing back from midweek disappointment. Ken Bates: Well, midweek wasn’t a disappointment was it… it was a disaster and almost disbelief. On the other hand, I’ve been thinking on it… Manchester United 8 Arsenal 2, Manchester United 1 Man City 6… so this season it would seem to be the season of aberrational results. There’s nothing we can do about the Notts Forest game, we’ve just got to put it behind us and forget it and move on with our lives. But as you say, a great win at Millwall. Neil thought this was probably going to be one of the toughest games between now and the end of the season. You get very little from the New Den so it proved. Lonergan did well saving that penalty. At the end, we came away with three points. Four clean sheets in a row. If we’d had that kind of performance throughout the season we’d be walking away with the Championship today. BF: You touched on that, four clean sheets in a row away from home. The away form has been the real filler this season so far hasn’t it? KB: Well it’s very encouraging because we need it because the last three games are all above us; Reading, Blackpool and Cardiff. So not only must we play well but importantly, they’re all six pointers. They can really do our play-off hopes a great deal of good. BF: When you looked at the league table on Saturday night after the game against Millwall, did you have to look twice? I mean the way the results have fallen, it couldn’t be going any better for the Whites. There’s still every chance isn’t there? KB: This is most peculiar, just as it was a couple of season ago when it was. Nobody wants promotion. We do and we’ve got seven games left and still do it. Certainly get into the play-offs where that of course is anybody’s chance. But we’re very pleased. We’ve got four home games in the last seven and they’re all winnable. We could be the surprise dark horse coming through the pack. Let’s hope so. BF: I was just going to touch on that because every year there is somebody who almost comes from nowhere or makes a late charge and why not Leeds? KB: Why not, indeed. Neil and his merry men have galvanised the team. They are the same players, virtually, that he inherited from Simon Grayson and you wouldn’t recognise them, their play or the team’s performances. It’s just a tragedy perhaps that we didn’t make the change earlier. But on the other hand of course, Neil Warnock might not have been available earlier. So I suppose that’s swings and roundabouts. BF: It must have been a funny night last night because you wouldn’t have been watching results as anxiously as you were last night very often when Leeds are not involved. Yet again, everything sort of fell as well as it could. KB: Well, apart from West Ham who I was surprised they did as well as they did but Peterborough are very much a mix and match team aren’t they. But apart from that they all went for us. West Ham and Reading can fight it out for the automatic place but the other places are up for grabs. I don’t wish to be repetitious but there’s every chance we can do it. BF: Next up at home, it is Watford. I think people might be surprised to realised over the last six games they are second in the form table behind Southampton having taken 14 points from the last six games. So gonna be no easy task on Saturday. KB: I don’t know any easy task but not the other hand they are minus nine.. their goal difference is minus nine so who knows, it could be a high-scoring win. On the other hand, with Neil’s new tight defensive policy, it could be a comfortable win. But they are going to come up here wanting to finish on a high and carry on picking up their bonuses. It’ll be interesting. I’ve done my part; I’ve written my programme notes. BF: Obviously ahead of that game, the season ticket deadline is on Friday. Have you been pleased with renewals this year? KB: Yes we have because there were certain people who suggested that there should be some kind of boycott. That’s also become a damp squib. We’re running neck-and-neck with last year and it’s looking good. We’re very pleased. And of course it’s the last reminder to people who have not renewed that this is the last time for the reduced prices and of course you can still get your interest-free credit either on your Leeds United card or from Zebra Finance. BF: And of course, all the details on the 0% finance on the website LeedsUnited.com and you can call the ticket office for more information 08713341992. Now the next home game after Watford of course is Derby on Easter Monday. Now that is going to be a game called Generations United, encouraging more young fans to Elland Road. It’s a very nice initiative and fantastic to make sure the next generation of Leeds United fans are already in place. KB: Well… they are coming all the time anyway… we have over 2,000 junior season ticket holders already. We have a lot of junior members and of course we put a lot of functions on for them; the carol concert, the Christmas play and so on and so forth. There are special offers at Billy’s Bar on Sundays when they can meet a first-team player and do a tour. So we’re working hard on that and we intend to continue to expand our efforts in that direction. And of course youngsters who already have a season ticket, and of course they go into the draw for a signed shirt of the players on the day so once again, good fun, but more importantly come along early and enjoy it. BF: So Generations United for the Derby County game on Easter Monday. If a junior fan comes, they could get a junior shirt. If they are already a junior season ticket, then they could win a signed shirt from a member of the squad. Now one date for the diary, I know you’ll be pencilling this in. It’s the 2012/13 fixtures announced June 18th, season to start on August 18th. If the season was over on April 28th, it’s a long old summer this year isn’t it? KB: It is of course because of the Olympics but what we’re planning is extended pre-season friendlies both home and overseas. I think there’s one tournament on the horizon of which will be one for the fans to have an overseas holiday. So we’re planning a busy summer. We won’t be doing much at Elland Road because we’ve done it all. I think we’ll be laying plans for next season and particularly the youth for next season. We’ve a lot of good kids in the academy and some of them will be offered scholarships so they can play on a more permanent basis as part of the club. BF: Now some news away from Leeds but it could affect, like you mentioned, the academy there. The FA is to appoint a technical director and part of his role will be to oversee the new EPPP. Are you surprised they’re going down this road after not having one since 2002? KB: Well I think it’s very encouraging that the FA are now getting their act together. It’s one of the few good things that came out of the DCMS report. I have in fact read the full Football Authorities response to the DCMS inquiry and the subsequent response of the minister and I think they are looking at change in a measured way rather than slap-dash reactions, knee-jerk reactions which unfortunately the politicians is their response problems on the political scene. I think the FA, the Football League and Premier League are getting their act together. There is one thing I think was worthy of discussion. An awful lot of money is being spent by the FA and by the Premier League and obviously to a lesser extent by the Football League, in the FA academies. The object of the exercise which is to bring youngsters through for the England team. So it seems a nonsense that clubs are allowed to have in their academies, Welsh, Irish, Scottish and overseas kids. These academies are being funded to produce the next England team should be totally for English players. We shouldn’t be the breeding ground for Scottish, Welsh and Irish national teams, which to me seems quite ridiculous. BF: And of course while the FA are looking for a technical director, they are also searching for a manager as well. Are you surprised they haven’t got a man in place ahead of the Euros?  KB: Well, I’m not surprised at all because I think it’s a very difficult job to take and a very difficult job to do. It’s a big change from being a club manager when you have control over your players all the time, whereas as England manager you have to take other people’s players, all of which have a diversity of both training and coaching and fitness levels. So I think it’s a difficult job. I know there’s a big thing for Harry but I would advise Harry not to take the job. I think he would be foolish to do so because alright Daniel Levy might be a bit eccentric in some people’s eyes but he’s a big influence and Spurs are a big club and Harry’s got the freedom of the park. And it’s interesting to see some of the people who have thrown their hats in the ring. I see Glenn Hoddle has come back. Well he didn’t do too well with his faith-healing, psychic last time he was there and I’m not sure whether he wants the England job or he wants another job because his advisor put him forward for the Leeds job… I fell on the floor laughing at that one. But it’s a sort of rat-bag collection of assorts of names coming out of the woodwork. I don’t envy them making the right appointment because I can understand why they are delaying it because there aren’t many suitable candidates for the job. It’s a very hard job to do successfully. It’s a very hard job to do. I don’t envy them in that particular job. When I was on the FA I always shied away from international board and international committees. I was on it for about a month and went to one game in Malta where England B played Malta. I saw the performance of the preparations and I’m sure they have improved since then but I was just appalled. I resigned. BF: Well it will be interesting to see. Just to mark your card, Neil Warnock is 66/1. I’m sure he’ll be a lot shorter than that if he manages to get Leeds to the play-offs and the Premier League.

Thurs 28th  March 2012. Taken from a Millwall article on “News Shopper”. This guy is a prat. See what you think. LIONS columnist MATT LITTLE this week blasts the club for issuing a pre-match warning for Millwall fans to behave at last Saturday’s game with Leeds United. ONE of the greatest blunders you can commit as a teacher is to give a whole class detention. In fact, it is such a foolhardy thing to do it is actually banned by all schools. The reason being there will always be a number of students in that class that do not deserve to be lumped in with the misbehavers and such is children’s sense of right and wrong, they will never forgive you for it. All you will have achieved is to lose the goodwill of those nice students forever, which will make your job nigh on impossible. Therefore it was with horror I opened an email from my football club basically addressing me as a naughty child and explaining the way I am expected to act at a Millwall match when the delightful Leeds United are in town.This was not only insulting to all decent Millwall fans, but only served to give ammunition to loud mouths with very large soap boxes to have a pop at the club and its fans in the national media. It’s shameful the club basically teed us up for an easy cheap shot and that intelligent Millwall fans had to listen to that king of radio trolls Adrian Durham belittle us. Luckily we have developed quite a siege mentality over the years and I believe most Lions fans were, like me, actually quite pleased that this little club off the Old Kent Road had annoyed the likes of Durham and the Daily Mail so much. But that’s not the point. The fans are well versed in laughing off the slurs from the press, but getting it in the ear from the club itself is a very different matter. What on earth were Millwall playing at? There hasn’t been a punch thrown at a Millwall v Leeds match in years, so why the need to alert the press and write to fans about ‘behaving’? Oh yeah, I remember, a few Leeds fans were upset due to some Turkey flags being waved last year. Fair enough.But when the FA start fining Leeds, Manchester United and Liverpool for all their misdemeanours in this area, then I’ll sit up and pay a bit more attention to the Yorkshiremen’s whining. The club dealt with those fans last year and they were banned. They should have kept their mouths shut this season.Users of the Millwall message boards have long argued there is a determined effort by figures at the club to dilute the fan-base and to change the profile of Millwall. Is this all part of the master plan? The number of banning orders dished out for seemingly very little goes a way to supporting this. And now the patronising email to the hardcore supporter – they are in danger of losing the good will of even the most dye-in-the-wool Lions fans. Yet the chairman is asking us to ‘bring along a friend’. Not a chance, I like my friends. I would have to warn them that in exchange for the best part of £30 they will get in return a potential body search, a potential police caution for a range of things under ever shifting perimeters and a referee performance that if it isn’t incompetent and inconsistent, then it’s bare faced cheating that completely ruins the match. Oh, and if they want to come by train, then they will be talked to like a criminal at best or detained like one at worst. Millwall fans are treated like second class citizens at South Bermondsey station and it is putting many people off coming. I have seen us win only once in the 20 games I have attended this season, so things like being detained in a walkway for nearly an hour to get a train while away fans have the freedom of London town and patronising emails from the club are making it easier to stay at home. As for Leeds United – big club my backside. Every time we have beaten them it has been fair and square. Their disgraceful antics on Saturday when their players were rolling around, play acting, goading and time wasting were yet another stain on their club and made them look small-time.

Thurs 28th of March – Pre Season – Vital Football. Leeds United chairman Ken Bates says the club are planning to take part in an overseas tournament has part of their build up to the 2012/13 season. The season will kick off two weeks later than normal next season on August 18th because of the Olympics and Bates says they are planning on more games including a trip abroad. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Bates said, “What we are planning is to have extended pre-season friendlies both at home and overseas. “There is one tournament on the horizon, which is a way for our fans to have an overseas holiday.”Leeds were rumoured to be taking part in a three-team tournament last summer on the Algarve in Portugal, which eventually came to nothing. Last summer, Leeds played one game overseas with a trip to Norway for a game with Sandefjord in July. Tues 27th of March 2012. More points dropped by contenders. It was another good night for Leeds United without actually kicking a ball. M’bro took the lead at Ipswich Town but could only draw 1-1. Hull disappointingly lost 2-0 at Portsmouth. This time last week Forest were 7-3 up at Leeds, but they did us a favour by holding in form Leicester to a scoreless draw in the Midlands derby. WHU won 2-0 at Peterboro but they are not one of the sides we are chasing. Birmingham have still a game in hand but 4th, 5th and 6th placed teams are all catchable. United will have to finish a point ahead of all of the above because of their inferior goal difference due to shipping serious hidings at home to Blackpool, Birmingham and Forest.

Play off Scenario. The Football League have announced the play-off dates for this season`s championship. Leeds United are somehow just three points outside the play-off places after their win at Millwall on Saturday and they will be hoping to win at least five of their last seven games to have any chance of qualifying for the end of season lottery. The normal season finishes on April 28th with a home game against Leicester City and the first legs of the semi-finals will take place the following Thursday and Friday, May 3rd and 4th. The second legs will take place the following Monday and Tuesday, May 7th and 8th. The second leg of the tie between 4th and 5th place may take place on Wednesday May 9th and will be confirmed after the completion of the FA Cup semi-finals. *The only change to the fixtures will be if Brighton and Hove Albion finish third as they will play their first leg at home instead of away. Wembley will host the final on Saturday May 19th with a 3pm kick off.

Tues 27th. Playing for their future – Bromby. Leeds United defender Leigh Bromby says all the players are fighting for their futures under Neil Warnock at Elland Road. Bromby is contracted at Elland Road until the summer of 2013 but there are nine players with first team experience this season out of contract in the summer. The pair worked together at Sheffield United and Bromby is fully aware that the whole squad are playing for their futures at Elland Road in the final seven games of the season. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Bromby said, “The appointment of Neil has made the players fight even more. They are fighting for their future, not just this season. “Whatever league we are in next year, they will want to be in his plans and play for Leeds United and there is only one man making that decision so everyone has to try and impress Neil every week.” Darren O`Dea will return to Glasgow Celtic in the summer after a season long loan and Alex Bruce, Michael Brown, Aidan White, Lloyd Sam, Ben Parker, Mikael Forssell, Mika Vayrynen and Danny Webber are all out of contract having played in the first team this season.
Tues 27th of March 2012. O’Dea wants to stay – YEP. Darren O’Dea admits he is desperate to lay down some permanent roots and become a long-term fixture at Leeds United. The central defender, likely to leave parent club Celtic when his contract expires this summer, has had loan spells at three different Championship clubs over the past three seasons – United, Ipswich Town and Reading. O’Dea’s season-long loan at Leeds finishes at the end of the current 2011-12 campaign, with the Irish international having around a month left to convince boss Neil Warnock he has a place in his long-term plans. An untimely two-match ban following his tenth booking of the season in Saturday’s sweet 1-0 success at Millwall means that O’Dea potentially has just five more matches to win Warnock over. And the Dubliner, 25, who along with his defensive colleagues got back in Warnock’s good books with a steely show at Millwall, following on from a club record 7-3 home loss to Nottingham Forest, is under no illusions that the stakes are high for himself personally. O’Dea, who must frustratingly sit out the forthcoming games with Watford and Reading, said: “Obviously at the end of the season, I’ll be looking to move from Celtic.  “I suppose it’s down to me really (to earn a future at Leeds), but ultimately the manager to decide. “When I first signed for the club, it was just a case of getting quite small bits agreed, which didn’t happen. So I ended up coming on loan. “I’m certainly at the stage of my career now where I’ve got family and need to settle down and there’s no better place to be than Leeds. “The manager has had seven games in charge now and we’ve kept four clean sheets and besides last Tuesday, we’ve looked very solid and that’s down to everyone as a team. “I think the manager thought when he maybe first came in that he needed to overhaul the whole squad and I think maybe now he’s thinking that it just needs one or two tweaks. “We’ll wait and see where that leaves me as I don’t know…But obviously, I’d like to stay at a club like Leeds.” While O’Dea has copped an automatic two-match ban after his tenth yellow card of the campaign at the weekend, two other United players – skipper Robert Snodgrass and Adam Clayton – are also walking disciplinary tightropes. Both have been booked eight times already this term and if they are cautioned in United’s next two games, they along with O’Dea will serve costly two-match suspensions with the cut-off point for players who receive ten bookings being the second Sunday in April (April 8). Snodgrass was carded after only two minutes of the weekend win at Millwall following a late challenge on home defender Jack Smith

Monday 26th of March 2012. Eddie Gray – YEP. “IT was a terrific win at the New Den, which is such a tough place to go to. It’s certainly livened everybody up again after the Nottingham Forest game and it puts us right back in the play-off picture. I thought we did really well at a ground which is traditionally a hard place for us to go. It wasn’t a great football match, especially in the first half, but it was a bit more exciting in the second half with goalmouth incidents. In some games, you get a little bit of fortune and Andy Lonergan made a great save from the penalty kick and soon after, Millwall hit the crossbar. But all in all, it was a great result for us and performance. I don’t think we played great, but it was a battling performance – that was the main thing. All the players worked really hard and Neil said after the game that the effort and commitment they gave him was first-class. As a manager, that’s all you can ask for. Looking at the game, it was hard to pinpoint anyone who played terrifically well. It wasn’t that type of game, while the pitch was bad and it was hard for players to control the ball. I just felt we always had that little bit of extra quality, coming from either Ross McCormack or Robert Snodgrass. Fair play to Adam Clayton as well; it was a great ball he hit to Robert to set up Ross’ goal when he broke out. I said at half-time that I just thought our quality would get us one chance. Although to be fair, Millwall did have a few chances and a couple of shouts for penalties that looked very reasonable. I’ve got to admit when James Henry got booked (for simulation), I thought it was a penalty following the challenge from Darren O’Dea. It looked a stonewall penalty for me, although I’ve not seen the replay. With the penalty Millwall did get, you are glad the referee gave it now because Harry Kane stuck away the ball just after he blew. That went in our favour. Millwall will probably look at the game and think they were unlucky not to get something out of it. And that’s probably right. But for us, we’ve just got to pick things up from here. I’ve been looking at some of the fixtures this week and even some of the teams with games in hand on us have tough games, so you just never know what is going to happen. A lot of teams will be thinking the same way. I notice Leicester are playing Forest in midweek and if they win, they go above us. And I still think Leicester will have a say in the run-in, in terms of whether they get in the top six or not. I think if they play any of the top-six sides, they could upset them and they also have to come to Elland Road. Obviously, the sides currently in the top six are in pole position and still have to be caught. But there are some interesting fixtures; Middlesbrough have to go to Ipswich this week – their game in hand – and then Brighton next Saturday. There are that many teams in and around the top six and a few are bound to play each other between now and the end of the season. So teams can slip up. Although the way we’ve been playing, we can slip up as well! We’ve only got nine points out of seven games but, fortunately, a lot of teams at the top end of the table also aren’t getting results. The thing that is in our favour – apart from the Forest game obviously – is that generally we are looking solid and that’s a good thing. Next Saturday, we will play a Watford side who are resurgent and only three points behind us and they were down the bottom of the league not so long back. They are unbeaten in about six games and had a good win against an Ipswich team who are going well at the weekend. So we’ve got to be on our toes. We can’t get carried away and the players must approach this game like we did the West Ham and Millwall games. As we all know what happened after the West Ham game when some people seemed to think ‘Well, we’ll beat Forest’ and then we got turned over. So the concentration level for the Watford game has got to be spot on. What happened at Watford earlier this season should be a lesson to us because they played us off the park really and missed a penalty to go 2-0 up with two minutes to go and let us back in the game at the end”.

Mon Mar 26th. Lions take action over flag. Millwall have banned an individual for 10 years after he was caught waving a Turkish flag at Leeds fans during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to the Yorkshire club. The flag was aimed to incite Leeds supporters over the deaths of fans Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight, who were stabbed in Istanbul before the Uefa Cup semi-final against Galatasaray in 2000. Club spokesman Deano Standing said: “The man concerned was apprehended after the match and is not welcome at our club for an entire decade. He has been banned. “We worked so hard with Leeds to make sure this game passed off without trouble and it did — but the club does not condone the behaviour of a minority of the crowd. “It is disappointing this person got into the stadium with the flag as there were checks in place. There is no place for that kind of thing at The Den.”

I’ve been asked to post this for a very good cause. “Stamullen Soccer Academy proudly presents AN EVENING WITH JOHN GILES(Leeds legend), taking place this Friday the 30th March at The City North Hotel Gormanston CO Meath. John has kindly donated his time, along with Darragh Maloney(RTE), to support our fundraising night. John will be sharing memories of his career with a question and answer session that Darragh will be facilitating. Tickets are only 15Euro, this includes entry, finger food, late bar with DJ. Its going to be a fantastic night & an absolute must for all Leeds Utd fans, I’m sure you’ll agree.  Should any of your members be interested in attending they can log onto our website, www.stamullensocceracademy.ie or Call Dee on 085-1857093.” 

Sun 25th of March. Next round of Fixtures affecting promotion. Tuesday 27th March 2012 npower Championship – Ipswich  V  Middlesbrough, Leicester  V Nottm Forest, Peterborough  V West Ham, Portsmouth  V Hull.  Friday 30th March 2012 Doncaster  V Birmingham.  Saturday 31st March 2012 Cardiff  V Millwall. Brighton  V Middlesbrough, Hull  V Coventry, Leeds United  V Watford, Peterborough  V Leicester, West Ham  V Reading, Blackpool  V Southampton.  Tuesday 3rd April 2012 Burnley  V Birmingham,  Friday 6th April 2012 Reading  V Leeds United, Burnley V Brighton, Watford  V Blackpool, Barnsley  V West Ham.  Saturday 7th April 2012 Southampton  V  Portsmouth, Birmingham  V Crystal Palace,  Leicester  V Doncaster, Middlesbrough  V  Cardiff, Millwall  V  Hull

Keogh v Brown

Sat 24th 2012. Report on Leeds game from a Millwall fan. Neil Warnock’s men ran out 1-0 winners at the Den in controversial fashion, following their 7-3 thrashing at home to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night. Millwall had won the last four meetings between the sides at the Den but Leeds ended that run with a narrow win. The Lions have picked up only one point out of their last 24 available at home, as they extended their disappointing run at home to eight without a win. Millwall fans were left frustrated at the officials, not for the first time in recent weeks, as referee Lee Probert was at the centre of many key decisions throughout the match. With only a few minutes on the clock, Leeds’ Robert Snodgrass went in hard on Jack Smith but referee Probert only showed him a yellow as the home support felt he should’ve seen red. There were very few chances for both sides in the first period as Harry Kane went close with a header which was held by Andy Lonergan. Shortly after another headed chance for the home side came as Darius Henderson’s looping header ballooned over. At the other end, Adam Clayton saw his headed chance drift wide of the target following a Snodgrass corner. Millwall threatened again soon after as Kane and Henderson combined but the latter saw his left-footed strike saved at the near post by Lonergan. The visitors hardly tested Maik Taylor in the Millwall goal, who is on-loan from Leeds and was given permission to play in this game. However, three minutes into the second half Taylor was called into action to produce a fine routine save from Ross McCormack. The next 10 minutes saw referee Probert turn down two stonewall penalty appeals from the Lions. The first, a challenge from Darren O’Dea on James Henry in the area. The referee immediately gave a free-kick to Leeds and showed Henry the yellow card for diving, when replay evidence showed that Henry was blatantly brought down by O’Dea’s out-stretched leg. Millwall saw another penalty appeal turnt down just three minutes later as Henry was at the centre of things once again. As he moved into the box, the ball struck the hand of Alex Bruce on the line with Henderson waiting to capitalise. The home crowd couldn’t believe what they’d witnessed as the officials said no penalty. Once again, evidence showed that Bruce clearly handled the ball to prevent Millwall from scoring. To make matters worse, Leeds opened the scoring not long after on 65 minutes. The visitors countered following a poor Millwall set-piece. Snodgrass turned the defence and knocked the ball into McCormack, who tapped it home from just a few yards out. 60 seconds later and the home side were finally awarded a penalty, but there was controversy surrounding this one too. As Andy Keogh found his way past the Leeds backline he was brought down on the edge of the area. Kane picked the ball up and curled it into the far corner, however the referee had already pointed to the spot. Leeds players protested, arguing that Keogh wasn’t even in the area when fouled. Kane’s goal didn’t stand, but Millwall had their penalty. Henderson stepped up looking for his 20th goal of the season, however Lonergan guessed right and palmed away the spot-kick. Moments later and Millwall almost found an equaliser as skipper Paul Robinson saw his thumping header smack against the crossbar. The home side continued to throw everything at the Leeds defence but they couldn’t find that elusive goal. With just 7 games remaining, the Lions find themselves just 5 points above the drop zone. With some tricky games coming up, things aren’t going to get much easier. It starts next Saturday, as Kenny Jackett’s men make the long trip up to Cardiff.

Warnock and Jackett

Sat 24th.  Sat 24th. Millwall 0-2 Leeds United. . Report from Daily Mail. Neil Warnock says his side are playing for their futures ahead of a potential promotion push next season, but they are still not completely out of the picture this term. McCormack struck from close range for his first goal in eight matches and Lonergan secured the points when he kept out Darius Henderson’s spot-kick. Matches between these two sides are rarely easy on the eye and this was no exception amid a hostile atmosphere created by two sets of fans with a distinct dislike of each other. Robert Snodgrass set the tone for a tetchy affair in the opening seconds with a fierce challenge which left Jack Smith in a heap on the touchline, earning the Leeds skipper a booking. The players went on to keep referee Lee Probert busy, with Andy Keogh and Darren O’Dea booked for one heated debate and Adam Clayton and Jimmy Abdou indulging in a spot of wrestling on the floor which went unpunished. Harry Kane and Henderson went closest for Millwall in a forgettable first half, while McCormack was offside when he found the back of the Lions’ net. But Leeds improved after the break and a clever flick from Luciano Becchio put McCormack through, only for the striker to shoot too close to Lions keeper Maik Taylor. Millwall were howling for penalty when James Henry tried to skip past McCormack and hit the deck, but instead Probert booked the winger for a dive. Moments later Henry almost capitalised on a weak back header from Leeds’ Paul Robinson but the visitors smuggled the ball away. Leeds finally made the breakthrough in the 65th minute when Snodgrass raided down the right and crossed for McCormack to bundle the ball over the line. Millwall were thrown a lifeline moments later when Alex Bruce felled Keogh inside the area. Kane fired the loose ball into the net but Probert had already pointed to the spot, and Henderson’s spot-kick was superbly turned away by Lonergan. Millwall are still without a home win this year but skipper Paul Robinson had a late chance to snatch a point, only for his header to come back off the crossbar. Neil Warnock : “I said to them before the  game I  want you coming off pitch knowing that you  couldn’t  give anymore.  You have fans up there who are unbelievable and will back you to the end.  I said we are not going to get any tougher physical game all season.  I felt that young Tom Lees was under par against Forest so I didn’t want him to suffer because of that, so  I decided to kill two birds with the one stone by playing Tom at right  back and have a look at Bruce in the centre.  They both did well. I said to them at half time we needed to play a bit more football  in the second half. ( Re penalty)  I would have given it. They’ve had to or three different shouts. His foot’s there and you  can’t blame Kehoe  for going down. I said to Lonergan he had a nightmare the other night but that’s the way to stand up.  A super finish from Snods cross for Ross. We prepared them correctly. We had to compete or you get turned over here. I don’t get carried away (re play offs) . We need a break. The forest game came too soon after WHU. Millwall boss Kenny Jackett felt the officials were extremely unfair on his side :”There were some big decisions and a lot of taking points but I have to be very careful in my position because my comments can get me into trouble,” Jackett told the club’s official website. “There’s nothing I can do it about it now. People will make their own assessments of the key incidents. It’s something I have to swallow and move on from. “It wasn’t a bad performance and it wasn’t a losing performance. We showed a lot of heart and a lot of spirit. At times we could have been more efficient, but it’s tough on the pitch that we have to keep hold of the ball and create clear-cut chances. “The crowd were really passionate and got right behind the players. They were fantastic for us and backed us all the way, which was great for the players. “We have a vital seven games ahead of us and we must make sure we keep up that level of commitment and we don’t lose heart or any confidence. We have to use what happened today as inspiration to come back”.  Will the real Leeds United please step forward ? Millwall have a shocking home record. They’ve drawn two and lost five of their last seven games at home. Having said that Leeds haven’t won there in their last four outings so one has to give credit where it’s due. We are deplorable against Forest, absolutely muck. The manager must take plenty of blame purely for the simple reason that we have never shipped seven goals before at home. If it was Simon Grayson he would have been hung, drawn  and quartered. Today Colin takes credit from a sluggish but solid performance. We rode our luck several times and the home side were unfortunate not to at least gain a draw. As the Keogh penalty was being awarded, Henderson fired into the net. Leeds had a further stroke of luck when Robinson headed against the crossbar with five minutes remaining.  We are still amazingly three points off the play offs. I’m sick to the back teeth of hearing about planning for next season. Whilst we still have a chance of getting in that top six, Leeds United owe us the fans every ounce of blood and sweat to try and get there. Leicester are coming like a train behind us. I don’t see them giving up. The only thing consistent thing about this Championship is the inconsistency of every side below the top two. We know we are poor, but so are Brighton, Birmingham, Cardiff, Blackpool, Hull and M’bro. We can’t buy a win at home, but Watford, Peterbro and Derby come to Elland Road in the next three weeks, sandwiched in between a difficult trip to Reading. Nine points must be a priority from these four matches. If we are being  honest most would concede that they would have have expected Colin to have delivered a lot more points than he has (9 from 21) but we are still in there with a shout, despite our erratic form. And guess what, apart from the Saints, Reading and possibly Leicester City, every other side is showing erratic form also. Oh for a Maxie Gradel, Jonny Howson and Davide Somme for the run in, but I forgot our chairman sold two of them. On one last point, Andy Lonergan has received a lot of criticism on this forum, and rightly so. He said after the Forest cave in that the Millwall game would be the biggest of his career. We kept all three points thanks to his terrific penalty save. As Andy Gray would say, take a bow my son. If we can sort out our home form against average sides, we have a chance.

Friday 23rd of March 2012. Colin on Montgomery and on Millwall. NEIL WARNOCK admits Leeds United did consider a move for Nick Montgomery before the Sheffield United midfielder joined Millwall on loan. The 30-year-old has been constantly linked with a transfer to his home-town club in recent years and the speculation reared its head again following the appointment of former Blades manager Warnock in February. Instead, Montgomery joined Millwall until the end of the season and he will today come face-to-face with his old manager at The Den as Leeds look to bounce back from the midweek 7-3 humbling by Nottingham Forest. Warnock said: “Millwall have taken Monty from Sheffield United on loan. I thought about bringing him in. But I thought Adam Clayton and Michael Brown had done really well up until the other night (against Forest). “And even the other night, I thought Browny was our best player. I didn’t want to disturb things.” Forest inflicting Leeds’s heaviest home defeat in their history means Warnock is demanding a reaction from his players in the intimidating atmosphere of The Den.  The United manager added: “We haven’t played the (Forest) game (on DVD) but the goals were important. We went back to being individuals rather than being a team, and against Doncaster we were quite like that. “If we don’t play as a team then we won’t be a team, it is as simple as that. Whilst it was embarrassing to concede the goals, I’d rather do it now and learn about the lads. “Especially this weekend when we play at Millwall. I will learn even more about my players down there. “The other place (the Old Den) was full of atmosphere. It was special. Bloody hell, I remember stood near-post when I was at Chesterfield. The ball came in, I was going to head it out and I woke up in hospital. “It was a guy called Alf Wood. He was one of their famous players, he just did me in the back. I can’t remember anything else about it. “I don’t kid myself how difficult it is going to be. They have got (Darius) Henderson and (Andy) Keogh up front. We all know what Keogh is like and Henderson is as physical as anyone in the league. “And at the back, Millwall are a solid unit. They don’t mess about.”

Friday March 23rd. Colin on the players. Neil Warnock : “I don`t think we`ve got enough tools in the cupboard at the moment, without being cruel. “I`d think there would be quite a lot of changes over the next few months. That`s how I see it from a distance. The whole club has to do that together – the chairman, the staff, everyone. We all need to pull together.”I`ve got three or four players I`d like to bring in in the summer already and it`s just a matter of getting a wage bill that`s sustainable and which the chairman agrees with that we can use to bring some players in and put some transfer money as well in the kitty. “I`ve told Shaun and the chairman what I think I would need to get promotion next year. The chairman and Shaun are quite clear in their minds that they`re going to try and provide that for me. It`s the only chance we`ve got.” Warnock has only signed a contract with Leeds until the end of next season, by which time he will be 64 and he says he does not want to be wasting his time. “I don`t want to waste a year of anybody`s time. I haven`t got a year. Everything`s been positive in our talks,” added Warnock. The Leeds boss is hoping to Lead Leeds to promotion to break the record for most promotions by any manager in the Football League. He is already the joint holder with Graham Taylor and Dave Bassett, who all have seven promotions each and he is the only one of the three currently in management. Leeds have eleven players out of contract in the summer, including Aidy White, Michael Brown, Danny Webber, Mikael Forssell and Alex Bruce who have all played for Warnock since his arrival at the club.

Somma

Friday March 23rd. 2012. Somma out again. Leeds United striker Davide Somma is in danger of missing the start of pre-season after a fresh bout of surgery.The South African international has undergone another knee operation and faces a battle to be fully fit for the opening day of the 2012-13 term. Somma suffered cruciate ligament damage during the early stages of last year’s pre-season schedule and has not been available since. United manager Neil Warnock admitted recently that he did not expect Somma to play any part in the closing weeks of the term, and the forward’s latest setback has consigned him to a second spell of rehabilitation. Leeds say there is no fixed timescale for Somma’s comeback, with pre-season training likely to begin in early JulyThe 26-year-old was expected to play a prominent role in the current Championship term having scored 12 times and earned a new three-year contract at Elland Road last season. The campaign also saw him emerge at international level, making his debut for South Africa in November 2010 during a friendly against the USA. But he was injured in a behind-closed-doors friendly staged at Thorp Arch in July and has been working his way towards fitness for the past eight months. At the time of his original operation, former manager Simon Grayson warned of a long road ahead, saying Somma was “looking at a timescale of months”. The extended absence of a proven goalscorer has weakened the strength of a squad which Warnock described this week as “thin on the ground”, but the United boss hopes to see his defensive options increase in the final weeks of the season. Alex Bruce and Leigh Bromby – both of whom have been nursing muscle strains for the past month – could resume full training at Thorp Arch next week, and Andy O’Brien is also close to a comeback having featured in a behind-closed-doors game against Bradford City on Wednesday afternoon. O’Brien is waiting for his career with Leeds to begin in earnest again following a spell of treatment for depression. He has not be named in a matchday squad since his unexpected appearance as a substitute at Coventry City on February 14, and Warnock is waiting for the centre-back to step up his fitness before giving him an opportunity. Without him, Bruce and Bromby, United’s manager has employed a centre-back pairing of Darren O’Dea and Tom Lees, but Warnock plans to experiment with his line-up before the end of the season if Leeds are finally ruled out of contention for the Championship play-offs. The club sat six points adrift of the play-off zone ahead of today’s meeting with Millwall. Warnock said: “Bruce and Bromby to some extent will join in next week. “Andy O’Brien had half a game too, so those three will continue to come into the reckoning over the next two or three weeks.”

Friday 23rd of March. Colin looks to the fans. YEP. Neil Warnock says the fervour of Leeds United’s fanbase is “keeping us going” as he plots his strategy for winning promotion at Elland Road. Warnock believes the size and consistency of United’s support will provide the basis for a return to the Premier League ahead of a summer of sweeping changes. The United manager revealed yesterday that he is planning to overhaul his squad if promotion eludes the club this season, and discussions about United’s transfer budget have already taken place between Warnock, chairman Ken Bates and chief executive Shaun Harvey. Warnock’s opinion of the existing squad was revealed by his admission that Leeds don’t have “enough tools in the cupboard” but he paid tribute to the backing given to him since his appointment as manager in late February. United’s supporters met his demand for a crowd of 30,000 at last weekend’s clash with West Ham United and were forced to endure a 7-3 loss to Nottingham Forest at Elland Road – the heaviest home defeat in the club’s history. Warnock said: “I can’t ask the crowd to do any more. They’ve done as well as they can. “I asked for 30,000 (against West Ham) and we got 33,000. They got behind us against Forest the other night but they can’t prevent goals going in like the ones we conceded. “I’ve got to bring something that can lift the crowd regularly because the one consistent thing about this club is the crowd. “The greatest thing about the club is the crowd, the backing and the support. You can’t change that. “It’s one aspect which most football clubs can’t even get to. I can say to you ‘if we do well, we might get 35,000’. How many other clubs could say that? Not many. That’s the plus that keeps us going.”With Warnock promising a major rethink in the summer, top scorer Ross McCormack has indicated that he wants to be part of United’s plans next season. The striker is one of a number of key players who will enter the final year of their contracts in July, along with captain Robert Snodgrass and midfielder Adam Clayton. Warnock is understood to have opened contract negotiations with certain squad members, Clayton included, and he intends to clarify the future of every prized asset before the end of this season. McCormack said: “There’s players coming out of contract and there’s players who are going to run into their last year so every player is playing for themselves and for the club. “If you get Leeds United promoted you’re going to be a bit of a hero in these parts and it’s something everyone wants to do”.

Friday 23d of March 2012. Paul Martin Blog (Paul attended the Forest match) This is my first contribution in a quite a while and a lot has happened at Elland Road since my last post. I was disappointed when Grayson got sacked as he was a Leeds fan like the rest of us, and I know Gerry you have a soft spot for Larry, he took Leeds as far as he could in my opinion. Leeds sold a few of their better players particularly in the last twelve months and replaced them with free transfers and loanees with no quality, in other words he piled more shit on top of the pile of shite he already had at the club and they were all his signings. In the three years he was at the club he never sorted out our defence, we could score goals but couldn’t stop the opposition from scoring them either and it was no surprise he got the boot with some of the hammerings his teams took in the last couple of years (ill speak about Forest later). I was delighted when Neil Warnock came in, someone with a track record of getting teams out of the championship.In his first five games he made Leeds hard to beat 3 clean sheets a 1 nil defeat and a 1 all draw, for the first time in a good while I was happy that we seemed solid at the back. So on tuesday last when myself, Padna and Gerldine sat into our seats in the west stand I was fairly confident of a home win going on the previous 5 games and how solid we looked,we couldnt have expected 10 goals over the next 90mins. Forest took the game to Leeds from the off they hit the post in their first attack, when Leeds scored from the spot I thought Forest would roll over, but for the next 48mins only one team looked like scoring and it wasn’t Leeds. Forest scored three and one was a cracker, it woke Leeds up and inside 4mins we were level ,you would have thought we would win from there but on their next attack Forest were in front again and the rest is history.By the way that big fat bas—-d Andy Reid as the Leeds fans called him ran the show for Forest he must have set up four of their goals and tore the Leeds defence apart. If Warnock can get us into the play offs after that it will be the biggest miracle since the Loaves and Fishes.After tuesday I would be surprised if he keeps more than five of that team in the squad for next season ( Lonergan, Lees Clayton Mc Cormack, Becchio), Snodgrass and White will leave.Their is a lot of shit to be cleared to make way for new players, but only time will tell and it should make for an interesting summer.Even though were not completely out of the play off picture I think Warnock should look at a few of the younger players, Rodgers and one or two others with a view to next season. Sometime soon I hope I can write something positive but until then Gerry keep believing. Once again thanks to Paul for his thoughts and first hand communication re Notts Forest side. Personally, I don’t see any progress on the points board since Colin arrived and a 3-7 slaughtering at home to a side in the bottom four of the Championship does little to inspire confidence. He admits he made mistakes against Forest but as of yet I have not seen the tactical improvements that our chairman has promised. Still, let’s see if we can turn the corner at the Den.

Weds 21st of March 2012.The morning after the night before. Surely it was only a bad dream ? Simon Grayson, the king of non-defending Leeds has left weeks ago or did he sneek in last night by the side entrance and usher non descript instructions to our “new sound” back four. What was it that our all knowing Chairman has said :“We have a steady back four and all great teams are built from the back. We’ve turned a corner, the players are happier, they’re buzzing in training, tactically we’re organised better, I don’t know what the previous manager was doing” etc etc etc. We can’t claim that Colin has changed things dramatically at Elland Road and yet blame Simon Grayson for last night’s 3-7 defeat at home to a side in the bottom four of the Championship because they were his signings. A cynical man could say that Grayson’s Leeds defeated Forest 4-0 in late November. You can’t ride two horses at the same time. A cynical man could claim that our new manager has earned six points from the eighteen available. A cynical man could say that Simon Grayson earned seven points from his last eighteen available. Our learned scholar from Emyvale in the Kingdom of Monaghan has claimed that we have had absolutely no boost where it matters, since Colin has come in. He is talking about the points board. In fairness Leeds should have beaten Soton, but they didn’t. They should have lost to Hull but they didn’t. They drew fairly with both WHU and Portsmouth with a defensive error costing us two extra points against the Hammers. We murdered M’bro. But last night was disgraceful, embarrassing and bewildering. No Leeds side has ever surrendered seven goals at Elland Road. No doubt Ken Bates will blame that on the current Huddersfield manager also. For the record, I have a lot of time for Colin, but I won’t give him a blank cheque of faith until I see an improvement. I thought he spoke really well after the match last night and refused to blame the players. This was a lesson that Larry failed to learn late in his Elland Road career. You can’t build a team on loan signings, a map route planned by our chairman to “get quality players in” without the risk of buying them and throwing in a few coins to subsidise the wages. Warnock admitted last night that he picked the wrong side against a fresher Forest team that hadn’t played in eight days. Becchio, Brown, and Clayton were passengers and once again Lonergan didn’t sparkle in nets. O’Dea, Lees, Connolly and Robinson were all poor. Colin says you learn more about the players on nights like this and you “store it”. Blackpool could only draw with Leicester this evening and Cardiff drew 2-2 at home to lowly Coventry City. Colin refuses to strengthen unless he can have players for the long term. He won’t put up with some of the things Larry suffered with, ie not attaining a penny of the Gradel and Howson departure money. Oh for a fit Jonny Howson last night. Warnock is a shrewd man and whilst I write off the rest of the season I’ll be scanning the arrivals and departures at Thorp Arch during the close season. Colin has hiswork cut out and he needs funds, and by that I mean the £3M to £5M to bring in his own players and get rid of the ones he doesn’t want. I’ll give the new manager much needed time and see where we are around mid October. In the meantime let’s try and lift our heads and beat Millwall at the Den, something we haven’t done since Adam was a child. Oh and if you are looking for inspiration, look no further than Old Trafford when the Red Devils were defeated 1-6 by their City neighbours.

Hammering

Weds 21st of March 2012.The morning after the night before. Surely it was only a bad dream ? Simon Grayson, the king of non-defending Leeds has left weeks ago or did he sneek in last night by the side entrance and usher non descript instructions to our “new sound” back four. What was it that our all knowing Chairman has said : We have a steady back four and all great teams are built from the back. We’ve turned a corner, the players are happier, they’re buzzing in training, tactically we’re organised better, I don’t know what the previous manager was doing” etc etc etc. We can’t claim that Colin has changed things dramatically at Elland Road and yet blame Simon Grayson for last night’s 3-7 defeat at home to a side in the bottom four of the Championship because they were his signings. A cynical man could say that Grayson’s Leeds defeated Forest 4-0 in late November. You can’t ride two horses at the same time.  A cynical man could claim that our new manager has earned six points from the eighteen available. A cynical man could say that Simon Grayson earned seven points from his last eighteen available. Our learned scholar from Emyvale in the Kingdom of Monaghan has claimed that we have had absolutely no boost where it matters, since Colin has come in. He is talking about the points board. In fairness Leeds should have beaten Soton, but they didn’t. They should have lost to Hull but they didn’t. They drew fairly with both WHU and Portsmouth with a defensive error costing us two extra points against the Hammers. We murdered M’bro. But last night was disgraceful, embarrassing and bewildering. No Leeds side has ever surrendered seven goals at Elland Road. No doubt Ken Bates will blame that on the current Huddersfield manager also. For the record, I have a lot of time for Colin, but I won’t give him a blank cheque of faith until I see an improvement. I thought he spoke really well after the match last night  and refused to blame the players. This was a lesson that Larry failed to learn late in his Elland Road career. You can’t build a team on loan signings, a map route planned by our chairman to “get quality players in” without the risk of buying them and throwing in a few coins to subsidise the wages. Warnock admitted last night that he picked the wrong side against a fresher Forest team that hadn’t played in eight days. Becchio, Brown, and Clayton were passengers and once again Lonergan didn’t sparkle in nets. O’Dea, Lees, Connolly and Robinson were all poor. Colin says you learn more about the players on nights like this and you “store it”. Blackpool could only draw with Leicester this evening and Cardiff drew 2-2 at home to lowly Coventry City. Colin refuses to strengthen unless he can have players for the long term. He won’t put up with some of the things Larry suffered with, ie not attaining a penny of the Gradel and Howson departure money. Oh for a fit Jonny Howson last night. Warnock is a shrewd man and whilst I write off the rest of the season I’ll be scanning the arrivals and departures at Thorp Arch during the close season. Colin has hiswork cut out and he needs funds, and by that I mean the £3M to £5M to bring in his own players and get rid of the ones he doesn’t want. I’ll give the new manager much needed time and see where we are around mid October. In the meantime let’s try and lift our heads and beat Millwall at the Den, something we haven’t done since Adam was a child. Oh and if you are looking for inspiration, look no further than Old Trafford when the Red Devils were defeated 1-6 by their City neighbours and I’m not a cynical man.

Don’t look like a team about to get stuffed 3-7 at home

Tues March 20th. Leeds 3-7 N Forest.  01 Lonergan, 02 Connolly 22 Lees 28 White (Webber – 46′ ) 33 Robinson Booked (Pugh – 66′ ) 48 O’Dea 08 Brown 15 Clayton 10 Becchio 23 (Paynter 80)  Snodgrass 44 McCormack Unused – Thompson, Forrsell. Report from Vital Football.  Leeds United`s play-off hopes look to be well and truly over after a shocking 7-3 defeat at home to Nottingham Forest. Things looked good for Leeds early on when Robert Snodgrass put Leeds ahead but it all went downhill after that. Garath McCleary netted four times for Forest and Dexter Blackstock twice has Forest eased their relegation worries. Forest had a great start in the opening moments of the game when Dexter Blackstock fired wide after a good ball into the middle by Chris Gunter. Leeds were awarded a penalty inside five minutes when Ross McCormack was brought down by Adlene Guedioura. Robert Snodgrass stepped up to beat Lee Camp and score his thirteenth goal of the season. Forest were level minutes later when Guedioura who was guilty of the trip on McCormack for the penalty minutes earlier gave Andy Lonergan no chance with a bullet of a shot from 35 yards. The game then calmed down after a frantic first ten minutes. Andy Reid had a chance for the visitors but he hit his shot straight at Lonergan. Forest were looking the better side and Reid had another effort deflected wide for a corner. McCleary had a couple of half chances for Forest but failed to hit the target with either has Leeds struggled to get into the game. Leeds had a rare attack and McCormack saw his shot beaten out for a corner by Camp. Aidy White then had an effort that took a deflection and went out for another Leeds corner. Forest took the lead in stoppage time when McCleary when past Michael Brown and his shot beat Lonergan. The half time whistle followed soon afterwards with the visitors deservedly in the lead. Leeds boss Neil Warnock made a change at half time with Danny Webber replacing Aidy White. Forest increased their lead early in the second half when Blackstock headed home a cross from Reid. Leeds were quickly back into the game when Snodgrass set up Luciano Becchio to fire home. Michael Brown put Leeds level minutes later to make it 3-3 with a cracking goal from the edge of the area. McCleary then scored a fourth goal in five minutes to put Forest back ahead with a great strike from a tight angle. McCleary then completed his hat trick to score a fifth for Forest when he was picked out by Reid to tap home. His goal was the fifth in nine minutes all before the hour mark. Snodgrass then tested Camp in the Forest goal who tipped the ball out for a corner. From the corner, Webber headed over as Leeds tried to find a way back into the game. McCleary then scored his fourth of the evening as he cut inside Danny Pugh with ease before firing past Lonergan. Blackstock netted his second of the night for Forest to make it 7-3, the first time in the clubs history that Leeds had conceded seven at home. It was the final goal of a truly embarrassing home defeat for Leeds.  Neil Warnock to Eddie Gray on YR : “I am shell shocked. I thought after 15 minutes some of our main players were struggling and I think there were three or four like that. Becks really wasn’t fit. (Re Result and performance) But you have to learn that because you only learn in these games. It’s not for me to criticise the players  tonight. We get back to 3-3 and I thought we could win it. I think we have to keep things inside tonight (meaning not criticising the players in public). They were like Sunday league goals. To get back to 3-3 when we had the momentum and to concede a goal like that from the penalty  spot after a corner.  It’s not a night to give them a rollicking. I thought one or two went all night like Snods and McCormack. Clayton was injured but I was disappointed with some of them. You look at what happened tonight and store it. One or two went missing. It’s ironic the bloody results went our way.  I think I have to give one or two people an opportunity but I’m short of bodies. To concede the fourth like that it’s like shooting yourself in the foot”. The first time Leeds conceded seven goals at Elland Road and 20th placed Notts Forest have well and truly avenged the 4-0 defeat to Leeds back in late November. In the second half the Kop sang to Colin : “Are you Larry in disguise ?”  Elsewhere, Reading lost at Peterboro, Postmouth beat Birmingham City, Brighton won at home to Derby, M’bro drew at WHU, and Hull lost at home to the Saints.

March 20th. Colin on Lees and O’Dea. – YEP Tom Lees may have been singled out for criticism following West Ham’s last-gasp weekend leveller by his gaffer, but Neil Warnock insists the centre-back is a young man seriously going places. After learning his trade via character-building season-long loans at first Accrington Stanley and then Bury, the defender was thrown in at the Championship deep end at the start of the season by former boss Simon Grayson and has managed to more than hold his own ever since. Lees, who turned 21 in November, has come a long way fast and can be forgiven for the odd ‘bump in the road’ defensively, as befits his rookie status, and knows it’s all a question of learning from any mistakes. The Warwick-born defender, whose value to Bury’s promotion cause was underlined by him claiming the Shakers’ players’ player of the year award at Gigg Lane last term, seems to have plenty already in his defensive armoury. Pace, awareness, heading and tackling ability and while Warnock may have been critical of his failure to deal with Hammers’ goal-scorer Danny Collins at source following Mark Noble’s stoppage-time corner on Saturday, it was a rare aberration from Lees. His manager has likened the aspiring Leeds United defender to a young Phil Jagielka. Praise indeed. After January’s draw at Crystal Palace, Lees’ attention to detail and willingness to learn from his mistakes in order to become a better all-round player was seen at the final whistle when he was in earnest discussion with ex-Whites assistant boss Ian Miller – after switching off for a split second ahead of Palace’s opener. Being your own harshest critic is no bad thing in a young player and Warnock admits the form of Lees in the opening month of his tenure, alongside fellow centre-back Darren O’Dea, has been a “massive plus” and admits both have already surpassed his expectations. On Lees, likely to line up alongside O’Dea in the heart of the back four against Nottingham Forest this evening, Warnock said: “He’s been a massive plus for me – to have a young lad like that.I don’t really want him to have publicity like that, but when I was at Sheffield and I’d got a young lad called Jagielka. They are very similar; Tom’s probably (even) a little bit quicker than Jags. He’s a very promising young man and to get in the team at this stage of his career and get games under his belt can only serve him well. “I don’t want him to change his game. I think he’s probably been a shining light since I’ve been here. “I don’t think he’d put a foot wrong. His game has improved, as has the intelligence in his game. He’s taken on board what I want from him. “He’s got to do the other side of the coin if he wants to play at that top level and learn how to mark a man at set-pieces. It’s not rocket science or something he can’t do. “I should have probably given him one or two lessons before, but it was the first time it’s happened while I’ve been here and just disappointing that it cost us two points. “If it hadn’t have cost us two points, I probably wouldn’t have highlighted it as much. “We’re all in it together and we were all disappointed. You can’t put that much work in and then throw it away with the last kick. “I think everybody felt they were glad it wasn’t them really (who made the mistake.) Apart from poor old Tom. But he’ll learn.” And on Lees’ pairing with Republic Of Ireland international O’Dea at the heart of a back four which has shipped just two goals in the past five matches, Warnock added: “I can’t believe both of them, if I’m honest, having watched the Doncaster game. “It just pleases me who they have responded and I think they have both done in a great way. “Darren’s 24 and still a young man and I think he’s enjoyed the defensive side of the game, coaching-wise. “Ronnie (Jepson – first-team coach) has put on some good sessions, defensive-wise and you could see from day one we wanted to work on that. I think they have all responded in that respect.” United’s commitment and energy in the high-octane draw with the Hammers at the weekend continued their momentum under Warnock and while the United chief is tacit enough to admit tonight’s opposing manager in the away dug-out, Steve Cotterill, will have been delighted to have seen United put in such a labour-intensive shift, he feels the hosts can, and will, box cleverer in certain areas this evening. Forest head into tonight’s game fresh from a weekend off and raring to go after last Tuesday’s late defeat at bitter rivals Derby County, across Brian Clough Way at Pride Park. The not exactly inconsequential matter of a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of a rampant United at the end of November is also likely to be in boss Cotterill’s thoughts. And while looking in desperate relegation trouble for most of the winter, Forest have given themselves hope by virtue of a run of three wins in their past six matches to lift themselves four points above the drop zone. Warnock, a friend of late Forest owner Nigel Doughty, who died suddenly at the start of last month at the age of just 54, is confident tonight’s visitors will claim enough points to stave off relegation – hopefully after tonight’s Championship meeting at Elland Road. Warnock said: “Steve came on Saturday and will have seen the effort we put into that game, and I would imagine he’ll be delighted. “But I think we can do better than we did in certain areas on Saturday and we’ve been talking about that. “They (Forest) have got some good players, although they have had a very indifferent season. “I had a lot of time for Nigel Doughty – his boy, Michael, was a young pro with me at QPR. “It was sad to see things that happened to him (in football) over the past couple of years and then it resulted in a loss of life, which really puts things in perspective like we have been on about with (Fabrice) Muamba. “It looks like they will stay up. I think they have too many good players really. They have got over their bad run and looking at the fixtures in the run-in, I don’t think the teams below them will surpass what Forest can do if I’m honest.”

March 19th. Warnock on the play offs, signings, and Tom Lees. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said :  “The games are running out and not many teams win five or six on the trot. We are going to have to win seven out of nine. “It is almost becoming impossible if we don`t put a run together.” “Another six or seven points and we all know where we will have been. “It is disappointing and it will be until we know where we finish at the end of the season.”It is frustrating for me not to be closer to sixth place than what we are.”Leeds have now won just two of their previous eight games and just one in Warnock`s five games in charge. West Ham`s last minute equaliser on Saturday stopped Leeds from making it back to back wins for the first time since beating Nottingham Forest and Millwall in November and December. Leeds are five points outside the play-off places and will need to win around seven of their last nine games to stand any chance of making the end of season play-offs. Five of Leeds last nine games are at home but they have managed just four wins in their last thirteen games at home and have one of the worst home records in the championship. Leeds face four tough looking away games between now and the end of the season. They face Millwall on Saturday who have been a thorn in Leeds side at the New Den in the last three seasons and they also face games against fellow promotion hopefuls Reading, Blackpool and Cardiff. Relegation threatened Nottingham Forest visit Elland Road on Tuesday night in a must win game for Leeds. Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says young defender Tom Lees will learn from his mistakes after allowing West Ham defender Danny Collins to beat him to the ball for the hammers equaliser in the final minute of the game. Leeds looked to be heading to three much needed points against West Ham when Luciano Becchio put Leeds ahead with just seven minutes remaining. That was until Collins managed to lose Lees in the penalty area to equalise for the hammers in the dying moments of the game. Warnock says Lees has been the shining light in his side since his arrival at Elland Road and he will learn from his mistake. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said : “He was outstanding on Saturday and it is something he will have to learn. It is no good being superb for 90 minutes and then losing the game.”I think he will learn from it. Likewise, at Portsmouth when he shoved his arm up. I don`t think he will do that again.”It is a matter of learning as quickly as possible. You make mistakes and you will recover. “I think he has been the shining light since I have come here the way he has played his games and the way he has gone about his games.”He has been fantastic and he has just got to learn to be a bit more professional at certain times. Hopefully he will learn from it and not do it again.” Lees came through the Leeds United academy and spent two successful seasons out on loan with Accrington Stanley and Bury in the past two seasons. The 21 year old played a key part in helping Bury to win promotion from League Two last season and he scored the goal that won them promotion at Chesterfield. Lees took his opportunity in the Leeds side at the start of the season when he made his debut against Bradford City in the Carling Cup, Leeds second game of the season. The versatile defender has been an almost ever present since and is amongst the leading ppearance makers for Leeds this season, having played in 36 games. Warnock has brought in two players since his arrival last month. Free agent Danny Webber has signed on a short-term deal until the end of the season and Bolton Wanderers defender Paul Robinson has joined on a month`s loan. Leeds currently have Paul Rachubka, Maik Taylor, Lloyd Sam and youngster Sanchez Payne out on loan. Warnock is keen to take a look at his squad players and feels if they can get some first team football elsewhere between now and the end of the season it would make sense but he is not going to rush into any moves before Thursdays deadline. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said  :  “The situation that we are in, I want to look at everybody if I can before the end of the season so it is difficult to loan out. “I don`t really want to loan anybody in if they are not going to get a game. “I am sure things will change over the next two or three days. If I can bring somebody in with a view to a long-term deal then I think I would bring somebody in, but for the short-term, I do not think I will. “If they are not going to get a look in, I would prefer them to go out and I can get DVD`s sent to me. I would rather them be playing than not playing. We just need to be careful whilst they have a chance. “We will have to be careful until Thursday.” Notts County manager Keith Curle has already taken Lloyd Sam on loan for the remainder of the season and he has also enquired about squad players Billy Paynter and Mikael Forssell. Despite scoring regularly for the reserves since the arrival of Warnock, Paynter hasn`t featured for Leeds since the opening day at Southampton. He spent time on loan with fellow championship side Brighton earlier in the season and it was thought that Brighton boss Gus Poyet was keen to take Paynter to the south coast but they would not match the Leeds valuation of the striker who netted just one goal in twenty-three appearances last season. Forssell joined Leeds in the early months of the season on a contract until this season. The vastly experienced Finnish international has made just one start in thirteen appearances since his arrival at Elland Road and he is still waiting for his first goal.

March 18th. Weekend Review. Southampton and Reading both won again. Cardiff dropped two points at home to Burnley. Blackpool beat Brighton 3-1. Hull drew away to C Palaace and the one result that didn’t go our was was Birmingham City hammering M’boro. The two points we dropped could have been huge for us. Next up is Forest where we need to win and also bang in a few goals. We can afford to drop only two points from here on in or goodbye play offs.

March 17th. 2012 Leeds 1-1 WHU  Report from YEP. 01 Lonergan, 02 Connolly, 22 Lees 28 White (Webber – 76′ ) 33 Robinson YC 48 O’Dea 08 Brown YC 15 Clayton  10 Becchio  23 Snodgrass  44 McCormack (Forssell – 76′ ) Unused Subs – 29 Thompson 20 Nunez. Att – 33,366. Loan defender Danny Collins scored a last-minute equaliser to earn West Ham a point against Leeds United. When Luciano Becchio nodded the Whites ahead with seven minutes to go, the ever-changing npower Championship promotion picture was not looking too favourable for the Hammers, with top two rivals Southampton and Reading both winning. But, right on cue, Collins rose the highest to head in a Mark Noble corner and peg Leeds back in an act of damage limitation for Sam Allardyce’s men, who are now five points off the lead and three points shy of second. It was just the second goal Leeds have conceded under new manager Neil Warnock and perhaps one of their most costly of the season. Since the veteran replaced Simon Grayson a month ago, a renewed play-off push had seemed a possibility. A win was needed today, though, and until Collins struck, it seemed they had got it. Warnock had succeeded in his wish to see Elland Road sold out for the game, but those inside had little to cheer about in a chanceless opening 10 minutes. Things livened up after that, with Leeds defender Tom Lees’ scuffed effort scraping just wide and Robert Snodgrass jinking his way into a shooting position, only to be crowded out. West Ham’s players were then angered by Paul Connolly’s tackle on Kevin Nolan – deemed legal by referee Peter Walton – but had more to be concerned about moments later when Nicky Maynard missed the game’s first genuine chance. The striker nipped in ahead of Darren O’Dea to find himself through on Andy Lonergan’s goal with 22 minutes gone, but his first touch was heavy and the goalkeeper was able to get out and smother the ball at his feet. More clever play from Snodgrass then saw him create an angle to set Ross McCormack free but Matt Taylor nicked possession from him, before Snodgrass flashed a free-kick from the corner of the box just wide of the post. Maynard’s chance remained the best going into the break, though, but both sides had cause for complaint when the whistle was blown, with West Ham claiming a handball in the box against Michael Brown and Leeds confused as to why Snodgrass’ touch beyond Robert Green was ruled out for apparent pushing by Becchio. The Hammers had to replace James Tomkins, so effective in the sweeper position, at half-time, and his replacement, Gary O’Neil, skimmed an effort just wide within 60 seconds of his introduction. With Maynard isolated and getting little change out of Lees and O’Dea, Allardyce opted to replace him with the more physical Carlton Cole and the former England striker nearly made an immediate impact, putting a ball across the six yard box that evaded everyone. A couple of thundering tackles from loan defender Paul Robinson then helped whip up the home crowd, but it was West Ham who continued to probe with greater intent – Abdoulaye Faye nodding wide from a corner and Lonergan denying O’Neil after Jack Collison’s shot flew loose. Cole then arched a header over the bar from a Noble free-kick, before Green was forced to make his first save in the 70th minute when he showed terrific reactions to turn away a Connolly header. Connolly rarely ventures into opposition territory but, when he did again with 83 minutes on the clock, it created the opening goal. Snodgrass’ cross got to the back post, Connolly headed against the bar and the ball fell to Becchio who did the rest. The lead would only last seven minutes for the home side, though, as West Ham secured a deserved point when Collins connected with Noble’s well-taken corner. Warnock said, “It is difficult to come out and not be disappointed when we have thrown two points away. “We can`t keep throwing points away. I think everyone knows we need to win games.” “The Southampton game was even more so. We have played two good sides now and we should have taken six points. We only have one point out of it so we have to lot to learn our lesson. “We can`t throw games away like this and Southampton and we have got to learn lessons quickly. “We should have won. You’ve got to win games like that, I can’t remember ever being this disappointed. I probably have, but I can’t remember. “I said to the referee: ‘When you watch Carlton Cole blatantly push Darren O’Dea over [before West Ham's goal], you’ve got to see that’. O’Dea was going to head the ball [away].” Sam Allardyce: “When Leeds scored we were in our best spell of attacking. It was unfortunate that we slipped up but we came back, got the draw and have to accept that it’s a good point. “We’re all a little bit edgy but we’re confident we can take the final step and start winning more games than we draw.” When you take the lead with seven or eight minutes to go, you have to win the game, especially at home. No excuses. definitely two points dropped at this stage of the season. Accepting that O’Dea should have done better, I expect more from my goalkeeper also.

March 15th 2012. Thanks to the Square Ball for the following transcript of “Mr Chairman’s weekly scripted Q + A session from his own YR which lost £500K last year. Taken from Yorkshire Radio’s interview with Leeds United owner Ken Bates today…‘Mr Chairman’ speaks to Ben Fry about the Middlesbrough match, Paul Robinson, Danny Webber, West Ham, Neil Warnock (“not a fanny merchant”), the academy dinner and Nottingham Forest. Ben Fry: Chairman, we’ll start with Sunday’s game. You must be delighted with the result and the performance? Ken Bates: Well I thought obviously the score was fantastic, it should have been double but what really pleased me was the performance. Is that the same Leeds United team that we had out there in November-December-January? I couldn’t believe it. They were harrying, they were fighting for every ball, fighting for each other and it was exciting football. If you now think we’ve played four games, three clean sheets, we’re back to being the Leeds of old. On top of the fact that we hammered Southampton and we should have beaten them as well, we deserved to beat them. It’s looking good. I’m delighted. And of course, the other great thing is that all the results went for us last night. Who would have thought Doncaster would have held Reading to a draw. Who would have thought Hull would have gone to Cardiff and won 3-0? Who would have thought Leicester would have stuff Birmingham 3-1? It means now we’re just four points off the play-offs and we have to play a few of the clubs around us. Every club is knocking each other… if you like taking points off each other. So that I think all of a sudden things are looking good. BF: It’s interesting what you say about the results last night because people have wondered, out of the last 10 games, how many points do Leeds have to get? But if everybody else takes points off each other out, it might be 22-23. KB: Well I think the general feeling is if you get 75, you’re in the play-offs. We’ve got 53 so we need 22 out of 30. Well that’s a high standard but on the other hand, why not let us set it for ourselves. BF: And out of the 10 games remaining, six at home, four away, it’s not a bad run-in when you look at it and when you look at who you’re playing? KB: No it isn’t. The whole thing is, where I feel great is… where I feel really wound up is of course after the results against Hull, Southampton – even though we lost the performance against Southampton, and Middlesbrough, we’ve got no one to fear in this division. They should be worrying about us now. BF: Particularly as those two games were televised, it almost acts as a statement of intent, doesn’t it? KB: Well I can’t remember, I can’t remember the last time I had so many phone calls from Leeds fans and people who are actually friends of mine and are not necessarily Leeds fans, who were so excited having lost against Southampton. The text messages were fantastic. And I think that we’ve now caught people’s attention again. BF: It’s interesting, you’ve touched on the clean sheets but it’s almost as if Neil got things right at the back and now is getting things right at the front because the team now looks steady but the attacking prowess is coming back. KB: Yeah, well the thing is, they say all great teams are built from the back but of course if you’ve got a good, steady, back four and then withstand the pressure and get forward and that gives the attackers more opportunity to have a go at the other side’s defence. Before we were on the last charge on the last few minutes. Now we’re playing throughout the game. I mean, we controlled the Middlesbrough game. In fact, we controlled the Southampton game other than that blasted goal. BF: There have been a couple of additions since Neil arrived. One of those, Paul Robinson, made a big impact on Sunday. Do you feel a bit of Premier League know-how benefited the team at the back? KB: And experience. He stamped his authority at left-back didn’t he? And that confidence spread throughout the team. He wasn’t lagging in coming forward either. BF: Another player, who didn’t have a club at the time, Danny Webber, a player Neil knows well. He’s looked very impressive hasn’t he? Very sharp. Probably sharper than you would have expected since he has come in. KB: Well I think he’s got a point to prove hasn’t he? But once again, he knows Neil an Neil knows him… or knew him. So that’s… he wasn’t bringing in somebody in hope, he was bringing somebody he knew he wanted him and he knew he would deliver. That’s how he was going about his business. BF: You talked about you positive feeling, the positive mood in the camp, the positive mood in the fans. It’s fantastic for everybody to be driving forward going towards Saturday. KB: It is. But I can understand the fans’ frustrations. Don’t quite agree with the target of their ire but I think the manager picks the team and trains them and buys them for that matter. Now I think the frustrations of this season, because it has been a disappointing season up to where we should be by now, is now going behind us and we now see light at the end of the tunnel. BF: Neil Warnock has asked for 30,000 for the West Ham game, is he going to get that? KB: Oh, we’re already over 30 this morning. We still have the rest of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and walk-up on Saturday. I think we’ll be looking well over 32. That’s my guess anyway. BF: And some credit to West Ham because there have been some small away followings which don’t add to the atmosphere and they’re going to bring lots of them.  KB: Oh yes, they’ve bought the lot. Obviously, they’re on a run too. They dropped out of the automatic places last night but they’re on a roll and they expect to go back into the Premiership. So that should be a really exciting day on Saturday in the build-up to the game and afterwards. BF: Obviously we’re a few weeks in now to Neil Warnock’s tenure. Everybody was wondering how you and he would interact, how’s the relationship developing? KB: Well I think it’s developed.. I mean I’ve known Neil for a long time and once again people don’t know Neil Warnock, they just read about him or see him on TV and he’s a down-to-earth guy. He’s not a fanny merchant. He gives it to you straight. At the same time, he listens to you when you explain things and he understands what you’re talking about. He’s an intelligent man. He’s made a lot of money during his careers. I think he has invested wisely. So he’s got a wider view than just 11 men and a football pitch. He can see the implications and planning, particularly when it comes to running a football club. We’ve made a good signing there. And he wanted the job. That’s the important thing. BF: And the club are planning an evening with Neil Warnock on Thursday 22nd. Like you say, if people don’t necessarily know the real Neil Warnock, it’s a good opportunity to find out more about him. KB: Yeah, and we’ve already sold over 200 tickets because it should be a fun evening and it’s next Thursday, not tomorrow, next Thursday the 22nd. And, no, tickets are going well. It’s going to be a fun evening. People should turn up if they want to find out more about the new manager. BF: You’d imagine he’s got a couple of stories to tell, wouldn’t you? KB: I would have thought more than a couple, ha ha ha. I think he could include his experience at QPR. Anybody who saw the film the Four-Year Plan, he tipped me off to watch it and I’ve got a DVD waiting for me over here. I think that evening with Neil will be very interesting. BF: And you can book by calling 08713341992. Before we finish, let’s just touch on matters away from the first team. The Under-18s are having a good season They drew with high-flying Man City 2-2 at the weekend. You must be pleased with the academy’s progress behind the scenes. KB: I am of course, because that’s our future. Since we had a change of personnel, the difference has been quite phenomenal and I think it shows… don’t forget, what we see in the first team is years of hard work below the scenes in the academy. I mean this season we’ve had Zac Thompson, Tom Lees has now established himself, Aidy White, we’ve had Charlie Taylor, and now young Cairns the goalkeeper. They’re all in the first-team squad and they’re all homegrown and they are coming through. And we intend to continue developing and exploiting the academy because we are the number one club in Yorkshire and Yorkshire boys want to play for Leeds United. BF: And talking of the academy as well, a big event on Friday night, the Chairman’s Academy Dinner. An important part of the calendar. KB: Well to be fair it’s Susannah’s Academy Dinner, it was here idea some years ago. Yes, what we do, we get the mums and dads in because we felt, well she felt, there wasn’t enough link between the club and the academy, it was two separate things so we only see each other from a distance. We now do it so we meet the mums and dads, have a convivial evening and we show them videos of the academy in action – their kids in action – and we talk to them about our philosophy and what we are trying to do. I mean all our academy kids are well educated. If you think about it, first of all, you are lucky if one in 10 come through but it’s important that the other nine have a good education which enables them to go into the non-footballing world if they have to. I think also, that in the presence of their mind emphasises the fact even more that you can’t get to the top just because you can play football. You have to work at it and really work at it. There are plenty of examples of great players who never really made it because their application wasn’t sufficient and yet you’ve got other players of really average ability who became outstanding players because of their sheer guts and determination. I mean Kevin Keegan of yesteryear is a good example. He was just an ordinary player but he never stopped running and that’s what got him the England cap because he was so valuable to the team. And parents have to understand that as well. And we also try to warn them of the dangers… if they’re good they are going to be tapped up be other clubs and other agents. It’s very tempting to thinking ‘oh my boy is going to play for this club or that club’ but will they ever play for them? I think the salutary lesson, which we will be illustrating on Friday, is Taiwo and Woods. They were very promising boys in our academy, Chelsea nicked them both illegally, and finished up paying a lot of money for them. Woods, the last time I heard of him, he’s just been released by Northampton Town and he was having a two-week trial at Walsall and I didn’t hear what happened. And Taiwo of course is now in his last season at Carlisle. It’s a long way from Stamford Bridge isn’t it? The point is, he did a great interview for a young man in the Daily Mail, which we are going to give a copy to every parent when they come on Friday. Taiwo said he left his home, his parents and all his friends, went down to London, broke his leg, and had very little support. I just wonder what those two boys could have achieved if they had stayed at Leeds instead of taking the fool’s gold further south years ago when they were taken. BF: Finally back to the games coming up. We’ve touched on West Ham but obviously Forest as well. Quick turnaround, two home games in four days. Going into those games with confidence. Those six points could change the picture massively and it really could be a promotion charge couldn’t it.  KB: Well we’re four points behind the play-offs. I say for to you because it would appear there are a few other clubs that aren’t interested in getting promotion. They sort of win and lose, win and lose… so it could be by the following Saturday, it could be that we’re in contention near the play-offs and we’ve only got four away games. None of them are easy of course but they are there for the taking and we have four home games and they are definitely winnable. So I think Neil’s target of 74-75 is feasible. As I said, we need probably 22 points out of the last 30 but we’re Leeds United, why shouldn’t we have them? We’ve got the players. We’ve now go the inspiration driving the players and we’ve got the fans behind the team. It could be an exciting May. Let’s hope so.

Weds March 14th One out and One staying put – YEP Leeds United winger Lloyd Sam has joined Notts County on loan until the end of the season. The former Charlton Athletic star has made 17 appearances this season, but hasn’t started a game since the 1-1 draw at Watford in December. The 27-year-old joined United in the summer of 2010 from and has made 39 appearances in total, scoring three goals. Notts County look set to fail with an attempt to sign Leeds United striker Billy Paynter before the end of the Football League’s emergency loan window. The League One club are understood to have expressed an interest in Paynter but the 27-year-old is expected to remain at Elland Road and fight for his place under manager Neil Warnock. Paynter recently returned to the fold at Leeds after a long period of inactivity under former boss Simon Grayson, and Warnock named the striker on the bench for his first three games in charge. But Paynter was not included among his substitutes for Sunday’s 2-0 win at Middlesbrough, and Notts County – managed by Keith Curle, a coach under Warnock at Queens Park Rangers – were looking to recruit the former Swindon Town player for the rest of the season. County are heading for the League One play-offs after a run of five wins from six games but Paynter, who spent time on loan at Brighton before Christmas, is keen to continue his career in the Championship. He was signed by Grayson in 2010, joining on a three-year deal from Swindon, but his strike in a league game against Preston last season is his only goal in almost two years Elland Road

Weds March 14th. Decision over White to be made – Phil Hay YEP Leeds United face a major decision over the future of Aidan White as Premier League clubs prepare to move for the Republic of Ireland U-21 international. Two top-flight sides sent scouts to watch White’s performance against Middlesbrough on Sunday with a view to signing the 20-year-old when his deal expires at the end of June. White’s contractual situation at Elland Road remains unchanged since he rejected the offer of an extension from Leeds shortly before Christmas. The versatile defender, who has unexpectedly reverted to the right wing under new manager Neil Warnock, is rapidly approaching the end of the long-term deal he agreed with United in 2007 after emerging from their academy. Leeds are protected financially due to White’s age and would be entitled to compensation if he leaves Elland Road and joins another English club this summer. But White, pictured above, has been central to Warnock’s plans in his short time as manager and he set up the opening goal during an impressive display in Sunday’s 2-0 victory at The Riverside. Warnock praised the youngster afterwards, saying: “Aidy’s doing well. “Alright, he has too many touches at times and he’s got things to learn but for a left-back he’s not doing badly up front. “I fancied him in that position when I first saw him. I don’t think he did or my staff. But he’s quite capable if he keeps believing and scores a few goals himself.” White is not believed to have received an improved offer from Leeds since rejecting their initial approach but Warnock revealed last week that he planned to review the status of every Leeds player with a dwindling deal. Robert Snodgrass, Ross McCormack and Adam Clayton are due to run into the last year of their agreements next season, and White is one of a number of squad members who could depart this summer at the end of their deals. Speaking ahead of United’s valuable win at Boro, a victory which revived their chances of qualifying of the play-offs, Warnock said: “I’m speaking to the players and I’ll speak to their agents in the next few days. At the moment there aren’t enough hours in the day. “All the players with a year or less, I need to talk to.”

March 13th. 2012. Mixed bag of results. A number of the Championship sides who have games in hand over Leeds were playing tonight. On balance they weren’t the worst results in the world for Leeds. Beckford grabbed a brace in Leicester’s 3-1 win over Brum. Hull had an impressive 3-0 win at stuttering Cardiff City and Reading couldn’t make it ten in a row with a disappointing 1-1 draw at Doncaster Rvs. Hull are the only real side now who matter to us that have a game in hand. We’ll be looking for our old favourite, Dougie Freedman to do us a favour this Saturday at Selhurst Park. On a plus for Leeds, USA international Robbie Rogers grabbed a goal in the Thorp Arch friendly today as he makes his recovery from a head injury sustained against Doncaster.

March 13th. Deano tips Colin to be a success at Leeds. Former Leeds United striker Brian Deane believes Neil Warnock is the right man to lead Leeds back into the Premier League. Deane was speaking on the Late Kick off on Monday night and he feels Warnock can bring in the players to lead the side to promotion to the top flight for the first time since 2004. Speaking on the show, Deane said, “I was one of those saying he was the right man for the job. He has come in and he has a lot of respect across the region. “He is just what Leeds United need right now. The sort of manager who is going to bring in the type of players who he feels will get the team promoted.” Deane had two spells at Leeds United during a career spanning 21 years. The Leeds born striker was the clubs record signing when he joined the club for £2.9 million in the summer of 1993 from Sheffield United. After four years at Elland Road, he returned to Sheffield United for a cut price £1.5 million. He returned to Leeds for a second spell in the summer of 2004 and he spent most of the season at Elland Road before joining Sunderland in March. Deane returned to Sheffield United for a third time in December 2005 under Warnock, but he made just two appearances before retiring at the end of the season.

March 13tm. Snods praises Colin. Skipper Robert Snodgrass has hailed the Neil Warnock revolution at Leeds United – with his only regret being that the serial promotion specialist didn’t join the club earlier this year. Tenth-placed United’s outside hopes of gatecrashing the Championship play-off remain intact following their fine 2-0 success at top-four side Middlesbrough, with the Sunday-best performance their stand-out one of the campaign so far. Snodgrass rated the Riverside display as “unbelievable”, with the consummate performance setting United up nicely for a massive weekend home clash with second-placed West Ham United, with the club hoping to attract a season-best league crowd of 30,000. Heralding the Warnock factor, the Scot, who netted his 12th goal of another stellar campaign for the Whites on Sunday, said: “I think this is what it takes if you are going to get promoted. If this gaffer was in a wee bit sooner, who knows what could have happened? “It (Boro win) sets up a great finish for the rest of the season. These boys will be believing they can do something special because with performances like that, this is what it takes to be in those play-offs. “We firmly believe we can get there. But as I’ve said many times, you don’t get there through just luck, but hard work and determination. A little bit of luck along the way helps, but you make your own luck. Saturday is now a good chance for us to get back-to-back wins as we haven’t done that in a while.” United were wholly dominant in every area on Teesside and showed no glaring deficiencies in any department as Warnock’s troops made it three shut-outs in four games under his watch, while recording back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since early December, with Snodgrass full of praise for the ultimate team showing. He added: “We knew it wasn’t going to be a push-over, but we got three points with a very professional performance. “We’ve had a few good away performances, but in terms of professionalism, when you go two goals up and see the game out, I think it was a fine example. “Credit goes to the manager because he’s installed that belief. But the players have got to take good credit from it – from the goalkeeper all the way through (the team). “It was an unbelievable team performance. It’s three clean sheets out of the last four and even in the Southampton game, we looked solid and I thought we should have won that. We should have won the Portsmouth game as well.  “The lads can take great confidence from Sunday. It was a great clean sheet at a place where many people probably had us as underdogs. “The back four were unbelievable and didn’t look like conceding once against (Marvin) Emnes and (Lukas) Jutkiewicz, great Championship-proven goalscoring players. They didn’t even have a chance. “Going forward, Luciano held the ball up really well, Ross (McCormack) was turning them in there and Aidy White was running them ragged at times. It was brilliant. “When Luciano gets back to what he’s done in previous seasons when he’s holding the ball, that’s when he’s a good player. “Luciano knows it’s very effective and it’s all you ask of a big striker and he got his just rewards. While Ross got an assist and he’s coming on in that new position and is buying us free-kicks.”

March 12th. Taylor joins Lions. Maik Taylor has joined Millwall on a mont long loan. Taylor is looking forward to being involved on a matchday at Millwallore: haik Taylor, on loan from Leeds at Millwall, is looking forward to being involved on a matchday again after being left out of the 16 in recent weeks due to Neil Warnock’s policy of not having a goalkeeper on the bench. Taylor is also looking to help fire the Lions up the table. “I have spoken to many players who have retired and they tell me to keep playing as long as I can. “At Leeds Neil Warnock doesn’t have a keeper on the bench so it was frustrating training all week with nothing to look forward to. “With Steve being injured at the moment it will be good to be involved on a matchday again.”

The Leeds United Run In (Position 10th on 53 Points) Saturday, March 17 2012 Leeds United – West Ham United (15.00) Tuesday, March 20 2012 Leeds United – Nottingham Forest (19.45) Saturday, March 24 2012 Millwall – Leeds United (15.00) Saturday, March 31 2012 Leeds United – Watford (15.00) Friday, April 6 2012 Reading – Leeds United (14.00) Monday, April 9 2012 Leeds United – Derby County (15.00) Saturday, April 14 2012 Leeds United – Peterborough United (15.00)  Tuesday, April 17 2012 Blackpool – Leeds United (20.00) Saturday, April 21 2012 Cardiff City – Leeds United (12.30) Saturday, April 28 2012 Leeds United – Leicester City (12.30) We have ten matches remaining, six of which are at home. We have four matches against top  ten sides. We need 22 points out of the remaining 30. If we win five at home (and draw one) and win two from four away matches, we will in my view make the play offs in my view. The six pointers must include no points dropped.

The Betting

Hull City’s Run In.  (9th position on 54 points with two games in hand over Leeds) Tuesday, March 13 2012 Cardiff City – Hull City (19.45) Saturday, March 17 2012 Crystal Palace – Hull City (15.00) Tuesday, March 20 2012 Hull City – Southampton (19.45) Saturday, March 24 2012 Leicester City – Hull City (15.00) Tuesday, March 27 2012 Portsmouth – Hull City (19.45) Saturday, March 31 2012 Hull City – Coventry City (15.00) Saturday, April 7 2012 Millwall – Hull City (15.00) Monday, April 9 2012 Hull City – Middlesbrough (15.00) Saturday, April 14 2012 Watford – Hull City (15.00) Tuesday, April 17 2012Hull City – Barnsley (19.45) Saturday, April 21 2012 Hull City – Nottingham Forest (15.00) Saturday, April 28 2012 West Ham United – Hull City (12.30) Hull have one of the meanest defences in the league, but find it very difficult to score goals. They threw away a two goal lead at home to Ipswich on Saturday last. They have four remaining games against sides in the top six from their twelve remaining matches.

Blackpool’s Run In  (8th position on 56 points and no games in hand over Leeds) Saturday, March 17 2012 Blackpool – Brighton and Hove Albion (15.00) Wednesday, March 21 2012 Blackpool – Leicester City (20.00) Saturday, March 24 2012 Reading – Blackpool (15.00) Saturday, March 31 2012 Blackpool – Southampton (17.25) Friday, April 6 2012 Wtford – Blackpool (15.00) Monday, April 9 2012 Blackpool – Barnsley (15.00)  Saturday, April 14 2012 Nottingham Forest – Blackpool (15.00)  Tuesday, April 17 2012 Blackpool – Leeds United (20.00) Saturday, April 21 2012 Blackpool – Burnley (15.00) Saturday, April 28 2012 Millwall – Blackpool (12.30) That’s four games against the top ten sides including Leeds at Bloomfield Road. They lost against a poor Peterboro side last Saturday and all of a sudden Kevin Phillips’ goals have dried up.

Birmingham City’s Run In  (Position 7th on 56 points and 2 games in hand over Leeds)Tuesday, March 13 2012   Leicester City – Birmingham City (19.45) Saturday, March 17 2012 Birmingham City – Middlesbrough (15.00) Tuesday, March 20 2012 Portsmouth – Birmingham City (19.45) Sunday, March 25 2012 Birmingham City – Cardiff City (12.00)  Friday, March 30 2012 Doncaster Rovers – Birmingham City (19.45)  Tuesday, April 3 2012 Burnley – Birmingham City (19.45) Saturday, April 7 2012 Birmingham City – Crystal Palace (15.00)  Monday, April 9 2012 West Ham United – Birmingham City (17.20) Saturday, April 14 2012 Birmingham City – Bristol City (15.00) Tuesday, April 17 2012 Ipswich Town – Birmingham City (19.45) Saturday, April 21 2012 Brighton and Hove Albion – Birmingham City (15.00) Saturday, April 28 2012 Birmingham City – Reading (12.30:  That’s Five games against the top ten for the Blues who find difficulty in hitting the net.

Cardiff City’s Run In  (Position 6th on 57 points and one game in hand over Leeds)  Tuesday, March 13 2012 Cardiff City – Hull City (19.45) Sunday, March 18 2012 Cardiff City – Burnley (15.00)  Wednesday, March 21 2012 Cardiff City – Coventry City (19.45) Sunday, March 25 2012 Birmingham City – Cardiff City (12.00) Saturday, March 31 2012 Cardiff City – Millwall (12.30) Saturday, April 7 2012 Middlesbrough – Cardiff City (15.00) Monday, April 9 2012 Cardiff City – Watford (15.00) Saturday, April 14 2012 Barnsley – Cardiff City (15.00) Tuesday, April 17 2012 Cardiff City – Derby County (19.45) Saturday, April 21 2012 Cardiff City – Leeds United (12.30) Saturday, April 28 2012 Crystal Palace – Cardiff City (12.30) Just four of their remaining ten games are against top ten sides. They lost the run of themselves during their CC run but gained a fortunate three points at Bristol City last Saturday.

Brightons’ Run In  (5th position on 58 points and no games in hand over Leeds) Saturday, March 17 2012 Blackpool – Brighton and Hove Albion (15.00) Tuesday, March 20 2012 Brighton and Hove Albion – Derby County (19.45) Saturday, March 24 2012 Nottingham Forest – Brighton and Hove Albion (15.00) Saturday, March 31 2012 Brighton and Hove Albion – Middlesbrough (15.00) Friday, April 6 2012 Burnley – Brighton and Hove Albion (15.00) Tuesday, April 10 2012 Brighton and Hove Albion – Reading (19.45) Saturday, April 14 2012 West Ham United – Brighton and Hove Albion (15.00) Tuesday, April 17 2012 Brighton and Hove Albion – Watford (19.45) Saturday, April 21 2012 Brighton and Hove Albion – Birmingham City (15.00) Saturday, April 28 2012 Barnsley – Brighton and Hove Albion (12.30) Brighton have five of their remaining games against top ten sides. They are unbeaten in their last twelve games and last tasted defeat on Dec 31st last year when they lost 2-1 at Coventry City.

Middlesbrough’s Run In (4th position on 59 Points with one game in hand over Leeds) Saturday, March 17 2012 Birmingham City – Middlesbrough (15.00)  Tuesday, March 20 2012 West Ham United – Middlesbrough (19.45) Saturday, March 24 2012 Middlesbrough – Bristol City (15.00) Tuesday, March 27 2012 Ipswich Town – Middlesbrough (19.45) Saturday, March 31 2012 Brighton and Hove Albion – Middlesbrough (15.00) Saturday, April 7 2012 Middlesbrough – Cardiff City (15.00) Monday, April 9 2012 Hull City – Middlesbrough (15.00) Saturday, April 14 2012 Derby County – Middlesbrough (15.00) Tuesday, April 17 2012 Middlesbrough – Doncaster Rovers (19.45) Saturday, April 21 2012 Middlesbrough – Southampton (15.00) Saturday, April 28 2012 Watford – Middlesbrough (12.30) Middlesbro were outclassed by Leeds today and their Achilles heel has always been their home form were they have won only seven times all season. In contrast they are strong on the road with nine wins. Only WHU have won more on the road. They have a tough run in with six of their remaining eleven games against top ten sides

Reading’s Run In. (Position 3rd  on 66 Points  with one game in hand over Leeds). Tuesday, March 13 2012 Doncaster Rovers – Reading (19.45) Saturday, March 17 2012 Barnsley – Reading (15.00) Tuesday, March 20 2012 Peterborough United – Reading (19.45) Saturday, March 24 2012 Reading – Blackpool (15.00)  Saturday, March 31 2012 West Ham United – Reading (15.00) Friday, April 6 2012 Reading – Leeds United (14.00) Tuesday, April 10 2012 Brighton and Hove Albion – Reading (19.45) Friday, April 13 2012 Southampton – Reading (19.45) Tuesday, April 17 2012 Reading – Nottingham Forest (20.00) Saturday, April 21 2012 Reading – Crystal Palace (15.00) Saturday, April 28 2012 Birmingham City – Reading (12.30) Reading have won nine on the bounce and are currently the best team in the division bar none. They have eleven matches remaining including six against top six teams. If they can avoid defeat versus WHU and Southampton, and win perhaps one of those games, I think they will be promoted as Champions.

WHU’s Run In. (Position 2nd on 66 points and one game in hand on Leeds) Saturday, March 17 2012 Leeds United – West Ham United (15.00) Tuesday, March 20 2012 West Ham United – Middlesbrough (19.45) Saturday, March 24 2012 Burnley – West Ham United (15.00) Tuesday, March 27 2012 Peterborough United – West Ham United (19.45) Saturday, March 31 2012 West Ham United – Reading (15.00) Friday, April 6 2012 Barnsley – West Ham United (17.15) Monday, April 9 2012 West Ham United – Birmingham City (17.20) Saturday, April 14 2012 West Ham United – Brighton and Hove Albion (15.00) Tuesday, April 17 2012 Bristol City – West Ham United (19.45)  Saturday, April 21 2012 Leicester City – West Ham United (15.00) Saturday, April 28 2012West Ham United – Hull City (12.30) The Hammers have had by far the biggest budget in the Championship and Big Sam is far from loved at Upton Park. Their away form is exceptional (10 wins and just 4 defeats). They have eleven matches remaining and six are against top ten sides, including Leeds next week.

Southampton’s Run in. (Position 1st on 69  points and no games in hand over Leeds) Saturday, March 17 2012 Millwall – Southampton (15.00) Tuesday, March 20 2012 Hull City – Southampton (19.45) Saturday, March 24 2012 Southampton – Doncaster Rovers (15.00) Saturday, March 31 2012 Blackpool – Southampton (17.25) Saturday, April 7 2012 Southampton – Portsmouth (13.00) Monday, April 9 2012 Crystal Palace – Southampton (15.00) Friday, April 13 2012 Southampton – Reading (19.45) Tuesday, April 17 2012 Peterborough United – Southampton (19.45) Saturday, April 21 2012 Middlesbrough – Southampton (15.00) Saturday, April 28 2012 Southampton – Coventry City (12.30) The Saints have been in the top two almost the entire season and will fancy their chances at automatic promotion. No side has won more games at home than the Saints (14 in total) but on the road they have won just six, including a very fortunate win over Leeds. They have four remaining match against top ten sides.

Summary : Still all to play for. I used to always take a punt at this stage where teams would  finish up. I’m going to just sit back this season and enjoy the ride. Leeds have no pressure on them and may just surprise one or two people. Wins breathe confidence and at this stage of the season it’s the teams that can win four or five on the bounce will be the ones to fear.

Becchio super volley

Sunday March 11th. Middlesbro 0-2 Leeds United. Report from BBC. 01 Lonergan 02 Connolly Booked 22 Lees 28 White 33 Robinson 48 O’Dea  08 Brown 15 Clayton Booked (Pugh – 90′ ) 10 Becchio (Forssell – 90′ ) 23 Snodgrass 44 McCormack (Webber – 87′ ) Unused Subs – 20 Nunez and Thompson. Neil Warnock earned his first win as Leeds United manager as first-half goals from Robert Snodgrass and Luciano Becchio saw off fellow Championship play-off hopefuls Middlesbrough. Victory failed to lift the 10th-placed visitors up the table but it may have reignited their fading top six hopes. Rhys Williams’ second-half header was the best chance for Boro, who remain fourth after a lacklustre home display. And Barry Robson’s late dismissal ended their hopes of an unlikely comeback. Leeds now trail sixth-placed Cardiff by four points, having played at least one game more than most of their rivals. “There’s change happening at Leeds United and it appears to be change for the better. But it was a disappointing day for Middlesbrough. Four wins in their last five outings had catapulted Tony Mowbray’s Boro up to fourth after stumbling out of the play-off picture with a barren New Year spell of six matches without a win. But history was not in Boro’s favour ahead of the Riverside clash, having not yet beaten Leeds at home since moving from Ayresome Park in 1995. And Boro become the architects of their own downfall, a livid Mowbray watching errors from Jason Steele and Justin Hoyte gift Leeds a two-goal advantage. Snodgrass, made skipper by Warnock in one of his first acts since becoming Leeds boss, scored the opener, stroking home from 18 yards after being coolly picked out by a composed Aidy White’s short square pass. Darren O’Dea smashed a deep free-kick towards White in the right channel, the Leeds winger brushing off a feeble challenge from Boro left-back Joe Bennett to set up Snodgrass, whose sidefoot shot squirmed underneath Steele. Under previous boss Simon Grayson, Leeds had no problems with their attacking incisiveness. But they had became rather toothless in front of goal in the three games since Warnock started prowling the Whites’ touchline last month. Having enjoyed the first goal of his reign, the much-travelled manager was celebrating another within 10 minutes when Hoyte’s mis-kick allowed top scorer Ross McCormack to pull back and Becchio gleefully rolled home from close range. Warnock’s priority since arriving in West Yorkshire has been plugging a leaky defence, who have conceded more goals than any other top half team. Despite their lofty position Boro hardly have a prolific strike-rate and failed to really stretch away keeper Andy Lonergan. Midfield schemer Barry Robson was Boro’s brightest spark in an otherwise dull home first-half performance and his fierce volley did stir Lonergan into punching clear. And, seconds later, the Scot’s goalbound corner was bravely headed off the line by United debutant Paul Robinson as Boro finally woke from their slumbers as the game approached the break. Mowbray’s no doubt harsh half-time words galvanised Boro as they set about Leeds with renewed purpose in the early stages of the second half. Williams escaped his marker from a home free-kick but wastefully planted his header into Andy Lonergan’s side-netting. Boro huffed and puffed as they tried to make Leeds sweat before Robson blew his top by kicking out at Adam Clayton on 86 minutes. He received his marching orders – ending Mowbray’s hopes of salvaging an unlikely point as organised Leeds claimed a third clean sheet in four games since Warnock’s arrival. Leeds boss Neil Warnock on BBC’s Match of the Day: “It’s good to finally get a goal – and obviously the win. “I thought the crowd was fantastic and it was great to get off the mark. “I thought we played quite well in the first three games but there were some great performances out there today.” We have to win a number of games now but we’re quite capable of that so the players have got to show the consistency that I know they can show to have any chance whatsoever. “The next game up (West Ham on Saturday) is fantastic. I said three weeks ago I wanted 30,000 fans at Elland Road, and they’ll bring 4,000. I can’t wait for that noise.” He added: “I thought from the first minute we were on our game today and I suppose it was almost the complete away performance. “We did the nasty things well today. The pressure was excellent and we put into practice what we’d talked about before the game and I thought the players enjoyed it. “Every department did their jobs well, we didn’t do anything fancy, we could have made better decisions on the break in the second half to finish it off but it wasn’t to be. “The fans were brilliant today and as I got off the bus I said ‘if they’re behind me like that when we haven’t scored a goal, heaven knows what they’ll be like when we win a game’ so it was nice to score and win a game. “It’s fabulous for a manager to be wanted.” Middlesbro have not beaten Leeds in the ten years since they moved to the Riverside. That was never going to change today. Today’s performance was the best I have seen from United for some time. Against Hull City and Portsmouth we never got enough numbers forward from midfield and and from full back to support Becchio and as a result a point was all we could achieve per game. Today was totally different. From the first whistle where Brown lashed into a tackle, our approach and tempo was spot on. McCormack and Becchio were on the same wave length from the beginning. Robsinson did really well at left back including one terrific goal saving header from an inswinging corner late in the first half. O’Dea and Lees were assured and Connolly at right back looked a different player. Clayton and Brown bossed the midfield and Snodgrass and White were full of energy on the flanks. But if I was to pick out one player today, it would have to be Becchio. I thought he was absolutely outstanding as the pivot of our attack and he constantly kept three defenders busy. Nobody will like facing Leeds United at the moment. Oh for the ridiculous posturing of keeping with Redfearn. Right now we could have been six points better off. We are now on 53 points, four points behind Cardiff City in 6th who also have one game in hand. We have ten cup finals left. It’s asking a lot to get to the play offs now. Colin thinks we need to reach 75 points. That’s 7 wins and one draw (assuming we lose two)  from the six home games left and the four away games. Reading have won eight on the trot. Personally, I think they’ll make the top two. Who else would we fear ?

March 9th. Peter Lorimer YEP article. There really is no point in airing Lash Lorimer’s comments from the YEP because although it might come out in a Scottish/Yorkshire accent, the source is Monte Carlo only.

Warnock and Brown

March 9th. Excellent interview with Colin before M’boro game re promotion, players, next year, etc. Taken from Neil Warnock’s press conference ahead of Leeds United’s trip to Middlesbrough (09/03/2012). And borrowed from The Scratching Shed.  We start with injury news. “Aidy White will probably train a little bit today and might be involved tomorrow, but nobody else will come in to the reckoning. “We were hoping to get a game for Andy O’Brien this week, but that didn’t materialise – the physios don’t think he’s ready just yet. [Leigh] Bromby’s not ready yet and [Alex] Bruce is not ready yet”  Is it just a case of match fitness with O’Brien? “Yeah, he’s had a couple of months without [playing] and the physio thinks it’s too early, so we’ll just have to go by his opinion” Happy with Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw away to Hull? “Yeah. The only disappointment for me was that we had so many opportunities, to make better opportunities in the last third. […] We got the ball in wonderful areas and never made the goalkeeper work. That’s the only disappointment for me. “Unlike the other two games where I thought we made good chances (against Southampton and Portsmouth). But you have to give Hull credit for that [...] they’re a defensively solid unit that don’t give much away and you can see they’ve played together for a while.” Do you think the team is close to what you’re looking for?  “The lads are giving me everything, 100%, I can’t ask any more than that. “When I came I said ‘look, between now and the end of the season, as long as you give me everything and you come off the pitch knowing you’ve given me everything, you won’t hear me criticise you’, at the moment, [they are doing and] I can’t ask any more than that “I think we do need a little bit of quality in certain areas, rather than quantity, you know, I think the squad has got the numbers. But I think there’s a little bit of quality missing in certain areas, and it’s up to us to try and bring that into the club” Are you at the early stage of planning for next season already? “Not really no, I think we’ve got to [stick with what we've got for now]. After the Doncaster game, if you’d told me we’d go to Portsmouth and Hull and not concede a goal, and the disappointment of Southampton, that we should have won that… If we can get a point away from home and win all our home games, then we’ll be very close and that’s how I’ve set my stall out, but we do have to win away and it’d be nice to start at Middlesbrough.” You did say on Tuesday this was a must-win? “I’m not sure it’s a ‘must win’ but it’s one we’d like to win. I think we have to win one of the five away games coming up and it’s an opportunity to put that to bed early doors if we can.” How much do you know about Middlesbrough? They’ve had a good season by the looks of things? “Yeah, I think they’ve calmed down haven’t they? Tony [Mowbray] is a steady manager and they’ve brought good signings in, steadied the ship and I think they’re looking like they’ll not be far away.  “I think consistency – listening to Tony’s comments – is probably missing here and there, but if that’s missing, they’re not doing bad really are they? If they do get consistent last couple of games, they’ve got hell of a chance”  They’re another play-off contender you’ve got to take points off ?  “Yeah, we thought that at Hull, and Middlesbrough – with their current league position – will be expecting to beat us. “But, it’s a derby and I’m sure we’ll be taking our full quota of supporters who’ll make themselves heard, so, it’d be nice for me to give them a little bit more to shout about going forward. “We’ve sorted one or two problems at the back, and I don’t think that’s stopped us creating, I just think we made bad decisions in the Hull game, and that we were OK against Portsmouth and Southampton (going forward).” You said after Tuesday you weren’t sure whether you’d be looking for a centre back, have certain players surprised you? “I’m not in a rush at the back now, I think they’ve listened and come on board with what we wanted and apart from the goal against Southampton, I don’t think they’ve really put a foot wrong in the three games. “And even when they have done, Lonergan’s pulled a good save off so, that’s a good recipe for a back five really. “I think Michael Brown’s playing his part, he’s probably been the unsung hero for me, since I’ve come to the club. I think he’s been instrumental both in the defensive and attacking side, he’s showed a cool head out there”  It’s interesting because he wasn’t really involved before you arrived?  “I know, and yet if he got injured at the moment I think we’d struggle to replace him with the squad we have”  How do you think his game has changed since he played for you nine years ago? “Back then, I just gave him the freedom to go forward. If I did that now, he wouldn’t get back [laughs]  “But he’s still got a lot to offer I think, his contribution since I’ve been here has been fantastic and I think he’s brought the best out of Adam [Clayton], although I think that was probably Adam’s poorest game against Hull, and he’ll be disappointed with his performance. “That little bit of creativity he normally gives us wasn’t there and that might have been because he put so much into the Southampton game that he was maybe a little tired, so I’m hoping the extra day will see Adam back to normal for Sunday.”  Was Adam disappointed? Because when he plays with his head up, he’s some player, isn’t he?  “Yeah, he is and he’s got so much more to learn. He does need help at times, he tries things in the wrong areas but he’s a young lad and you’ve got to learn by your mistakes. Hopefully that doesn’t cost us.  “You look at what he’s good at, and not what he’s not good at. We’re trying to put elements in his game for discipline, and at the same time, not take away the creativity that he gives us. He’s got a lot to work on there.”  Is there a points tally you think we’ll need for play-offs? Last year it was 75…  “It’ll not be far away from that…”   Which is a big challenge?   “Yeah, we have to win every home game and get a point away from home but it won’t work like that, I do think we’ll have to win away from home to get anywhere near that sort of tally.”   If Leeds can’t make it, what’s the challenge for the players?   “I think you have to ask that when we can’t get there. First of all, we’ve got to try and step up to the challenge. We’ve got to do a little bit more positive decision making to create and score goals, whilst at the same time still keep concentration at the back.  “It would be nice, between now and the end of the season, to give the fans something to shout about. I think they see where we’re going, but we probably want to get there yesterday, not tomorrow. It’s frustrating at the minute.”  Bringing Paul Robinson in – is he one of these ‘leaders’ that you mentioned?  “Yeah. I look at the type of player I think we need and he fits that bill. There’s not many at this time of year that you can bring in so to get one like Paul was a plus for me. “I will be using him shortly, he’s here for a number of games and we’ll play that by ear.” “I think senior pros are important in certain areas, but it’s not just that, it’s being a leader and the attitude he’s got is what I want from my players – that little bit more than what’s necessary”   Have the team been a little more vocal?  “They seem to be talking well during the game. I thought we started the game against Hull very well, the first twenty minutes, there was only that period up to half time and late on they had a flurry.  “It’s so close the Championship, between success and failure, and you’ve only got to look at the top now – they’re all trying to help us get in the play-offs and we haven’t been able to take advantage of that, but it’s not been for a lack of trying.”  There are teams with games in hand on you?   “It’s not going to be down to other teams, it’s ourselves that decide whether we get in the play-offs, or anywhere near the play-offs. And that will be decided in the next 3-4 games I think. You don’t get much tougher than Middlesbrough away, West Ham at home. So it’s still possible?  “I don’t think anyone is running away with sixth position, everyone is leaving up in the air. That’s why it’s disappointing not to have got more points when you look at the run of [previous] fixtures, even before I came, there’s 2-3 fixtures there where we’ve probably missed out on points, so it’s frustrating more than anything.  “Whether we’re good enough at the moment is another thing, you don’t let opportunities go if you can help it.”  All this bodes well for next season either way?  “The time I’m having now with the players, I can’t tell you how important it is to look at everyone at the club and see where we need to be.  “I can’t remember exactly how many, but I brought somewhere in the region of seven players in at QPR that summer, and I’d had two months to look at what we’d got. And I do feel we’re probably in that sort of mould.”  With that in mind, contract talks are still on hold until the summer?  “Well, we haven’t got enough time, but I’ve already spoken to 2-3 players and I will speak to their agents in the next few days, next week. You’ve got to look ahead to that. But at this moment in time, there’s not enough hours in the day.”  Tom Lees, has he pleased you so far?  “He has, he’s done really well Tom. He’s come out of his shell a little bit and his personality is coming through a lot more. He doesn’t talk a lot, but his desire and will to do what I want him to do has been very, very good. I’m very pleased with him.”  When you first came, did you feel he needed some protection? “Well, I just thought he was a good player but that we needed leaders in those areas. That’s why we went after one or two players, but at the moment if he continues to play like that I don’t think I could bring anyone in to play better.  “I don’t see the point of bringing someone in if Tom can sustain the consistency that he’s shown me.”  Back to Robert Snodgrass, have you had any reaction from Scotland regarding his 4am arrival back in the UK?  “No, I’ve not had time. It’s all water under the bridge and we’ll move on quickly, but I will speak to Craig” He didn’t look like he was suffering from exhaustion?  “No, he did well, didn’t he? I’ve no complaints really.”  Two weeks left in the loan market, will you be bringing any more in?  “If I can, I’d like to bring one or two more in with a view to looking towards next season. It would be great to bring in a couple and see if they’re what I’m looking for.”  Is Snodgrass’ contract one of those you’ve looked at?  “All the players that have a year or less I’ll be talking to, Robert is no different.”

March 9th 2012. Leeds Utd player contracts. Leeds United manager Neil Warnock says he has already spoken to a few of his squad regarding new deals with the club. Warnock has a number of players out of contract this summer including youngster Aidy White and influential midfielder and captain Robert Snodgrass is out of contract in the summer of 2013. The new Leeds boss says he has already spoken with some of his players and he is going to sit down with their agents in the near future. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “I have already spoken to two or three players and I will speak to their agents in the next few days and you have to look ahead, but at the moment there aren`t enough hours in the day.” Leeds have eleven players out of contract in the summer, with eight of those having played in the first team this season. Only eight players are contracted with Leeds past the end of next season. Player contracts (Summer 2012  Darren O`Dea – On loan from Celtic, Alex Bruce, Michael Brown, Lloyd Sam, Ben Parker, Aidan White, Nathan Turner, Lewis Turner, Mikael Forssell, Mika Vayrynen (option of an extra year) Maik Taylor, Danny Webber. (Summer 2013) - Paul Connolly, Patrick Kisnorbo, Billy Paynter, Paul Rachubka, Adam Clayton, Robert Snodgrass, Leigh Bromby, Ross McCormack.  (Summer 2014) – Andy Lonergan, Luciano Becchio, Davide Somma, Charlie Taylor, Alex Cairns, Zac Thompson. (2015) Tom Lees, Ramon Nunez.

Leeds new left back on loan Paul Robinson

March 9th YEP – Phil Hay talking to Paul Robinson. Paul Robinson hopes his transfer to Leeds United will mark a fresh start in his career as he faces up to a “big decision” over his future this summer. Robinson, who signed for Leeds on loan from Bolton Wanderers this week, spoke of his delight at moving to Elland Road after enduring a period of frustration and inactivity with his parent club. The left-back last started a league game for Bolton on Boxing Day when he played in a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United, but he is in contention to make his United debut in Sunday’s must-win Championship match at Middlesbrough. Robinson is approaching the end of his time at the Reebok Stadium with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, and Leeds manager Neil Warnock signed him initially until April 9 with a view to keeping the defender at Elland Road next term. Robinson – 33 years old and a veteran of more than 500 senior appearances for Bolton, West Bromwich Albion and Watford – said he was open-minded about a permanent deal with United but vowed to consider his options carefully when the campaign ends. “I wanted to get out and play football,” Robinson said. “I wanted get a fresh start and see some new faces. This is all about enjoying my football again. “I was getting frustrated at Bolton, not playing when I thought I should be. That’s football and you deal with it in different ways. I’d go in, work my socks off and not get anywhere. “For me, the most frustrating thing for a player is when you’re working hard and not getting anywhere. Then it’s a no-brainer to go and get some football somewhere else. “I’m out of contract in the summer and I’m looking for a club. It’s a big decision for me as I’ve done a lot of travelling over the last three years and it would be nice to be close to the family again. “My family are in Birmingham and it’s difficult when you are not around the kids. But you never know, and things in football always change. I’ll have a big decision to make at the end of the season but at the moment I’m not thinking about that. I’m just concentrating on what’s happening with Leeds.” Robinson has been with Bolton since 2010 when he ended seven years of creditable service at West Brom by moving to Lancashire. He appeared regularly in Wanderers’ defence last season but has struggled to hold down a place in Owen Coyle’s side since August. Warnock identified Robinson as a loan target after becoming United’s manager last month and he completed the signing ahead of Tuesday’s match at Hull City, where Robinson sat as an unused substitute. Robinson said: “I read about it (the move to Leeds) a few times in the papers but didn’t really take any notice. Nothing was happening. “But I got a phone call from Neil and he wanted me to come on loan. I couldn’t say no because he’s such a great character. You want to work for that sort of person. That was it for me and I wanted to get out and play football again. “I’ve played against Neil’s teams before and he’s always been on the touchline shouting at me. It’ll make a change being on the same side as him! “He’s a great character and football needs that type of person. You can see what the game means to him – he’s on the touchline trying to win every ball and encouraging everyone. It’s great for me to be around someone like that “I just want to get my head down now, work hard and hopefully get this club into the play-offs where they belong. It’s a massive club and I know the expectations are high. Hopefully we can deliver.”

Weds March 7th. Robinson looking for games. New Leeds United signing Paul Robinson is looking forward to a fresh start at Elland Road and the chance to play some games after joining on a month`s loan from Bolton Wanderers. Robinson signed for Leeds on Tuesday and he was an unused substitute in the game at Hull City on Tuesday night. The 33 year old is with Leeds for the next seven games up until April 9th and he wants to get some games under his belt and try and help Leeds into the play off places. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Robinson said, “I wanted to get out and play games, which I wasn`t doing at Bolton. For me it was about keeping my fitness and coming to a big club like Leeds it was a no brainer, I just want to come here and get some games under my belt. “It has been very frustrating for me. I was playing my best football and putting my body on the line for the club but obviously, they thought differently, so it was very frustrating for me as a person and a player. “I am just happy now to be out of the place for a bit, get my head right and come to Leeds, encourage the lads and help the lads get some good results and try and get in the play-offs.” Robinson admitted that manager Neil Warnock was a huge factor in him coming to Elland Road and he couldn`t wait to get it done. “Neil Warnock was a massive part of my decision to join. He is a great character and there are not many of those in football. “When he spoke to the club and wanted to sign me, I just wanted to get it done and come and work for him, meet the lads and have a fresh start, continued Robinson. The versatile defender, who can play anywhere across the defence has made just two appearances in 2012, both against Macclesfield in the FA Cup Third Round but he says he is fit and raring to go when the opportunity arises. “I am fit and raring to go but the team are playing well so you cannot complain. You have to be patient. In football, you know you just have to keep working hard, training hard so when your chance comes you have to take it and that is what I will do,” added the former Watford and West Brom defender. Robinson has made over 500 appearances during a career spanning 16 years and he has previously helped Watford and West Brom on two occasions win promotion to the Premier League.

Weds March 3rd. Our thanks to The Square Ball for the following extracts of Mister Chairman’s  answers to Mr Chairman’s scripted questions.  Taken from Yorkshire Radio’s interview with Leeds United owner Ken Bates today…‘Mr Chairman’ speaks to some bloke from Yorkshire Radio that isn’t Ben Fry. He talks about how we’ve “turned a corner” since Neil Warnock arrived at the club after two draws and a defeat. He tells us his thoughts on the Southampton match, which he watched, and the Hull game, which he didn’t. He reveals over 25,000 tickets have been sold for the West Ham match (including 13,000 season ticket holders and 3,000 away fans… so 9,000 tickets in total). There’s also his thoughts on the Paul Robinson signing, loans and Portsmouth’s financial troubles

Yorkshire Radio presenter: So firstly, I’d like to ask you about the two last games under Neil Warnock. Southampton and Hull City, an excellent performance against the league leaders and a gritty point away at Hull last night. Ken Bates: Well obviously I watched the game against Southampton but it wasn’t just what I thought. The amazing thing to me and what’s encouraging was the reaction I had from, not necessarily Leeds fans, but independent people who watched the game all over the world. And the comments were “what a fantastic team, what a fantastic performance”. I mean, we murdered Southampton and we should have won 4 or 5-1. I mean that goalkeeper, he got man of the match, he probably should have got a VC. He was absolutely outstanding. Must have broke the attackers hearts. But the one goal we conceded was a bit of a disappointment but the performance overall I thought was fantastic. Very encouraging. Hull actually had the best defence in the league and they demonstrated that last night but against that, we didn’t let them score either. So, on balance, if you look at the three games that Neil has taken over… since he took over… we’ve drawn two and lost one but our leaky defence has concede just one goal in three games. So we’ve got something right there. So overall, I think we’ve turned a corner and because the other results, by and large, went for us last night we’ve reduced the deficit to five points against the play-offs and it’s going to make it interesting for the run-in. YRP: Well you mention the run-in and everybody’s eyes focus on that now, especially the next two games against Middlesbrough and West Ham. How do you see the rest of the run-in? KB: Well if you look back to Middlesbrough, when we played them earlier in the season it was the first home game and we had two players sent off and lost 1-0. It came from the left-winger who scored a very good goal, I won’t say against the run of play but I wasn’t too unhappy particularly when you see Middlesbrough’s position now. It’ll be an interesting game. I think we’ll go at them and they are beatable as they’ve demonstrated. A few clubs have gone up there and won. A couple of them were surprising. So I think it will be a great game. Another one that’s on the box so if we play well it’ll be a great advert for the club around the world and I think it’s winnable and the three points are there for us. YRP: Paul Robinson is latest recruit at Elland Road and he was an unused substitute on the bench last night. Was it the feeling that it was important to bring an experienced defender in?  KB: Well obviously because the manager’s signed. We’ve got him until, I think, April 9 and that should see us through a lot of the games that we’ve got outstanding. Although he’s 33, he’s very experienced and he’s a big fella so will give us some strength at the back and maybe help in the set pieces. But he’s obviously a temporary addition but Neil knows what he wants and knows what he is doing. We only signed him yesterday morning so at least now he’ll be able to train with the team for the rest of this week, which will put him in contention for Saturday. YRP: Neil Warnock had also spoken about his approach to bringing players into the club and alluded to the fact that he perhaps won’t be looking to bring in as many loan deals as previous managers. Is that something that you like to hear, the fact that perhaps the recruitment policy is going to be different? KB: Well, at the end of the day, you have to back your manager whatever he wants because at the end of the day, it’s the manager’s job to deliver and if he doesn’t, obviously he loses his job. If you appoint a manager, you have to support him. Some of the loan deals we had, I don’t know why they were necessary. We signed some loan players in the past and never played them. But the fact of the matter is, we had 30-odd professionals. That’s far too many, you can’t keep them happy because there were 14 or 15 of that 30, less whatever injuries you have, that will feel that if they are genuine, they’ll want to play. And you can’t give them a game. Neil told me he was talking to Lloyd Sam and Lloyd Sam said “I’ve only had three starts, we won two and drew one, but them I’m not in the team anymore” – so I don’t understand it. I’m rambling a bit, but the point I’m trying to make is that at the end of the day, it’s the manager’s decision as to what he wants. You have to support him. But I like the idea that we have players who are committed to the club and they should be the ones that sign. Interruption by GC- Talk about hypocricy, Bates. You waxed lyrical all Summer about how the club would identify top players on Bosmans and how the club would utilise the loan system to its full affect. Even as short as two months ago you mentioned how Arsenal had used it so well in attaining Thierry Henry. You mentioned also how every player sale went back into Simon Graysons “pot” and yet the £5M to £6M pounds we received for our top scorer from last year, our goalkeeper who arrived on a Bosman and our captain,that all seems to have vanished into the £750K we paid for Pugh and Lonergan and the mythical 27% increase in the player budget. Bullshit !You take every opportunity to blame everything under the sun on our previous manager who in fairness to him has retained his dignity in complete silence by moving on. That’s even before you use your pitbull Lorimer to talk shite in the YEP every Friday. When I have time I’ll dig up all the quotes from the past 12 months which have turned out to be nothing but complete lies. I really do hope you back Neil Warnock,  whom I believe can bring us back to the Premiership next season with his no nonsense approach, but in him you may find a tougher cookie to dominate and bully. He’s a guy who doesn’t have to make a reputation for himself but fancies one last big challenge. For God’s sake make sure the playing field is level for the man, or else we’ll have 10,000 turning up at Elland Eoad.   YRP: I guess that’s part of his 18-month plan that he’s been talking about. Not only for this season but also for next season as well, whether Leeds be in the Premier League or the Championship.  KB: Well I think he’s looking forward to next year. He’s obviously still hoping that we’ll get promotion via the play-offs. Being realistic, I would say the odds are less than 50 per cent, but that won’t stop us trying until it’s mathematically impossible to get in the play-offs. Once you’re in the play-offs, anything can happen as we know from clubs who have won promotion into the Premiership in the past – some unlikely ones as well. So there’s always a hope for us there. Realistically, when you’re running a football club, a good manager has three plans in his mind – short-term, medium-term and long-term. And it’s nice that Neil is already thinking medium-to-long term other than the immediate. I think that will be reflected in the coming weeks and months when you’ll see departures going from Elland Road, who obviously don’t fit into Neil’s plans, are surplus to requirements or, to be fair to them, given an opportunity to peruse their career elsewhere in a first-team rather than being in a big squad. YRP: We’ve already mentioned the run-in and some of the upcoming fixtures, I just wanted to ask you another point on the West Ham game. Neil Warnock has a number of times in his press conferences, targeted a attendance of 30,000 inside Elland Road against West Ham United. Do you think that’s achievable? KB: Well, up to last night we had achieved over 25,000 sales. West Ham have taken their full allocation (3,000 tickets) and I think they have sold them all. And the bookings are coming in very well. We’ve sold the highest number of hospitality packages this season so it’s looking very well. I think 30,000 is achievable… maybe a bit more. And we always have a good walk-up on a matchday. Sky at one time wanted to put this one on TV and I’m very glad that for whatever reason they decided against it. There’s no doubt that TV hits our gates hard. There’s no money in it. I remember somebody having a moan and saying Bates took as many Sky games as he could because there’s £100,000 in it. There is, but that’s nothing compared to what you lose. I’d rather do our last live TV games away from home and the home games be played at 3pm on a Saturday are such time as the police require. It gives all the true fans a chance to turn up in person and support the club. And certainly Neil’s hopes of 30,000 are very much attainable, particularly with the way we are playing at the moment. I mean, we’re playing good football and the Southampton game was a cracker. Everybody went out and gave their all. It’s nice to see that attitude coming back again to Elland Road. We’ve missed it over recent months. Interruption by GC –  Again this is all down to Simon Grayson and nothing to do with  the ridiculous pricing structure at LS11 which is lower than only four Premiership teams, and the fact that we have lost our top scorer for each of the last two seasons and our club captain for this season also. Let’s look at the facts. The crowds are down at Elland Road this season on average by just over 4,000 from 27,299 to 23,208. So far this season, only the Burnley game on January 2nd has achieved a crowd close (27,295) to last season`s average. f Leeds fans are staying away from Elland Road due to the excessive ticket price demands and the lack of ambition shown by the owner by selling his best players and replacing them with successful trialists or loanees. Away fans have also been boycotting Elland Road, with away tickets now costing £36 for a category A game since the move into the West Stand in October.  YRP: Just finally, and I was going to say away from Leeds United but it may well have an effect on Leeds United if the situation went a certain way. What’s going on at Portsmouth… just what are your thoughts on what’s going on down there and the possibility of liquidation of a Championship football club? KB: Well first of all, let’s assume we they are liquidated. Their results will be expunged from the records. We’ll lose four points but West Ham will lose six. So it may very well be that in mathematical terms, it may affect us positively. Going back to the situation itself, it just demonstrates and confirms what I’ve been warning fans of for some time about these overseas owners with their mythical millions. And you have a situation where a club a couple of years ago who was in the Premiership and won the FA Cup and there’s little doubt they will be in League One next year. Now the problem is of course, when you go into League One, you lose about five sixths of your central distribution from the Football League because the money that comes in for the TV contracts, sponsors and so forth is divided 80 per cent for Championship clubs, 12.5 per cent to League One and 7.5 per cent to League Two. Let’s assume they survive, then there will be another cash shortage next season and they’ve still got players on Premiership wages on £30-40,000 and I think they’ve got one player on £50,000 a week. It’s difficult to know what’s going on because it is so complicated. I think three owners in five years or five owners in three? I can never remember. It just shows that we have to be very careful when would be saviours come into clubs for the wrong reasons. They still get the buzz of the £90m you get as package if you get promoted into the Premiership and a lot of people just spend it unwisely. I hope they survive – they’re a great club and a tremendous history but the supporters are trying to get involved but the fact of the matter is how much money will the supporters raise and will it be significant enough to make any good effect on the overall situation? I fear not. Port Vale is another club near home that’s just gone into administration. It’s a worrying situation. They might be clubs you don’t like for any particularly reason, but you don’t what to see them going under. I think we’ll see more and more players being released at the end of the season. Some of the players demands and their agent’s demands will be muted and see general downgrading of wages, plus reductions in squads because unfortunately the biggest cost from a football club is players’ wages. You’ve got the same problem with Rangers. How can Rangers be in administration? It’s all going to be have to looked at very carefully, which is exactly what we’re doing at Elland Road. I think the fans are beginning to understand that. The letters I’m getting indicate increasing number of fans appreciate what we’re trying to do to run on proper lines. And hopefully that will be reflected in the choice of players by Neil in what we can afford and what we sign. I think it’s very interesting that, finally, McLeish at Aston Villa came out and said he’s going to scour for free transfers this summer. Aston Villa, going to scour for free transfers?! Mind you, having lost £54m, their millionaire owner is probably asking once again about the business plan. Sorry to sound so sombre at the end but I’m just trying to illustrate the problems that are facing football today and how more and more clubs are now tackling the problem to get it under control.

Weds March 7th. Don’t you just love the way people hearing or watching the same game have entirely different reactions. These are some of my favourites borrowed from the YEP but my absolute favourite is the last one.

Those praising the clean sheet also need to highlight ZERO goals scored in 3 games. You don’t concede, you don’t lose, you don’t score, you don’t win. I am not going to get on Warnocks back, but maybe this premature hero worship will cool off a bit now. Anything out of this season is a bonus now, but the focus should be on what is actually going to happen in the summer. Are we going to lose our stars, and is the club going to back Warnock? 9york city

Neil Warnock has improved the defence out of sight in 3 matches – Simon Grayson couldn’t do it in 3 YEARS. We have got ourselves a very good manager.

8troubleshooter Best to start slowly…..which means were building from the back….Boro  wont know what to expect from us come Sunday…….we also owe them one from the beginning of the campaign. yes 0-0 frustrating but we knew these games against teams above us wouldnt be easy. I’ll quite happily take 4 points from the next 2 games….MOT.
7Leeds83 Neil Warnock was always about not conceding and nicking a couple of goals – he’s not the type of manager to go gung ho like Mad Larry. At the start of the season when we’re banging them in for fun and conceding just as many we would have had a better success finding a clean sheet in a cheap brothel. Now as #3themightywhites has clearly pointed out we’ve had 2 clean sheets and only conceded 1 in 3 games against stiff opposition (no link to the brothel again) It’ll only be a matter of time before we step up and the goals start flowing…. There is still time and we’re only 5 points off the playoffs this morning when it was 6 yesterday. We all know anyone can beat anyone so it really isn’t over unless it’. mathematically impossible! derbyshirewhite Snodgrass wasn’t exactly man of the match last night. Hopefully the heavy responsibility of calling heads or tails won’t have a similar draining effect on his performances.

March 6th. 2012. Hull City 0-0 Leeds United. 01 Lonergan, 02 Connolly, 22 Lees, 48 O’Dea, 08 Brown, 15 Clayton Booked, 16 Pugh, 10 Becchio, 23 Snodgrass, 25 Webber (Sam – 78′ ) 44 McCormack Unused Subs : 33 Robinson, 20 Nunez, 09 Paynter, 18 Forssell.  The optimist would say a decent point and another clean sheet. The cynic would say no goals and two points from nine under Colin. We battled hard but Hull were the better side and their Achilles heel is they can’t score goals, and right now neither can we. Snodgrass didn’t do it for us tonight but Lonergan had a very good game. Once again Sam came on from the bench and just doesn’t do enough for me. Brown and Clayton didn’t control the midfield like Saturday and Becchio’s just not finding the net now. The boss will be happy with the clean sheet and figuring out who will be part of his plans next season. Only C Palace in the top 19 have scored less goals at home than Hull City. Eddie Gray : “We might have said we were unlucky on Saturday but tonight was a different game”. The results tonight weren’t fatal as Leicester and  Blackpool won. Reading are on fire and won again and M’boro who we play live on Sunday are quietly winning their games. Unless Leeds win four or five on the bounce, the play offs are but a distant reality and few of us expect this to happen. Warnock speaks plainly but he has taken QPR from a lower position to the summit of the Championship, albeit with very good resources. Hull benefited from a heavy pitch and an extra night’s rest than Leeds, but Leeds will be firing again on Sunday. The game at Middlesboro will tell another tale about Leeds but Colin is certainly not one to let a season to fizzle out. Neil Warnock : “They can’t work any harder. We probably lacked a bit of quality in certain areas. We did a lot better in the second half. Lonergan has done well. They tell me that we score goals but I haven’t seen any yet. Hull had an extra days rest which helps and we were playing on a rugby pitch tonight. Clean sheets is down to good habits. Lees has improved in every game although he’ll be first to admit he was poor against Doncaster. (Re goals worrying) – They will come. It’s a tough place to come is Hull. They don’t concede many. We are a bit thin in midfield but all the lads want to keep their shirts. We’d like to strengthen but I just want to see a goal. We need to win on Sunday and then the minor situation against West Ham”.

Paul Robinson

March 6th 2012. Robinson signs in. Leeds have signed Bolton Wanderers defender Paul Robinson on an initial one-month loan deal. The 33-year-old is predominantly a left-back, but can play anywhere across the back line. United boss Neil Warnock was delighted to complete the deal, telling the club’s official website: “I’ve been looking to see if I can get one or two leaders in. Paul is a player who I have had my eye on for a couple of weeks – since I came in – but for whatever reason we just couldn’t quite get it over the line. “Now we’ve been able to do that I’m delighted. This is a great club for him and it gives us a chance to have a look at him with a view to next season.” The experienced defender has made over 500 career appearances since starting out as a trainee with Watford. He made almost 250 of those appearances for West Brom before joining Premier League Bolton in a £1m deal in January 2010 after impressing on loan. He was a regular in the Bolton side up until the turn of the year. He has made 76 appearances for the Trotters and featured 20 times this season. Meanwhile, Leeds goalkeeper Paul Rachubka has joined npower League One club Leyton Orient on a one-month loan deal. Meanwhile Leeds United goalkeeper Paul Rachubka has joined League One side Leyton Orient on loan. Rachubka has joined Orient on a one-month loan deal until April 6th. The goalkeeper hasn`t played for Leeds after a bad run of form in the side culminated in a horror show in the game against his former club Blackpool at the start of November. Rachubka played his part in Blackpool`s three goals in the opening half and he was substituted at half time in favour of an 18 year old that made his debut for the club. Following his performance against Blackpool, Rachubka spent two months on loan with League One side Tranmere Rovers where he made ten appearances. The 30 year old has played just six games for Leeds since his move to Elland Road from Blackpool last summer.

Monday March 5th 2012. Warnock tells it as it is Leeds United manager .Neil Warnock says chairman Ken Bates must support him immediately and not in two or three years` time after admitting there is a lot of work to be done at the club. Leeds have produced two much improved performances since the arrival of Warnock including playing league leaders Southampton of the park in their last game, a game they somehow managed to lose after an inspired performance by saints goalkeeper Kelvin Davis. 63 year old Warnock says Bates must support him now if Leeds are to regain their place in the Premier League in the near future.  Regarding Money. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “There is a lot of work to be done. They have done so well over the past few years and they have come up so quickly. Sometimes you grow quicker than you imagined and to go to the next stage there has to be a lot of work done. “The chairman knows this and he has got to support me when I ask for certain things over the next few months. “I keep going on about packing in but he knows I want to do things immediately and not in two or three years` time. You can`t plan now as a manager for two or three years` time.” Warnock signed a deal keeping him at Elland Road until the summer of 2013 after joining the club recently and he is hoping to break the record of most promotions in English football by a league manager. Dave Bassett, Graham Taylor and Warnock all currently have seven and with Warnock the only one currently in employment, he is desperate to take the record outright before his retirement. Leeds United boss Neil Warnock believes the side have to win at least eight or nine of their remaining twelve games to reach the play-offs. Leeds are currently in tenth place, six points off the play off places and with a difficult run of fixtures coming up.  Re Promotion. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “We have to win eight or nine games out of twelve and you have seen run in. We have Hull away, Middlesbrough away and West Ham at home.” Warnock jokingly commented that three wins against these teams and he would fancy Leeds chances.“If we beat them three I think we have hell of a chance, but I wouldn`t put money on it if I was you.” The new Leeds boss says things will be much clearer after these three games and he believes a return of six points or more would give them a great chance. “In my own mind I am going to try and win every game. We will know in the next week or two, we have to beat all these teams. We have to go to Hull who have got probably the best defensive record, Middlesbrough are on a high and then we have West Ham at home who win more games away than at home. “These three games are probably our most difficult games so if we come out with no points we know we can forget it. If we come out with six or seven points we have a great chance,” continued Warnock. Leeds also still have to travel to Reading, Blackpool and Cardiff City in a difficult final month of the season, which ends with a home game with big spending and improving Leicester City. No fan of Loans. Neil Warnock says he does not believe in using the loan player system and will be looking to bring in players on a permanent deal. Leeds have used the loan system heavily in recent seasons ND Warnock says you don`t get the same commitment from a loan player that you would from a permanent signing. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “When I went to QPR we had eight loan players training and nobody cared about the club. We cannot be having that and that is why we were nearly relegated. “You have to have players who want to wear the shirt. You looked round the dressing room on Saturday and there was disappointment but everyone of them gave everything in that game. “You have to have the dressing room sorted in pre-season. You have to have players that care. No disrespect to loan players but when the chips are down and you have to put your head in where it hurts, loan players, quite rightly so have to think about their own future. “I think once a player signs on the dotted line permanently, you care that little bit more and that is what I look for. I don`t think you can have too many loan players. “I think the loan system has to be used for an icing on the cake job when you might have two or three injuries at short notice and you get someone in to help you out in that situation, otherwise I don`t believe in it.” Previous Leeds manager Simon Grayson had brought in sixteen loan signings in the last two seasons, with three of them returning to their parent clubs since the arrival of Warnock. Fabian Delph returned to Aston Villa through injury and both Andros Townsend and Adam Smith have returned to Tottenham Hotspur. Warnock is a different kettle of fish to Simon Grayson. He won’t stay at Elland Road if he doesn’t get the backing. Warnock is the man to get United promotion and with some backing that is a real possibility next season.  Mon 5th of March 2012. Eddie happy with Leeds – YEP. Saturday was the best we have played for a long time. For me, it was certainly the best we’ve played this season. People will talk about the good victory at Nottingham Forest, but I don’t think we played as well there as we did against Southampton. You came away from the game saying ‘That was a terrific performance’. It will have been a long time since supporters left the ground, with the team having lost, saying ‘Well, I really enjoyed that game’. That was the overriding factor; the only thing that was missing was the three points! We deserved them, no doubt about that. We’ve won some games this season when we’ve not played well and we’ve all thought ‘How did we win that?’. Saturday was the complete reverse. For us to get beaten, but applauded at the end and not booed off said it all. And the crowd stayed with the team right to the end, which just showed the magnitude of the performance. I thought we played really, really well. The two central midfielders – Adam Clayton and Michael Brown – were outstanding, but all the team played their part. Luciano Becchio led the line brilliantly, held the ball up and brought people into the game and won headers all afternoon. But we just looked a threat all over. Neil Warnock seems to have galvanised us and we went full throttle from the start. That’s what football is all about and teams should be put under pressure from the off, particularly at Elland Road. The crowd got behind us, appreciated how we played and there was no negativity – it was great. The defence did well, although there were long periods of the game where Southampton had 11 men behind the ball. It was just backs-against-the-wall Alamo stuff from them; we just couldn’t put the ball in the net. The Southampton dressing room will have been elated after the game, while ours will have been a bit deflated after playing so well, but not getting anything. That win is the sort that will get Southampton promoted. What pleased me was the fact that we did go at Southampton right from the start and kept going at them and never slackened off in the 90 minutes. They had one decent attack and scored, that was it. But the saves their goalkeeper made were just outstanding. The only criticism you can have with us was that our finishing wasn’t up to standard. We had some great saves and I know Luciano played terrifically well, but he had a couple of great chances, including one at the near post which he should have scored. Danny Webber, who I thought made a big impact when he came on, also had a great chance when he got in front of the keeper, but put the chance wide with the outside of his boot. He also had a couple of great efforts which Kelvin Davis saved. We just didn’t have that finishing touch. And Saturday did show that when you are playing against a side with that finishing quality, you have to take your chances. They had one real chance and Rickie Lambert stuck it in the net. He made it look simple, but it wasn’t. It was high up on the volley and a lot of people would have blasted it over or sliced it wide. He rifled it into the back of the net and that was the difference. They punished us. Our game was a bit like watching the Liverpool versus Arsenal match at lunchtime. Liverpool dominated the game completely and missed lots of chances, but Robin Van Persie got one chance at the end and bang! Game over. Despite the scoreline, there will have been plenty to cheer Neil up. It proved that if the players put their minds to it and are focused in the right manner, then they can do it. If we reproduce Saturday’s performance against Hull and Middlesbrough, we have a great chance of winning those games. But it’s all about consistency. You just want to see that level of performance for the rest of the season now. If we do that, you never know where it might take us. I said before the game, we need to win nine of our remaining games to get into the top six. It’s a tall order, but that still stands. It’s still possible if we play like we did on Saturday and we’ve got to carry on where we left off on Tuesday night at Hull. We definitely should have had a penalty early on for the handball by Jose Fonte. He put his hand right in front of his face and it hit his elbow. But these things happen. You look at Tom Lees’ handball at Portsmouth which should have been a penalty. It all evens up, it’s swings and roundabouts in football. I know that if we’d got the penalty on Saturday and scored, we’d have won the game comfortably.

Mon 5th of March. YEP – “Some players let Simon down” Neil Warnock claimed Leeds United had fallen short of their true potential this season after watching his side run Southampton ragged. Leeds suffered a 1-0 defeat to the Championship leaders on Saturday, a further setback to hopes of reaching the play-offs, but an impressive display prompted the new boss to question United’s disappointing position. The club are 10th – 16 points behind the leaders – but relieved Saints manager Nigel Adkins admitted his side were left “chasing shadows” during Warnock’s first official home game as boss. Leeds struck the crossbar twice in the second half and were denied repeatedly by goalkeeper Kelvin Davis who walked out of Elland Road with Sky TV’s man-of-the-match award. Warnock took charge last month after United sacked former boss Simon Grayson on the back of a mediocre run of results and a 4-1 defeat to Birmingham.  But the 63-year-old believes certain members of Leeds’ squad let Grayson down and said: “Southampton have been excellent this season. “But if anything, our players should be, not ashamed, but they should look at themselves and think, having played like that against Southampton who are top of the league, why are we mellowing in mid-table? “One or two players have been disappointing and I feel a little bit sorry for Simon in that respect.  “They’ve now got an opportunity to show me if they want to stay at the club. It’s a fantastic club and they’ve got it all to show me. “The way I manage, I expect 100 per cent in every game come what may. “Seeing the performance against Southampton, the players know what they can do now and I think they’ve surprised themselves.” and what about his Leeds team : “You could see what it meant to them when they all ran to the goalie at the final whistle,” He could have won five man-of-the-match awards. That’s great for him but our finishing should have been better. We had so many good chances, so it is disappointing. But I’m still quite proud. “You don’t always get what you deserve and we deserved to beat them, not by the odd goal but by a few. “I spoke to Nigel (Southampton manager Nigel Adkins) afterwards and said you’re going to get games like that where you just have to say ‘how lucky were we’! “If I was him I’d buy some lottery tickets. Get 100 quid on the lottery because you can’t keep getting away with that. “This is how I remember Elland Road – hostile. The players couldn’t do any more than score. I’m a Yorkshireman and if you give 100 per cent and put the lot in – if you put a shift in, as we say – you’ll not get any complaints. Not in Yorkshire, anyway. It’s when people don’t put a shift in and you think they’re picking money up under false pretences, that’s when Yorkshire people get a bit mad. I knew they were a vociferous crowd here and it whets my appetite. “But it’s how I like to be in the Championship. I want fans to go home thinking ‘bloody hell, that was good’. When I look at sides like England play, I could go to sleep. I don’t want that with my teams.” “I’ve been to see the referee and the linesman and they said that with the hand ball incident none of our players appealed or went to the referee. “I said ‘okay, I told them not to do that. So if that’s the case I’ll have to re-instruct them to harass the officials and make sure they get round the referee’. You can’t win. “But when you’re top of the league you get that little rub of the green – it was the most certain penalty. The referee says he hasn’t seen it and that is worrying.”

Sunday March 4th 2012. Daily Mail. Cardiff City are lining up an £8million bid for Leeds winger Robert Snodgrass.The Scotland international has been made captain at Elland Road by new manager Neil Warnock and has scored 39 goals in 176 games since arriving from Livingston for £150,000 in 2008. Bluebirds manager Malky Mackay will make his move regardless of which division his side are in next season.City are currently in the Championship play-off places, hoping to make it third-time lucky in their bid to reach the Premier League after missing out in the play-offs in each of the last two seasons

Lambert goal

Sat March 3rd. Sky Sports Report – Leeds 0-1 Soton. 1 Lonergan, 22 Lees, 26 Bromby (Connolly – 24′ Booked ) 28 White (Webber – 56′ ) 48 O’Dea 08 Brown (Sam – 73′ ) 15 Clayton 16 Pugh 10 Becchio 23 Snodgrass 44 McCormack Unused Subs – 09 Paynter Webber. Rickie Lambert’s first-half goal earned Southampton a fortuitous 1-0 win over Leeds at Elland Road, where the Saints’ goal led a charmed life. Lambert’s clinical volley was enough to earn the points for Saints, but that only told a fraction of the story on a thrilling night in West Yorkshire. Lambert’s strike was one of only two meaningful efforts the Saints had all game, while at the other end Leeds twice hit the woodwork, twice missed open goals, had a strong penalty claim turned down and were denied on several occasions by the brilliance of goalkeeper Kelvin Davies. He continually repelled all that was thrown at him, with Luciano Becchio and Danny Webber particularly unlucky, while Becchio and Darren O’Dea also hit the bar as Leeds, invigorated by the arrival of veteran boss Neil Warnock, threw everything they could at their opponents in a bid to keep their own promotion dream alive. But, while SouthamptonDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif are now four points clear, Leeds are six points shy of the play-off places and Warnock may have taken over too late to mastermind a late rally. It is likely, though, that both managers will have left happy although for differing reasons. The tone for what was to come was set in the fourth minute when Robert Snodgrass had a penalty appeal turned down when his shot hit the arm of Jose Fonte, while Davis smothered an Adam Clayton volley. Leeds continued to press and only a smart block from Jos Hooiveld prevented Ross McCormack from getting a two-yard strike in before, entirely against the run of play, Southampton opened the scoring. When Jack Cork picked the ball up with 16 minutes gone, it was the first time Saints had enjoyed possession in Leeds’ half, but it did not show as his cross was knocked down by Tadanari Lee into the path of Lambert, who smashed a vicious volley beyond Andy Lonergan. It was Lambert’s 24th goal of the season and arguably his most emphatic but, as soon as the game restarted, Leeds were back on top. As if the goal had not happened both Snodgrass and McCormack saw volleys skim over and wide, before the latter’s header from the former’s low cross was brilliantly kept out by Davis. Then, six minutes before the break, Snodgrass fashioned Leeds’ best chance which should have brought an equaliser. He worked Richardson again and his curling cross needed nothing more than a touch – something Aidy White somehow failed to do. The barrage continued into the second half with Becchio putting a Snodgrass cross over and Clayton having a drive blocked by Hooiveld. Southampton won their first corner in the 51st minute but remained firmly on the back foot, although Adkins was unhappy that Michael Brown went unpunished after an aerial collision with Cork. If Adkins was unhappy with Miller then he will have been delighted with Davis, who continued to repel Leeds with a stunning trio of saves inside five minutes. First, after failing to gather a cross he scrambled back to claw a Becchio effort off the line, then he twice made himself big to deny Leeds debutant Webber. The former Portsmouth striker had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds when his six-yard drive was tipped over, before he then saw a low effort turned away. Becchio should then have done better after bringing the ball down in the box and McCormack was off target with a header, while Davis got out to Webber to force him to stab wide when a goal looked on the cards. Southampton were clinging on for the final whistle now and, when Becchio and O’Dea both headed against the bar and Tom Lees had a stinging shot blocked in amongst a late melee, it was clear that it was going to be their day. Speaking on Sky Sports after the game, Warnock said, “I expect a referee and a linesman to see the most blatant handball you will ever see, it is not even close and the score was still 0-0 then. “You don`t get those decisions when you are not at the top but you do when you are top of the league. “The referee was stood there in a good position. It wasn`t as if the players hands were down by his side, he blatantly handballed it. “You expect referees to see it and he had an indifferent night. “If I was them I would buy some lottery tickets tonight.” Warnock was asked whether he felt Leeds could still reach the play offs. “I wouldn`t think so no. I would imagine other teams will get their results as well.” But while Nigel Adkins was quick to praise the 35-year-old, he did not necessarily think Leeds should have claimed at least a point. “There are different ways you can look at it,” he said. “We’ve played teams this season where similar things have happened to us, such as Doncaster and Bristol City.Description: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif “I thought Rickie Lambert’s goal was pure quality as we had been chasing shadows for 15 minutes. For whatever reason we couldn’t control the football and that was how it continued. “We looked second best to a very good, very spirited Leeds side and our goalkeeper had an outstanding evening. It was backs to the wall, but the players defended resolutely.” “Kelvin works very hard, he’s having a good season and it was about time we had a bit of fortune,” Adkins added. “Leeds played very well but all I can do is concentrate on Southampton. We had to show a different side to us as we didn’t pass the ball as well as we normally do. “We had to defend and did so very well. The goalkeeper made some great saves and we had to show some resolve and character. We have played very well this season, but now it’s just about results.”  Football is a cruel game. You don’t always get what you deserve and tonight was a prime example of that. The match was a carbon copy of the first half against Birmingham City, were United dominated completely but didn’t take their chances. Southampton spent £1M on Ricky Lambert three season ago and he finished with his one clear cut chance. The following is taken from a Saints website : “Southampton were unbelievably fortunate to steal the three points in a game that was so one sided the people watching on Sky would have been forgiven for thinking that it was Leeds who were leading the Championship. This was a game where the powerful display certainly did not provide the deserved result. Leeds dominated from the start and but for some brilliant saves by keeper Kelvin Davis they could easily have scored four or more goals such was the gulf in performance”. Little comfort for the 20,000 or so who paid in.  There is no doubt that Kelvin Davis had one of those games. But the fact remains we missed chance after chance with Becchio, Webber and White the main culprits. Pugh didn’t stop a cross, O’Dea lost his marker and 1-0 game over. We can talk all day about the valiant performance of playing the “best team in the division off the park”, but the fact remains that we have taken just one point from our last two games when a minimum of four was needed. M’bro went to Portsmouth and won 3-1. Leeds drew 0-0. Neil Warnock will be delighted with of the team performance and there is no doubt that nine times out of ten United would have been awarded a a penalty. Would the Saints have come out of their shell more ? We’ll never know. Clayton was immense in midfield. McCormack was dangerous despite moving too far from Becchio. Becchio was a handful but he’s a foil for a top goal scorer and not the other way round. White was energetic but wasteful with the ball and apart from the goal the back four played well. Snods was much more dangerous in the second half, and Brown had his best game in a Leeds shirt. Webber gave a great cameo role as sub. The the tempo was high for the whole of the  game and the Saints could barely live with United.  Now for the facts. Six players in the United side cost a fee, and the side that played were assembled for circa £1.5M at a maximum  in transfer fees. Lets look at the Saints side : Jason Puncheon – Undisclosed thought to be £500K, Jos Hooiveld £500K from Celtic, Richard Chaplow £450K, Lambert £1M from Bristol Rvs, Kelvin Davis £2M, Dean Hammond £500K, Fox £1.8M from Celtic, Guilherme do Prado Undisclosed,  José Fonte £1.2M from C Palace, Jack Cork Undisclosed fee from Chelsea. Only Tadanari Lee came on a Bosman and you don’t even have to throw in Billy Sharp who joined in the January transfer window from Doncaster for £2M . Whilst in January Leeds were busy selling their captain for £2M and the three players that they did bring in on loan…..well they ain’t here anymore, Messrs Smith, Townsend and Delph. That Saints side was assembled for £9M plus albeit not all this season. West Ham and Saints will most probably go up automatically. Their wages and spending power by far eclipse that of Leeds United. Sometimes you get what you pay for.  Isn’t that right Ken or Peter ? Neil Warnock has a busy period ahead of him. He needs to weed out the guys we don’t need but be afforded some spending power. Paynter, Connolly, O’Brien, Kisnorbo, O’Dea, Brown, and many more will probably go. If we get £5M or more for Snodgrass, Warnock will need every red cent of that to bring in the players he believes will bring us promotion. Coming down will probably be Wigan, Blackburn and Wolves or Bolton. Not great sides butwith  big spending power thanks to the ridiculous parachute payments. Warnock has his mojo back, but Leeds won’t shift another season ticket for next year until the fans see players come in that justify the shirt. And these players cost money !