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Will the Blackpool game be the win we need?
Friday, 11th Apr 2014 22:32 by Tim Whelan
After the abysmal run Leeds have been on since Christmas we might need another three points to be certain of survival, and tomorrow’s game against Blackpool could be our best chance of getting them.
Only twelve months ago Leeds were in a similar position, and Brian McDermott was rushed in by GFH to take over from temporary boss Neil Redfearn, to end a four match losing run that could have seen us drop into trouble at the end of the season. The new manager took us to a win over Sheffield Wednesday in his first game, playing passing football that seemed a breath of fresh air after the days of Neil Warnock.
But things haven’t exactly gone to plan since then, and a lot of fans think we need three more points to be certain of remaining in the division for another season. McDermott must be glad that the bottom half of the table isn’t as tight as it was last season, when Peterborough went down with 54 points. With three teams adrift at the bottom this time around, 50 points will probably be enough, although we still have to visit Barnsley, and could yet turn out to be a vital game.
McDermott told the official site “You can only guess as to what points will be safe. All I know is that we have to win, and one win will do it. It’s not just about that, though, it's about playing as well as we can and getting towards the summer. We’re looking for strong characters. Everyone has to stand up. We have five games to go and we have to finish as strong as possible.”
It’s fortunate that we’re playing one of the few clubs who have been in even worse form than us during the second half of the season. Blackpool were among the leaders in mid-September after five wins in their first six league games, but they have only won five more games since, and manager Paul Ince departed as they dropped down the table to their current position of 20th.
Their current manager Barry Ferguson sounded a bit similar to McDermott when he also told his club’s website his players need to ‘step up’. And as far as tomorrow’s game is concerned he said “It's going to be a difficult game because they've got some good players. We need to go there with a game plan to try and come away with something. “
And with the slump in their fortunes since the autumn, it’s no surprise that the squad have had to respond to a critical letter from the Blackpool Supporters' Association. Ferguson said "The fans have got a right to voice their concerns and it's down to individuals, the players themselves, to say 'I'll prove you wrong and I'll prove that I want this club to stay in the division, and I want to prove that I'm good enough to play for this club.”
Team news for tomorrow is that Sam Byram and Rodolph Austin will be missing through injury, as will longer term absentee Jimmy Kebe. And Blackpool have their own fitness problems, with Ricardo Fuller, Kirk Broadfoot, Robert Earnshaw and Angel Martinez are all missing.
Don’t forget that kick-off is at 3.07 tomorrow to allow for a minutes silence for the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. We’ve had some excruciatingly dull games lately and this has all the makings of another, but I reckon Leeds are just going to scrape a win by the odd goal.
Photo: Action Images
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