Leeds United head coach David Hockaday spoke out in defence of Steve Morison after the striker was subjected to scathing criticism from the club’s supporters during Saturday’s friendly at Chesterfield.
Morison came in for abuse from sections of the away end as he left the field in the closing stages of a 2-2 draw at the Proact Stadium. His substitution on 77 minutes provoked jeers from a travelling crowd of over 1,700 and chants of “you’re too s**t to play for Leeds.”
The striker had earlier received a vote of confidence from Hockaday by appearing in United’s starting eleven, a line-up which Hockaday described as his strongest available team with the new Championship season two weeks away.
Morison is in the thick of Leeds’ plans for the forthcoming term following a difficult 18-month spell at Elland Road.
Hockaday appears willing to rely on the Wales international, however, and he defended Morison in the face of withering attacks on his performance on Saturday.
“Everyone out there tried their hardest,” Hockaday said. “Everyone put a shift in. I’d like to think that anyone who watched us would say the players worked hard.
“I can’t control what people think or say but if a player has given their best, you’ve got to applaud them. If you don’t think they’re good enough, that’s your opinion, but everyone should be applauded off because they’re wearing the white shirt.”
Morison was used as a left winger by Hockaday and did not have a chance of note during his spell on the pitch.
“That was where we played him and for 60 minutes he had a good game,” Hockaday said. “He got tired like a few other players and we made some changes because of the heat but they’re all willing to play wherever they’re asked to play.”
Hockaday is waiting to discover the severity of an ankle injury suffered by Aidan White.
United have already lost Noel Hunt and Lewis Walters – the latter to a potentially serious knee cartilage problem – and White is set to be added to the list of absentees for tomorrow’s friendly against Swindon Town after being stretchered off in the second half at Chesterfield.
“They say it’s his ankle and it’s unfortunate because he was playing really well and looking a potent force,” Hockaday said. “It’s too early to tell how bad it is at the moment but whatever happens, we just have to deal with it.
“We’re still looking to strengthen and it’s pretty obvious that we need to. It is a tough, uncompromising league.”