This is a critical time for Leeds United, a worrying time in many ways. With everything that’s going on around the club, the weeks leading up to January could well make or break this season.
The spell since the last international break has been a really bad month. Three points from six matches and no wins in that time is nothing like promotion form.
But by no means is this a crisis and by no means is the gap between Leeds and sixth place a massive problem. It gives you an idea of how tight the Championship is when you see Leeds seven points below the play-offs and down in 18th place.
However, if our form continues for much longer then we’re going to have a problem. At the moment the biggest risk is that the gap gets bigger, leaving Neil Warnock with a massive job when the January transfer window opens. I hoped we’d be right amongst the pack from the off this season but over the next six or seven weeks I’ll happily settle for staying in touch.
You’d also assume that before January arrives this proposed takeover will resolve itself one way or the other. It’s been hanging over the club for a long time now and I do believe that to some extent it’s having a negative effect on results and the atmosphere around the place.
One of the biggest reasons for our struggle last season was the form at Elland Road. Eleven league defeats at home set the worst record in our history and you only had to go to a game there to see what the problem was.
The crowd lost confidence in the players and the players seemed to lose confidence in themselves. I never thought I’d hear myself say this but it became a great venue for visiting teams to come to.
Elland Road should never be like that and part of Neil’s strategy for this season was to make the ground hostile and inhospitable again. I saw a positive change in the mood in the first couple of months but it seems to me that the players are going into their shells again. For a few games now the atmosphere inside the ground has started to remind me of last term.
I’m well aware that the uncertainty off the field is occupying the supporters on a daily basis. All any of us want is confirmation about what is going to happen with the takeover.
But in the 90 minutes when the players are on the pitch, it’s vital that everyone tries to forget about the takeover and concentrates fully on the football.
It’s obvious that the squad aren’t playing well at the moment. I don’t think you can pretend that a month without a league win is anything other than a really poor run. As ever, injuries are biting and suspensions are coming into play too.
It’s never been more essential for the players to fight and the supporters to back them. Things aren’t brilliant at the moment and I do appreciate why the mood is flat but I still cling to the hope about what might be coming our way in the near future. It’s not too late for the takeover.
The thing about football is that your character doesn’t matter when everything’s going well. It’s when you’re under pressure that nerve, courage, bottle and perseverance come into play.
The club are in need of all those traits now – on the pitch and off it. The season depends on it.