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Thursday, 30 September 2010

One match doesn't define a season....but it can seriously damage your health!

I suppose I'm lucky that I work in Nottingham and the eclectic mix of Forest, Liverpool and Derby fans that inhabit the office didn't take full advantage of the latest episode of Leeds United's innate ability to self destruct.  I suspect many other blog readers have had a far rougher ride at their place of work with the Preston Pantomime coming so soon after the Barnsley Balls up. One thing I still can't get my head round is how the game changed so dramatically?  One minute we were knocking the ball about like Barcelona and looking like we were going to score 7 or 8 next we were defending like The Dog & Duck and conceding goals every time the ball entered Shane Higgs' airspace.  If it was a cricket or snooker match there would already be an enquiry into strange in play betting patterns............................but we know different.  We know that Leeds have that wonderful ability of shattering our aspirations and dreams at any given time, any given game and any given season in the most excruciating fashion. Strangely that's why following the mighty whites is so never really know what's going to happen next!

What will happen next is that we will travel down for the game with the Suffolk Tractor boys on Saturday with confidence in tatters and Lord Larry raging at his charges.  Tellingly in his emotional post match interview on Tuesday he bemoaned the fact that he couldn't find another Vinnie Jones or a David Batty to add steel to the soft centre of Leeds midfield.  What I found strange with that statement was when he did make changes to try staunch the carnage he brought on Killa & Clayton instead of Faye presumably to try and pass our way out of the mess?  There wasn't just me wondering why he didn't drop the more robust Faye in front of the brittle centre backs to stop the Preston midfield supply to the man mountain Parkin and his partner in crime Hulme.  Changes will be made for Saturday with Higgs and the midfield players probably the most likely candidates to be sat on the bench come 3 o'clock.  One positive will be the swift return of the suspended Snoddy to torment Roy Keane's boys with his skillful wide play.

At the start of the season most fans were indicating that a mid table year of consolidation would be more than enough for the first year back in the championship.  As we go into the 10th game of the campaign that is where we are but expectations have risen on the realisation that there is very little difference in the quality of the teams in this league with the possible exception of QPR.  The play offs and possibly automatic promotion are not beyond the realms of possibility for the mighty whites.  All that is needed is consistency.  I had the pleasure of doing the Matchday Replay show on Yorkshire Radio with Dom Matteo on Monday.  He was very positive about Leeds' chances of promotion citing his spell at Stoke as the blueprint for what is needed.  "Grinding out 1.0 wins as we did on Saturday will get us promoted, that's what we did at Stoke" "Keep the defence tight and pinch a few goals here and there is what's needed in this league" advised the man who scored a f****** great goal in the San Siro!  48 hours later a bizarre 10 goal thriller was about as far away from that principle as is humanly possible!

Even after the debacle on Tuesday I still believe Leeds have the resources to have a successful season.  Lord Larry will need to make sure that all the frailties and defensive problems that were so cruelly exposed by Barnsley and PNE are rectified starting with Saturdays trip to Ipswich.  If we do that then the rollercoaster ride that is Leeds United will once again be exhilarating.  I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to fasten your seatbelts early this season as the turbulence in the championship is much more severe than League 1.  You wouldn't want it any other way would you?  Roll on Saturday.
Can't wait.

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