Ex-Leeds United striker Andy Ritchie answers your questions.
What advice would you give Brian McDermott on what to do with Leeds having a free weekend – have a lie down after all that’s gone on?
I think he should, yes! But seriously, I do think the break is probably a good thing at the minute for several reasons in my view. In terms of the Championship, with the games coming so quickly in spells, it can be good to recharge your batteries. While for Brian, the break might give him a bit of extra time to work on a few things on the training ground on shape or whatever; time that you wouldn’t usually get.
But also, it’s an opportunity give the players a bit of rest as well and a day or two off. Physically, games at this time of year are tough with the pitches getting heavier, although they are not as bad as when I used to play, I’ve got to say.
There’s also switching off from the other stuff behind the scenes at Leeds to consider, although I don’t know whether the players will do and it’s still right there in the forefront, isn’t it.
You also have to consider that the players have also had two trips down to the other end of the country in the space of four days in Yeovil and Brighton – and eight or nine hours or whatever for a return journey is a long time sat on a coach doing nothing and not being up and moving.
Looking at this weekend, it might be a case of just giving the players a quick blast in training and then giving them a day or two off and you wouldn’t begrudge them that.
Or maybe a warm-down session and then in the pool and massages and try and empty the workload as much as possible.
I might be tempted to give the players a bit of time off, although it depends on if Brian feels he needs to work on things after the Brighton game. If not and if he felt that was just a little bit of a blip, he might just give them that time off with Leeds not being back in action until the Middlesbrough game next Saturday.
You don’t get many chances to give players a bit of a breather, especially at this time of the season. I am sure, in an ideal world, that Brian wished he hadn’t got that chance and they were still in the cup, but when you get it, you have to use it to your advantage with all the important games coming up to the end of the season when fates are decided.
I am sure Brian and his staff will be taking in games and watching teams coming up to play Leeds over the weekend. And maybe taking advantage by splitting everybody up and going to different games and get a bit of homework in.
A lot of the time, you have to just rely on your scouts reports and not take other games in and not actually seeing opposition sometimes.
It’s always good to see teams face to face.
STANDING IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL
What do you think of clubs looking into safe standing areas at grounds – wouldn’t it be great to have a standing area at Elland Road again?
I am all for it. So many grounds have lost their soul in terms of atmosphere with all-seater stadiums and I think having standing areas again would be great. I think Aston Villa have announced they are keen to trialing, so we’ll see what happens with it.
I know some clubs are seeking to have designated singing areas and a lot of teams and places would benefit from the standing areas. You go to some of the big stadia and there seems to be no-one singing and no atmosphere. And when some fans do sing, it just seems to peter away into the atmosphere.
A designated singing area where you can stand up should be allowed.
As long as the safety element is top-notch and they leave no stone unturned there, I don’t see a problem why they can’t do it. They have these areas in grounds in Germany and Holland. I am all for it and let’s see how these trials go.