By Mike Courtney
Six points off the playoffs, 17 games to go and and two vital away games coming up that could define our season. Yes February was always going to be a vital month in our promotion campaign. Most Leeds fans were hoping for an influx of quality players in the transfer window. This didn't fully materialise although I am excited about the prospect of seeing Morison strike up a partnership with a rejuvenated Ross Mac. It's the old big man, small man strike force of old and could be the spark that finally gets our season rolling.
I have been underwhelmed so far by the performance of GFH, as I was underwhelmed by their initial news conference upon taking over the club. They just didn't say the right things for me that day and their lack of spending in the window, especially the failure to fork out an extra £200K for Chris Burke or try for another wide player really worries me. Enough has been said and written about that and we can't change it now so let us move on and hope a wide player is brought in now that the loan window has opened. Jerome Thomas maybe!!!.
So getting back to the next few weeks and 5 games that will define our season. Warnock now says to judge him after the season is over, having moved the goal post from his "Judge me at the end of the transfer window". Well if the next 15 days don't go according to plan the season will be over and judgement day for "Colin" will be nigh. We start with a tricky away trip to Molineux to face a Wolves team managed by Dean Saunders. We beat them with an early strike by some Argentinian guy on the opening day of the season and another clean sheet would do nicely tomorrow. We haven't won away in the league since December 1st when we put in a great performance away at Huddersfield and breaking that hoodoo is essential at this stage of the season. We need start fast tomorrow and get Wolves on the back foot. They haven't won in their last 8 fixtures with only 2 draws in that time so their confidence is low as they drift precariously close to the drop zone. That's why we need to get at them from the outset and strike early. If we do I think we can win by 2 or 3 goals but if we play like we have been doing lately away from home it could be another long day on the road.
We then head north to Middlesbrough for what will be the a real promotion six pointer, yes it's that time of year when we can use that phrase. They currently sit in 6th spot, which realistically is the best we can hope for this season as there is a gap developing above that. The big question is can we put two away wins back to back? Its almost a year since we did that when we beat Middlesbrough and Millwall away last March. How we could do with that right now. Boro are on a poor run of form themselves having lost their last 4 League matches. They will be anxious to end that run and maintain their playoff push so it won't be easy to get a result there. We have beaten them both times at the Riverside since we returned to the Championship so we should have nothing to fear, and if Morison and Ross can click we could do the double over them and get closer to that playoff spot.
After that we have the respite, if you can call a trip to the Premier League holders a respite, of the FA Cup tie at Eastlands. Not even the most optimistic of Leeds fans can expect us to win that one. But anything can happen in cup football, who will ever forget Old Trafford 2010, so we will go their with confidence. I for one am not too worried about that game and just hope we don't get a hammering like we did against Chelsea. We end this frantic 15 day period with a home game against Blackpool and away at Blackburn. Two very winnable fixtures especially if the confidence is up after beating Wolves and Boro, that's a big IF though. If we can handle Thomas Ince I think we should beat Blackpool and can finish off with at least a draw at Ewood Park to give us 10 more points on the road to glory.
Whatever happens we'll keep the faith in Leeds, maybe not in Warnock and GFH though as their judgement day may arrive sooner rather then later if results don't go our way.
Wolves 0 Leeds 2
Middlesbrough 1 Leeds 2
Man City 3 Leeds 0
Leeds 3 Blackpool 1
Blackburn 1 Leeds 1
MOT Leeds Leeds Leeds