Neil Warnock says the fervour of Leeds United’s fanbase is “keeping us going” as he plots his strategy for winning promotion at Elland Road.
Warnock believes the size and consistency of United’s support will provide the basis for a return to the Premier League ahead of a summer of sweeping changes.
The United manager revealed yesterday that he is planning to overhaul his squad if promotion eludes the club this season, and discussions about United’s transfer budget have already taken place between Warnock, chairman Ken Bates and chief executive Shaun Harvey.
Warnock’s opinion of the existing squad was revealed by his admission that Leeds don’t have “enough tools in the cupboard” but he paid tribute to the backing given to him since his appointment as manager in late February.
United’s supporters met his demand for a crowd of 30,000 at last weekend’s clash with West Ham United and were forced to endure a 7-3 loss to Nottingham Forest at Elland Road – the heaviest home defeat in the club’s history.
Warnock said: “I can’t ask the crowd to do any more. They’ve done as well as they can.
“I asked for 30,000 (against West Ham) and we got 33,000. They got behind
us against Forest the other night but they can’t prevent goals going in like the ones we conceded.
“I’ve got to bring something that can lift the crowd regularly because the one consistent thing about this club is the crowd.
“The greatest thing about the club is the crowd, the backing and the support. You can’t change that.
“It’s one aspect which most football clubs can’t even get to. I can say to you ‘if we do well, we might get 35,000’. How many other clubs could say that? Not many. That’s the plus that keeps us going.”
With Warnock promising a major rethink in the summer, top scorer Ross McCormack has indicated that he wants to be part of United’s plans next season.
The striker is one of a number of key players who will enter the final year of their contracts in July, along with captain Robert Snodgrass and midfielder Adam Clayton.
Warnock is understood to have opened contract negotiations with certain squad members, Clayton included, and he intends to clarify the future of every prized asset before the end of this season.
McCormack said: “There’s players coming out of contract and there’s players who are going to run into their last year so every player is playing for themselves and for the club.
“If you get Leeds United promoted you’re going to be a bit of a hero in these parts and it’s something everyone wants to do.”