By Andrew Butterwick
After the surprise cup win at a deserted St Andrews in midweek Leeds welcome Bristol City to the Theatre of Hope for the latest game of the championship season. For the second time in a week we face the strongest team in the league, the one who are holding the rest of us up from their lonely position at the bottom of the league. But as our friends from Oakwell showed last week nothing can be taken for granted in this super competitive league........especially when the said lonely team at the bottom of the league have Mr O'Driscoll in charge. Last time we came across him he was plotting a Boxing Day massacre against Leeds with his Forest team. A massacre that cost him his job bizarrely! With confidence officially "fragile" at Leeds the Robins will present a stern test for mis-firing Leeds especially with the "new manager" bounce that SOD will generate.
The win at Birmingham, welcome as it was, didn't entirely paper over the cracks appearing in the new owner's castle. The old problem of announcing "we've got a couple of new signings who should be here by the weekend" has once again infested Planet Leeds. Fans expectations are raised only to be dashed when the inevitable problems with said signings prevent any new player making it to Thorp Arch. I'm just glad that Shaun Harvey's "working hard behind the scenes" or we might be in real shit street! With the closure of the transfer window fast approaching Neil Warnock's attempts to bring some quality players in to the club look more and more unlikely. Still we haven't sold any of our decent players yet have we?
On the subject of players leaving the situation with Becchio puzzles me. Yet again Warnock referred to people "turning his head" at today's press conference. Why does he come out in public and say that? I can't believe it makes the atmosphere on the training ground very good? It's also a significant turnaround from NW stating "Becchio's going nowhere" a couple of weeks ago? I hate to say it but all of this has an all too familiar ring to it. We've been a selling club for the last few years so when the new owners appeared there was hope that those days were gone. I do hope that come 1st Feb that hope is still alive?
Team selection will be interesting for the Bristol game. With Barkley and Tonge available and Becchio recovered from his mystery illness there will be plenty of debate amongst the Leeds faithful as to what the best eleven is. Should Becchio start? Did Ross Mac do enough to keep his place? Barkley will start but who will drop to the bench? What position will Pelts play? Will Lees start? What about the tactics? In what will be arctic conditions will the famous Hoofball style predominate or will the passing game that blossomed in the 2nd half at Brum takeover.
As Johnny Nash once sang "there are more questions than answers" on Planet Leeds at present. Hopefully some of the burning ones will be answered in the next two weeks. I do hope they are what the majority of fans are desperate to hear and not the same old frustrations that we've endured for the Bate's years.
On the field here's hoping Leeds get suitable revenge on Sean O'Driscoll for his Boxing Day triumph. That will depend on which Leeds team turns up though. If it's the one that woefully surrendered at Oakwell it will be a long cold afternoon for the remaining faithful fans. Or will we see some spark of hope rising from another win at Elland Road? Life is never boring supporting Leeds is it?