Leeds United legend Brendan Ormsby answers your questions.
Losing Andy Lonergan is a massive blow, don’t you think. If there’s one player you don’t want to get injured, it’s your first-choice keeper.
James Harrison, Leeds
Hello James. It’s so important that you keep your back five – keeper and back four – together for most of the season if you can. Yes, goalscorers score the goals and get the big money, but a good keeper is just as crucial. He gives confidence to the rest of the team and if you’ve got a No.1 who is coming for the ball, talking all the time and his distribution is good and isn’t scared of getting hurt, that’s what you need.
To be honest at my club, Pontefract Collieries, we’ve only got one keeper and if we lose him, we’re knackered! I don’t know what I’d do.
A good keeper is a real insurance and when you have someone in there who you can’t trust, it spreads through the team. The keeper I had at Pontefract last year, who has now left, never came and caught a ball. He liked to punch it.
When we played his new side the other week, I just said to my lads: ‘Stick some balls into the box and see if he does the same’. And he did! Obviously players get to know what a rivals’ weakness or strengths are.
Lonergan has been really good this season and his injury is a blow. We all know Paul Rachubka made a mistake on Tuesday against Coventry City, and that won’t win him a lot of favours with the fans already or have done his confidence any good. It’s up to Simon Grayson whether he sticks with him and gives him a chance to let him try and get over it or gets someone in on loan – but if he goes down that route I’m sure will he get an established keeper.
I remember at Villa when our first-choice keeper Jimmy Rimmer got injured and Spinksy (Nigel Spink) came on in the European Cup final after 10 minutes, went onto have a blinder and made his name from that game on. Sometimes being thrown in can make you or break you.
In my Leeds days, we could always rely on Mervyn Day. Merv had us defenders – the ugly fellas – in front of him; Merv was a good-looking lad and we took a lot of the brunt for him. We got used to Merv and what he was going to do and he got used to our strengths and weakenesses. He always talked to us; he was a bit older and more experienced than us and when he spoke, you listened.
When you have a young keeper behind you, as an inexperienced pro, it’s a bit different and you’ve got to try and keep talking to him. So an experienced goalie in that respect can help.
Rachubka has got a fair bit of experience. What you have to remember in football is that everyone makes mistakes. Okay, he cost Leeds two points, but he’s got to get over that. The thing with a keeper is if you make a mistake, it nearly always gets punished with a goal.
You’ve got to, in my opinion, give him another go.