Leeds United: Night time starvation for Whites - Hay

Luciano Becchio and Robert Snodgrass rue a missed opportunity. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
Luciano Becchio and Robert Snodgrass rue a missed opportunity. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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Simon Grayson is an advocate of night games at Elland Road.

The allure for him of last month’s FA Cup replay against Arsenal (aside from the obvious) was the fact that it would take place in front of a capacity crowd and “under the lights”.

Leeds United’s stadium has a certain aura in the gloom but Grayson’s enthusiasm is contradicted by his squad’s wretched record in midweek fixtures, at home and away.

Even before their 3-3 draw with Barnsley, Leeds were a team who seemed to favour playing football in the daytime.

Only once this season have United been beaten on a Saturday afternoon. By contrast, their combined league results on other days of the week are spectacularly poor.

Ten matches played (including a Friday night kick-off in Doncaster and a Monday night game at home to Cardiff City), five points accrued. Worse still, 29 goals conceded.

A 4-1 victory at Carlisle United on April 13, 2010 is the last occasion when the club made the most of a league game in midweek.

A look at the line-ups used by Grayson shows no discernible change of tact or any weakening of his team. Nor does the identity of the opposition help to explain a statistical aberration.

Answers on a postcard please.

*****

Leeds United and the Football League are not exactly intimate friends.

But for the past two years, the governing body’s annual awards have been kind to a club that expects little in the way of recognition from such quarters.

In 2009, Fabian Delph earned the notable and value-raising accolade of young player of the year.

Twelve months ago, Jermaine Beckford not only received the title of League One’s player of the year but also appeared third in a list of the top 50 Football League players compiled by FourFourTwo magazine. As only he could be, the publicity-shy striker was otherwise engaged on the night of the Football League’s ceremony and left manager Simon Grayson to collect his trophy.

As a club, Leeds were as heavily represented as any other League One side last season with three players in the top 50 – Beckford, Robert Snodgrass and Patrick Kisnorbo. United’s current goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel, came in at 47 during his one and only season with League Two champions Notts County.

It is inconceivable that the club’s saturation will be any thinner in the poll for 2011, voting for which closed last week.

The Football League Awards take place in London on March 20.

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