Leeds United: Influence of Ross leaves Whites right on schedule - Gray

Ross McCormack goes past Bongani Khumalo. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
Ross McCormack goes past Bongani Khumalo. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
13
Have your say

It was a good victory for Leeds at Doncaster on Saturday but a hard-fought victory though. It wasn’t an easy game by any means.

After the game, Brian McDermott more or less said that we were under the cosh and until Ross McCormack got the second goal, their goalkeeper hadn’t touched the ball in the second half.

They pinned us back but we have got that type of player in the side with Ross whereby even if you are not on top of the game, you can still have that individual brilliance that can just turn the game.

It was a great goal he scored and then obviously we went on to score a third.

Doncaster will be a bit disappointed with how the game turned out and there wasn’t much in it.

I thought we probably just shaded the first half but, in the second half, for about 35 minutes Doncaster were just dominant. We just couldn’t get through and we couldn’t get past the half-way line.

They passed the ball pretty well but the one thing about our side just now is that they keep digging in.

They keep working hard and I think they have got that belief that they have got a goalscorer in their ranks who can turn up with a goal at any time.

Obviously, Ross was involved in the third goal as well with a lovely little chip to the back post for a great finish for Rodolph Austin.

And it was nice to see big Matt Smith getting a goal again.

People are going on about Dexter Blackstock going away but big Matt Smith stood up to the plate.

His game is coming on, he had some good headers in the game and it was a good finish.

He’s a threat in the air and he also held the ball up well on Saturday, especially in the first half. He never really got into the game in the second half until late on.

They had a goal disallowed which they thought was a goal which was disputed.

Brian thought it was offside but Paul Dickov thought it was definitely onside.

And if they had have scored then, they might have gone on to win the game because they were on top but I’ve not seen the replay of that ‘goal’ so I don’t know if it was offside or not.

But at the end of the day, you are away from home, you’ve won three nothing and everything is looking good.

You’ve won at Charlton, you’ve won at Doncaster and you’ve got a couple of away victories under your belt which we have found very difficult to get.

The players can look forward now to the home game against Barnsley and we are in the top six now. And Brian has always maintained that if we are in and around that top six at the Christmas period which it looks as if we will be, then we are going to have a chance.

Looking at the automatic promotion spots, I don’t think the top two are too far away what are we – nine points behind QPR and seven behind Burnley?

But I can imagine QPR pushing on and if they open up a little gap I don’t think anybody will catch them.

I think they’ve got that bit of experience and that know-how but you just don’t know and you look at Derby County.

It’s not that long ago that they were below us and now they have won six in a row.

They are only three points behind the second-placed team Burnley now. There’s a lot of teams in around us that still think they have a chance and we are definitely in the mix still and that’s great for confidence.

The players will be feeling confident now about how things are going and they’ll be looking forward to the game next week.

Instead of going into the game with a bit of apprehension, they will be going in full of confidence, knowing they can score goals.

And it was good to get a clean sheet on Saturday even though it was a hard-fought clean sheet – don’t get me wrong.

The clean sheet did not come easy but the defenders did their job well and Marius Zaliukas seems to organise them well in there.

You’ve got to give the boys at the back credit and Paddy Kenny again who made a couple of vital saves.

All in all it’s looking quite good just now.

Sunderland boss Simon Grayson.

Leeds United: Grayson commends the Black Cats’ commitment