AFTER TUESDAY night’s late defeat at Ipswich Town, I personally don’t think it is too bad a thing that Leeds United have a big game with edge today at Sheffield Wednesday.
I don’t think you could class a defeat at Portman Road as a really bad one in the greater scheme of things. We all know Ipswich are a good side at home, let’s face it. They have a play-off place by two points and are known to be consistent there and 2-1 isn’t a battering, even though the manner of the late defeat was disappointing.
For me, sometimes after a loss, a game next up which isn’t necessarily easy on the mind can focus you. If Leeds were coming up against – no disrespect – a Bolton or Charlton this weekend, you can think that you have that ‘cushion’ and it can be dangerous.
Leeds will simply need to be bang at it and on form against Wednesday to get something out of the game.
Thinking back to games between the clubs, I remember scoring a very controversial goal at Elland Road which was highlighted on Match of the Day in the early to mid-eighties. We beat them 1-0 and I went to head the ball from a cross and it skimmed my head and hit my arm and went in right in the corner.
I ran away celebrating, but thinking this would be disallowed, but Martin Hodge – their goalkeeper – at the time chased me to the half-way line and it was highlighted on the TV. I was only trying to guide the ball into the bottom corner and it skimmed my arm. That was certainly controversial.
Looking at Leeds’ record this season against the Yorkshire teams, it is not too bad, with a 3-0 win at Huddersfield and wins over Hull and then Rotherham in the cup.
Having a tough game at Wednesday isn’t too bad a thing for me. Everyone will be up for it and Steve Evans would know that everyone will be and know that everyone will not need much motivation – or at least they shouldn’t do. It’s a good game for him and Leeds.
Souleymane Doukara has obviously scored twice this week in the absence of Chris Wood and it is good to see him step up to the plate. His mindset has got to be: ‘I’ve got to keep Wood out’ – whether it is Wood, Antenucci or whoever, even though that will be difficult. But you have to think that as a striker when you get your chance.
He is one of those inconsistent strikers. He looks like one of those who needs to get a break at the beginning of a game. He needs to take his opportunity for as long as he can.
As for Mustapha Carayol, it was some debut goal against Rotherham in the cup. He obviously has talent, that is clear to see, but it is about being consistent as well, being a winger and doing your bit when you have not got the ball too.
Looking at Leeds’ cup draw at Eastleigh or Bolton in the fourth round, I think it’s a decent one.
Eastleigh obviously used to be managed by my Leeds team-mate Ian Baird and when I was manager at Huddersfield when we were playing somebody on the south coast, we trained there with me knowing Bairdy after setting off from up north early in the morning.
It’s a decent set-up there and they are obviously doing well at the minute in the National League.
I know people would talk about it being a banana skin if Leeds play them at their place in round four with them being the only non-league side left in the competition. But I would say Leeds have got a great chance if they play them in my view.
Eastleigh have done well, you have got to say that. But what a chance of getting into the fifth round. Also if Leeds end up playing at Bolton, who aren’t going well with all sorts of things going on around them with the club something like nearly £200m in debt.
Everything is seeming to pile up against Bolton. So whoever Leeds play, for me they have a great chance of getting through and into the hat for the next round.
Doing that would also bring in funds to the club, don’t forget, which is not to be sniffed at. Sometimes, people don’t realise that many clubs budget for progress in the cups. Maybe the Premier League teams don’t really, but many others who are in the Championship do, and maybe Leeds are one of those.