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Leeds United 3 v 1 Stoke City
SkyBet Championship
Sunday, 5th August 2018 Kick-off 16:30
Is Hockaday in the last chance saloon at Bradford?
Wednesday, 27th Aug 2014 14:17 by Tim Whelan

Nobody at Leeds takes Bradford City seriously as local rivals, but losing to them would be highly embarrassing, and could prove to be the last straw for David Hockaday.

After deciding to sack Hockaday during the debacle at Watford on Saturday, Cellino calmed down a bit after the game, and promised to give himself 24 hours to think before making big decisions in future, and to control his ego. Well, that would be a first! When the dust settled the two men had a meeting at Elland Road and seemed to have smoothed things over for now.

The Hock told the official site “I’ve heard about everything in the media and I spoke to the president at length on Sunday about the future, about the players and about the turning point on Saturday.

We also spoke about how comfortable we both felt at 1-1. We were all in on Monday and worked on certain things and what we have to improve on and obviously looked towards the massive game on Wednesday against Bradford. We are trying to turn this big ship around I’ll continue to do that to the best of my ability.”

All of which suggests that the Hock will look to field his strongest possible side tonight. Whilst is become customary for bigger clubs to put out a few fringe players against lower division opposition, our ‘head coach’ isn’t going to have that luxury against Bradford. Apart from his urgent need to get a win, we have several players injured or suspended, and it’s painfully evident that some of the new signings need an extra game to boost their fitness and develop an understanding.

Gaetano Berardi will be available after completing his three-match suspension just in time to replace Sam Byram at right back, though his dismissal in the last round doesn’t suggest he’s the cool head we need in a crisis. Giuseppe Bellusci is of course suspended, while Souleymane Doukara, Steve Morison and Aidy White are all still injured. And new signing Casper Sloth is unlikely to be involved as his fitness is not yet up to scratch.

Leeds will be cheered on by a good following tonight, as we’ve got an allocation of 3,700 tickets out of the total stadium capacity of 25,136, though with the Hock having plenty of critics amongst our support the mood could get very ugly in the away section if things go pear-shaped on the pitch. We’ve sold all our tickets for the game, but it is of course live on Sky TV, so you’ve got an alternative if you didn’t’ manage to get hold of one.

Hockaday also told the official site that he was looking forward to the chance to turn things around in the next couple of weeks. “The good thing is that after Saturday we have the international break where we can really get the group together. We’ll be able to work the whole group and timing wise that will be good for us.”

But will he survive in the job for long enough to get that opportunity? Maybe not if the games against Bradford and Bolton go badly. I reckon that we’ll just about scrape through tonight’s tie, but it’s difficult to see the Hock still being in the job at the end of September.

Photo: Action Images

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