Friday, 27 February 2009
Leeds United v Scunthorpe United preview
This weekend sees Leeds play two games in three days that could well define their whole season. Both Scunny and Oldham currently lie above the mighty whites in the play off positions and present Leeds with an ideal opportunity to force them selves into the play off positions just at the vital stage of the season.................................of course the "glass half empty" view is that if we lose both matches we will be left high and dry with the proverbial mountain to climb if we are to experience the gut wrenching drama of the play offs. All in all this weekend typifies the dramas and permutations that will be with us right up to the final game of the season..................it matters not a jot that we will be playing Scunthorpe United and not the Salford Yanks when the whistle blows at 3pm tomorrow the tension both on and off the field will be at breaking point............all the ingredients for a memorable game.
Leeds will welcome back Mr Beckford after his 3 game enforced rest after his petulant swing at the Millwall goalie but will be missing Becchio (suspended) and the injured Richardson and Hughes. I'm intrigued as to how Larry will set up the midfield as when Dougie has had to fill in at RB, which he's done well, our midfield has looked a lot more mobile with Jonny Howson making goal scoring runs into the box, something we've failed to do all season. Time will tell?
Scunny have brought in the big lumbering giant Odejayi from Barnsley, who famously scored their winner against Chelski in the FA Cup, to bolster their attack....................I know I may regret this statement but I'm not too worried about the presence of the Tykes hitman in the Scunny attack as most of their fans would trust their Granny to hit a barn door before My Odejayi.............famous last words!
Still on football but away from Leeds I noticed that Weymouth managed to lose 9:0 to Rushden last weekend. It was only when I read that the team had gone on strike over non payment of wages and the manager had put together a makeshift squad of juniors and old timers to fulfill the fixture that it made sense................as did the reported £1m that the bookies lost on betting on the outcome. Seems like the team got their wages courtesy of BetFred rather than the club!
There are many things in modern day life that irritate my radar but once again this week one of my favourite subjects surfaced in all it's glory and that is the total disrespect that most Football teams now give to all cup competitions other than the Champions League. This week we've seen Spurs put out a youth team in the UEFA cup followed by both Villa and Man City reverting to weakened sides in order to "rest" players ready for key games this weekend. In the FA Cup it's no better as all of the teams who have had replay's this week have played understrength teams. Now I always thought that the idea of playing football was to win matches and in turn win competitions so I don't see the logic in disrupting a settled team in resting some players for cup games and then bringing them back for the Saturday game. But of course the biggest losers are the loyal fans who still have to stump up their £25 to go and watch their favourites only to find out that they are suddenly watching half a reserve team play an opposing youth team. I felt particular sympathy with the 2000 Hammers fans who had made the trek to Middlesboro for their replay as at least 4 of the regular 1st team were rested and god knows what the Spurs fans thought when they saw the team sheet full of schoolboys. I suppose it's symptomatic of the adage that "money rules the game" and precious league points carry more weight than the outside possibility of the team actually winning a cup.............................ffs what's happened to the glory of the cup competitions? Why have them if nobody wants to play their strongest teams in them? I can remember various teams, including Leeds, being fined for resting just one player in a game......and that was when they had 4 games in 9 days....................what happened to the FL and FA regulations that state you have to play your strongest team in any competition you enter?
So back to Elland Road tomorrow looking for a 5th straight win at the Theatre of Frustration to fire up our passionate fans ready for the rocky ride to the play off places. It's time for the players to battle and the fans to suck the ball into the net. As a famous Sci Fi Captain used to say "Hold her steady Scotty it's going to be a bumpy ride"
Pass me my heart pills............I can't wait.